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Beef Prices At All Time High

WYLIE (CBSDFW.COM) - Beef: it's still what's for dinner, it's just more expensive than it's ever been.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture the price of beef has gone up 7.4% since the same time last year.

The price hike has had a significant impact on business owners across North Texas.

At Big Daddy's Roadhouse BBQ, owner and operator Kelly Duncan, has had to pay and charge more for beef.

"Brisket is 85% of our sales," he said. "We have to be very mindful that we don't price ourselves out of business. Even though our customers are the most loyal, it's just getting to the point where I'm going to have to take the hit."

Duncan says he never imagine the four year drought would have such a significant impact on his business.

Cattle ranchers began selling off parts of their herd because of a lack of food and water, creating a deficit in the number of cattle.

The U.S. cattle herd numbers are the lowest they've been since 1951.

David Harris, butcher and owner of David's Meats, said with the high price of beef, many of his customers are opting for more affordable choices.

"People will choose hamburger meat instead," he said. "Or go with pork chops or chicken instead of buying an $80 brisket. Who heard of an $80 brisket two year ago? It didn't happen."

Harris cuts less beef on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and keeps a normal stock on beef on weekends when they business is busier.

"First time I've ever seen it. I've been in the business 49 years," said Harris.

Even if the drought the ends, it will take time for ranchers to rebuild their herds.

"The rains will come back. The grass will grow back. There will be more cattle but it's going to take a long time," Harris said.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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