Rise in beef prices affecting local business

WICHITA, Kan. — One of the long time staples at many people dinner table is going up in price.

The price of beef reached $5.28 cents at the end of February, the highest it has been in almost 30 years. The issue isn’t just affecting business nationally but also on the local level.

The skyrocket in prices has come from the dwindling number of cattle due to the drought coupled with growing export demand to overseas countries like China and Japan have driven up beef costs to its highest point since 1987.

Its sticker shock that many meat suppliers are feeling. Gerald Lees is a meat cutter with S & S Meats in east Wichita.

Lees says due to the rising cost of beef, they have had to raise their prices nearly 10% from this time last year. He says the bump in price has turned many customers away who are looking to get their meat at a lower price.

In turn, Lees says they have had to limit the kind of beef they choose to sell.

“We’re no longer selling T-bone steaks, we’ve gotten rid of our flat iron steaks, flank steaks, things we don’t sell a whole lot of. We just can’t keep the inventory,” said Lees.

The prices are also affecting area restaurants as they try to keep up with the supply and demand.

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