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Rising Meat Prices Slice Into Diner's Budgets

DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) - The rising cost of meat is hitting consumers and local restaurateurs in the pocket book.

Severe drought in several states has led farmers to raise fewer animals. That, coupled with a higher worldwide demand for meat, has pushed meat prices a cut above what they were last year.

Pork prices have increased 40 percent in the last year, rib eye prices have increased 10 percent and ground beef prices rose five percent, according to the USDA.

The higher costs are causing many restaurants to charge more on their menus to stay profitable.

"It's always something that we look at, but we don't want to burden our customers with any kind of price increase if we can help it," said Jeff Forrester, Director of Purchasing at Dickey's Barbecue.

The Texas-based barbeque restaurant slices through 12 million pounds of beef a year. "That's brisket gold, is what that is," said Forrester.

Ground beef prices at the grocery store are at a record high also and industry experts said they don't see a break in the situation anytime soon.

"We expect meat prices to rise in the next few months especially with beef and pork," said USDA Economist, Annemarie Kuhns.

Forrester said he believed it may take another two years before prices come back down.

But in Texas, where barbeque is as essential a fuel as gasoline to some -- higher prices may not effect demand the same as in other parts of the country.

"It's just like a religious thing. You just have to do it," said Gary Perdue, a regular customer at Dickey's.

(©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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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