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My Thoughts on Buying Meat...NOW!


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I posted this someplace else and then part of it earlier on a post Darlene started but I thought I'd post it here too. It might help you understand what's going on out here on the farm that's affecting prices at yours and my grocery stores.

 

We are grain farmers and cattle producers in Northern Iowa. Two years ago the price of corn per bushel was $2.50-3.00, give or take. Before starting this I checked the price at our local grain elevator and corn is now $7.17 per bushel.

 

Soybeans, 2 years ago, were $5.00-5.50 per bushel, again give or take, and are now $13.37 per bushel at our grain elevator.

 

That's an amazing jump and from what we read and hear they are NOT going to drop. Of course, who really knows what's going to happen, maybe they'll be back to the 2 year ago price but it doesn't sound like it. "They" say the grain market cannot keep up with the demand the global market is putting on it.Recently we've had some good meat prices in grocery stores. You may thnk things are improving but here is the real reason for those prices. Being cattle producers ourselves we know why the prices in the store have been good. People are selling off their livestock, cattle/hogs/sheep, etc. DH and I grow our own grain, make our own hay and have permanent pasture but to put it simply those that have to buy all of that are losing lots of money. To add to that is the skyrocketing prices of gas and diesel which everyone is aware of. Hence, the flood of animals going to market now lowers the price at the store. It will NOT last and meat prices will raise when the beef/pork/sheep, etc. producers have liquidated their livestock.

 

So, in my humble opinion, if you can afford to fill your freezer or can some meat now might be a good time to do so.

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Just ordered a whole beef yesterday and then came here and saw this. Makes me feel good about that decision. We're also joining a hunting lease for the first time this year to expand our hunting success and hope to have a great harvest of venison.

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I knew that joining this board was a good decision. Thank you for the information. I was just looking at buying some bulk ham and doing more canning. Looks like I will be making that decision.

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Thank you for the heads up. It's hard when we see conflicting messages, like the current low meat prices you mention. I've recently seen new construction start on lots that have sat empty for two years. I find that encouraging, but perhaps not. I am planning to buy a steer in the fall; I only hope that's not too late.

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Thank you for your insight, Dee. Some things are just easier to see when you're at the farmer's end.

 

We have two ancient freezers that still run well, but DH wants to get one more energy-efficient freezer. Problem I have is that the newer ones never seem to hold up as well... too many junk parts from China.

 

I *HAVE* to start canning the meat instead of just freezing it. I got away from the meat canning when I last was working for pay.

 

:(

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Thanks for the heads up, Dee. I've been hearing this on a few other boards as well and it seems to make perfect sense to me. So much sense, that I finally bought that chest freezer last November and have been keeping it full of meat "deals". I've also started canning more meats, not just the seasoned hamburger that has been a pantry staple for us over the past few years. Anytime I walk into a store now, I always check out the marked down meats section. Every little bit helps.

 

While it's not news any of us really want to hear, it is good to hear it from someone who is directly involved in the meat industry. Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us.

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Thanks for the heads up Dee...and to everyone else who is willing to give information to those of us who don't have access or the knowledge. School is out in 3 weeks and the plan is to do gardening and canning..that will include doing some types of meat.

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I almost didn't make the post. I figured people probably knew this already but then realized, why would they? Grain prices, livestock producers, etc. never entered my head when I lived in the city. Shoot, I never once thought about this stuff, it simply wasn't part of my world.

 

I wish I knew what else I might know that you don't or what you know that I don't. Sure would make it easier for all of us to help one another.

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FYI- To piggyback on Dee's advice... If you have a flexible schedule, you might try shopping for meat deals on Mondays. After the weekend, I have noticed that stores tend to mark down the meat that didn't sell to keep it from spoiling. Our schedule isn't exactly flexible yet, but we do tend to swing by the store after I get off of work on Mondays. I went in this week to buy a lot of yogurt and ended up only buying 8 cups because I found so much steak on sale. I think I bought 7 or eight thin ribeyes and 2 thick ones that were marked down by a third!

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And the after-a-holiday-weekend markdowns are even more....

 

Happy Memorial Day shopping... :happy0203:

 

Thanks for the heads up, Dee. Long time since we were farmers in Iowa. I'm not noticing any drop in meat price except pork has been consistently on sales. I'm learning new things about cooking whatever pork selection is on sale.

