Climate Change, not Ethanol, to Blame for Record Beef Prices

Climate Change Causes Higher Beef Prices

Beef is amazing (I know this will upset some of the vegans and vegetarians in our audience, but you’ll survive – keep reading). I’m not the only beefeater out there, either – and two of the biggest grilling days of the year (Father’s Day and July 4th) are coming up fast. It should come as no surprise, then, that retail beef prices are hitting record highs, just as these holidays are occurring.

According to Hoosier AG Today, ground beef is averaging about $3.50 per lb. this month, with steaks averaging about $4.81 per pound. Hoosier Ag writer Gary Truitt goes on to point out that “this is not the first time in recent years we have seen a dramatic jump in beef prices. In 2010, ground beef increased about 50 cents per pound, and between 2009 and 2011, the average price of hamburger rose almost one dollar. Beef prices also took a jump between 1986 and 1989 and between 2002 and 2004 … the cause was the same: the weather.”

The weather? You mean, it’s drought, heat waves, and massive twisters causing all this drama at the meat market? It’s not bogus claims about E. Coli contamination or crazy, big-oil/GOP propagated myths about ethanol fuel processing leading to more expensive food prices? It can’t be that simple, can it? It can’t be that extreme weather leads to unstable crop yields and an inability to safely and easily harvest and transport those crops, which leads to relative scarcity and increased demand per unit of available supply?

I’ll let Mr. Truitt speak, here, since he says it better than I ever could …

There are many factors that impact the price of food, but one of the largest is the weather. Weather has an impact on almost all of the raw materials used to produce the food items that fill the shelves of our grocery stores. Meat, milk, butter, cheese, eggs, grains, fruits, vegetables, spices, and oils are all affected by the weather. Some of the other large factors that impact the price of our food are transportation and refrigeration. I can’t think of three more unpredictable and uncontrollable factors than the weather, oil prices, and energy prices. So when you hear someone blame high food prices on farmers, farm policy, or ethanol, just laugh in their face and invite them to go shopping almost anywhere else in the world where their food dollar will go far less.

… and he did it without calling any of the anti-ethanol nutters “motherf***ers”, either! He truly is a better man than I.


That painting is called “the Adoration of the Golden Calf“, and it references chapter 32 of the Book of the Exodus of the Jews Out of Egypt. If you didn’t know that, you’ve probably spent less time studying religion and history than I have.



Source: Hoosier Agriculture Today.

Jo Borrás

I've been in the auto industry 1997, and write for a number of blogs in the IM network. You can also find me on Twitter, at my Volvo fansite, out on two wheels, or chasing my kids around Oak Park, IL.