Polled Hereford and Black Angus
cattle take their ease in a field along Highway 18 in the
Town of Genesee Wednesday. Pork and beef prices are rising
for a variety of reasons.
Charles Auer/Freeman Staff
WAUKESHA - Food costs have been rising across the
country over the last few months, and that has begun to
take effect on local grocery stores and customers.
The cost of
pork, beef, milk and several other food items have spiked in the
last month, and it appears there are several factors at play
that have contributed to higher sticker prices.
an assistant manager at the Woodman’s in Waukesha, says his
store has begun ordering less pork, as product prices have risen
as much as 30 percent in the last few weeks alone.
The price of
pork chops and ribs have each risen to $3.79 per pound at the
store, while pork tenderloin has increased to $3.99 per pound.
been huge on it,” Campbell said. “Trucks couldn’t move products
because it was too cold. They have been weeks behind.”
not alone either - Aldi and Sentry markets in the county both
have similar prices for their pork.
The long and
bitter winter has not only affected transport speeds, but has
also allowed a deadly virus that has been killing off pigs to
epidemic diarrhea (PED), which causes vomiting and diarrhea in
pigs, has flourished in the cold temperatures. It is not a
threat to humans, nor a food safety concern, but it has a
mortality rate of between 80-to-100 percent among newborn
The price of
lean pork in the futures market is now at record levels, sitting
at $1.31 per pound, which is a 52 percent increase since the end
of 2013. The cost of meats, fish and eggs led the biggest
increase in U.S. food prices in nearly two and a half years in
February, according to government data.
the president and CEO of the Wisconsin Grocers Association, said
the most significant upswing in prices in the state has been in
the beef market.
Scholz is not
sure what the direct reasons behind this are, but he believes
that last fall’s corn harvest from Wisconsin farmers may have
had something to do with it.
late to harvest with its corn,” he said. “Other states in the
region were ahead of of us and I do not believe Wisconsin even
finished its harvest.”
explained that a lack of corn could lead to an increase in
animal feed prices, which would have a negative impact on herd
sizes throughout the winter months. Smaller cattle herds results
in less meat and fewer gallons of milk, which in turn leads to
had to adapt to the changing food markets, and sometimes that
means giving up a product that they simply cannot afford.
“Milk is two
(gallons) for $7. I used to buy one for $1.39. Now I don’t buy
any of it,” said Joe Gilbert, a retiree living in Waukesha.
“That pension check does not go as far as it used to.”
Contributing: The Associated Press