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Memorial Day Grilling: Meat Prices Up or Down?

May 26, 2010

—Hello, Grilling Season!— Get out the charcoal. It’s time to fire up the grill. Memorial Day is the unofficial start of grilling season, which is certainly good news for livestock and poultry farmers.

“Memorial Day is significant. It’s a weekend holiday where we expect people to be out going to the lake, getting in the backyard. Whatever they’re going to do, a lot of time it’s going to involve a grill and that grill is going to have meat on it,” said John Anderson, AFBF livestock economist.

Anderson said livestock and poultry farmers have waited a while for good news. They have been losing money since 2008. Prices started edging back up at the beginning of this year due to supply reductions and improving demand as the economy improves.

“We’re coming into this Memorial Day season at historically what are pretty good prices and that’s been very favorable for our producers who very much needed to see some price improvement because of the rough couple of years they’ve been through,” Anderson said.

American Farm Bureau Livestock Economist John Anderson says livestock and poultry farmers have waited a while for good news.  They’d been losing money since back in 2008, putting a lot of folks out of business.  Finally prices started edging back up at the beginning of this year.  That has been reflected by a couple of things: a fairly tight supply situation, but also some improving demand as the economy has grown.

So we’ve coming into this Memorial Day season at historically what are pretty good prices and that’s been very favorable for our producers who very much needed to see some price improvement because of the rough couple of years they’ve been through.

And while that does mean higher meat prices for consumers, Anderson doesn’t think many would want to return to the situation last year.

Anderson said, “I don’t know that anybody is going to look back fondly in 2009.  Prices were much lower, which was good from a consumer standpoint, but consumers were still feeling very strapped by all the other things that were going on in the economy.”

From that standpoint, 2010 is really better for everybody.  Meat prices are higher.  Consumers are going to pay more, but that reflects the fact that demand is stronger which would suggest that consumers feel like they’re in a position to pay more.

Typically we do see the market pull back some as summer gets under way.  Most of that really comes from the supply side, not the demand side.  Summer tends to be a pretty good demand season overall because there is a lot of outdoor activity, a lot of grilling and things like that.  But it’s also a time of year when we get bigger production coming on line, particularly in the beef industry.  We’re very accustomed to seeing wholesale meat prices and cattle prices slip in the summer months because of those more abundant supplies coming on line.

Click to read more from the American Farm Bureau Federation.

To find Arizona grown meats for grilling, go to FillYourPlate.org.

About Arizona Farm Bureau

The Arizona Farm Bureau is a grassroots organization dedicated to preserving and improving the Agriculture industry through member involvement in education, political activities, programs and services. As a member services organization, individuals can become a member by contacting the Farm Bureau. Go to www.azfb.org to learn more. For information on member benefits call 480.635.3606.

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