 

MtRider [...yeah, what they said about canning more meat... Wake up, Sherman! :canning: ]

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So, I bought some chicken breast today, bone-in $1.29 pound. Have the canner going now. Not a big amount, but about all this old woman can handle. Other meat is already going up around here I can't imagine how much it will be later this year.

 

Thanks for the warning. We do have half a beef ordered for this fall, wonder what it will cost us.

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i need to talk to lucy and ethel about the side of beef they bought and didn't want. yeah. everythings' gone up up up. and before that comparison from the op prices jumped up dramatically as well in 2008 on it's own due to gas increases.

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DB found a steer that we can buy near here, have it slaughtered and butchered and prepared for the freezer. Estimate of $3 per pound. We would both end up with about 200 pounds. I believe this is a good price, and we know the people who are raising them. Question, how much freezer space does it take to store 200 lbs? I know I could can some of mine, but freezing is our first choice. We have a regular size upright freezer and so does DB and SIL.

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I'm grateful for the "insider" information!! DH and I talked after I shared this post with him and we found a butcher close by who offers half a hog with a week's notice. We're going to save up the cost and get one in our freezer and mason jars! :)

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Perhaps this is a thread drift but for those of you who feel you don't have the time now, with gardening and summer activities,to can meat this might help.

 

When we were buying meat in bulk, from a locker or individual, we had the butcher cut the tougher cuts into canning meat (saving back those roasts, steaks, and etc we liked fresh) and package it in five pound (more or less depending on your canner) packages. That way we can process some of it immediately if we wanted and put some of it in the freezer for processing later, such as during the winter when we wanted the heat and humidity anyway. It is an easy thing to take out one or two big packages at a time to process.

 

I did the same thing with fruit that I was going to be making jam's or jelly's from. I would originally freeze them and then later process it when we needed the heat in the house. As I emptied the freezer during the winter I would replace the space with baked goods or heat & eat 'meals' that I had made up specifically for my busier times of the year. It takes very little time or energy to make double batches of meals and even bread dough and freeze half for later. The reverse happened in the spring and summer, with us using the baked goods or meals and replacing them with produce from the gardens.

 

In this way, your freezer is running more effeciently than being partially empty some of the year and too full others. You have expended your energy when you could most afford to and staved off cabin fever (if you live in the colder climes that is). Besides, there is nothing nicer than pulling out a nice noodle casserole or tasty pot roast or meat loaf to heat in the oven (or microwave if you are so inclined) to go with those first fresh green salads from the garden after coming in tired from working in the garden/yard.

 

Hopefully this will help some to see a way to rotate food just as we rotate our storage preps.

 

:bighug2:

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Thanks for sharing the information with us all! I've been wanting to buy a freezer so finally did and also ordered a steer to put up. Got about 380 pounds wrapped grass fed organic beef for $2.30 a pound processed (which beats the heck out of meat prices here in SoCal - store bought 80% lean regular hamburger runs more than $2.50 a pound on sale around here).

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sounds like an excellent buy, Sara. I badly want a deep freeze and half a steer all wrapped up in it.

 

First of all I have to report that I'm an idiot when it comes to math sometimes! It worked out to about $4.00 a pound when I picked up the finished & wrapped meat, not what I thought, but still Ok I guess for grass fed, free range, organic beef. I have it all vacumm sealed & frozen now & cooked a small roast last night - and it was absolutely delicious! So tender and tasty that nobody left any leftovers!

 

Check Craigslist ads in your area and see if anybody has any cattle or sides to split there. Good luck - I think it's well worth doing!

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I've had the same farrier for about 20 years. He works the rodeo circuit and raises Longhorn beef entirely on grass. After all this time I never knew he sold any until recently. When he found out I had an interest in it he presented me with a couple of roasts, several steaks, and some ground beef to try. It was delicious. So I ordered a whole steer for fall. He asks $1.40 a pound and the processing, which is usually about $140. When I heard that I was gobsmacked.

 

 

My regular freezer is usually too full to accomodate that much extra, so I went out and bought another freezer. I found one on sale and brought it home and we stuffed it in the basement. I look foward to filling it.

 

I intend to offer him more money. He's the kind of guy that I know for sure will stand behind his price, but I don't feel right about holding him to it without discussing it with him. Other folks in our area get $3 and up a pound for their grassfed beef. I know the breed's unusual and will yield less; but that actually works better for me. And the depth of flavor was remarkable; very beefy tasting.

 

 

Now I'm considering getting a pastured pig for the freezer too.

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