Beef is one of the scarcest commodities in the U.S. food market. This is the conclusion consumer protection organizations after a disappointing report, the Department of Agriculture (Department of Agriculture — USDA).
According to the latest data, the number of cattle in the United States now stands at 91 million, the lowest figure since 1952, that is, over the past six decades.
The worst thing is that in recent years the government has done nothing to save the once thriving meat business. "One hundred years ago, a good rib-eye steak was a symbol of America — says the farmer Rafael Glenn of Georgia. — People come to the south to try this dish. Today, even in high-end steak house is sometimes used imported beef. We begin to forget the taste of our native cow's meat. "
The decline of the meat business is associated with the five factors.
First — severe drought in Texas, Oklahoma and other "beef" states. Because of the lack of rain prices spiked water, grass and grain. As a result, many farmers decided to send cows on feedlots (feedlots), where they get cheap food with lots of chemicals and other additives, and slaughterhouses.
"The situation is terrible, — says Jason Schad of Oklahoma, a fifth-generation farmer. — Animals lose weight and become easy prey to infections.
Many cows can not give offspring. Farmers are in a panic. Many decide to score cattle and sell the meat to change the direction of the business. "
The second reason — too high expectations on the part of the Office of the Food and Drug Administration (Food and Drug Administration — FDA). Many farmers have recognized that compliance with any and all rules automatically picks up the meat in the price to $ 10 per pound.
FDA inspectors also do not skimp on penalties and checks as the budget office is largely dependent on collected as fines, fees and taxes means.
Third, exports of U.S. beef, as this is not surprising, jumped in the last year by 22% and continues to grow in the current year. The main buyers today are Canada, Japan, South Korea and Hong Kong.
Here lies the main "beef paradox." On the one hand, America sells beef in other countries, as the weak dollar is incredibly beneficial for buyers and long-term contracts are beneficial southern farmers.
On the other hand, the States did not refuse to buy meat from third countries at ultra-low prices. And the USDA does not like to discuss the business, the profits of which also receive private businessmen.
The fourth reason — the increase in the cost of cutting, packaging, transportation and storage of meat. "Before the beef steak will be served in a restaurant in New York, he will pass through the hands of 12 — 15 experts — says farmer Ben Skarelli. — Deliver the restaurants and on the shelves of the meat is much more complex than the fresh fish of the many lakes and the two oceans. "
Fifth, farmers desperately short of skilled workers — from collectors grain to butchers. Hire illegal immigrants are not permitted under the law, but to work for minimum wage, U.S. citizens do not agree.
Due to all these reasons, the cost of a percentage of a "living beef" (that is, if you weigh all the cow, cooked to the bottom) to $ 1.26 per pound. This is 20% more compared to the same period last year.
According to official projections USDA beef price rises in 2012 by 5% — 10%. Independent experts, however, believe that such a slight increase due to decline in the quality of meat. According to them, a pound of 100% organic beef will cost at the end of this year, at least $ 15 — $ 17. A good steak is in the average American restaurant can cost $ 30 — $ 35.
Researchers at the meat market did see a promising trend against the pessimistic "beef news." U.S. residents (mostly families of four or more) were more likely to purchase meat from private farmers, ignoring the supermarkets and grocers. As a rule, people immediately buy 50 — 60 pounds of fresh beef at wholesale price, which is then fed 2 — 3 months. "If you love beef, then spend the time on a large refrigerator and find a good farmer in your state — suggests a resident of Manhattan Roy Hayworth. — You will spend money on petrol and toll bridges, lose a few hours of time, but you get exactly what may be the most scarce commodity — good fresh meat. Otherwise, become a vegetarian to not go broke. "
It is worth adding that vegetarian organizations have stepped up their activities after the joyless agricultural news. Giving up meat, in their opinion, now is beneficial not only in terms of healing the body, but also in terms of saving money …