It’s a trend expected for the new year, but it isn’t necessarily a good thing. According to USDA research, meat will be more expensive in 2015.
Weathering the storm
Harry Strohman has been in the meat business for more than 40 years. "It's something that you just like, you know?" said Strohman, who co-owns J.L. Miller and Sons Butcher Shop in Leaders Heights Township, York County. The business has weathered rising meat prices, yet Strohman is preparing for another year of dwindling profits. "Fortunately we sell other things that are our money makers," said Strohman.
The USDA predicts prices on meats like pork and beef to continue to rise in 2015.
"Two years ago I think we were selling Delmonico steaks for like $9.00 a pound, and we were doing alright. Now they're $11.59 and we don't have near the markup we used to have," said Strohman.
It has been a bad few years for the meat industry which has been affected by a number of factors including drought and disease. Now there is a lag, as farmers work to build their herds again and as the market catches up.
"Less farmers, there is less cattle, there's just less of everything. When that drought hit four or five years ago, a lot of farmers got rid of their breading stock," said Strohman.
This is bad news for food banks too. Protein is an important part of providing people in need with valuable nutrients. "Are people going to do without the meat and buy things that are cheaper, like pastas? It [protein] sustains them from being hungry, longer," said Deborah Eichelberger, executive director of the York County Food Bank.
The higher prices on meat affect how much they can purchase and how much they can give away. "It just trickles down the line to families and how many we can serve," said Eichelberger.