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As production of cattle has plummeted to its lowest levels in decades, a rancher is warning that Americans are "going to pay the price" for the beef supply hitting a crisis point.
"This is a bad situation for America's cattle farmers and America because we're producing 1 billion pounds less beef than we were in this country, just a year ago," John Boyd, Jr. – president of the National Black Farmers Association – said during a Thursday interview on "Fox & Friends First."
Boyd has been farming and producing beef for 41 years, and he stressed, "I'm telling you, this is a time when we should be investing in America's cattle, and we're not doing it."
"We're not investing in America's beef and cattle farmers, and Biden policies are hurting America's cattlemen, such as myself," he continued. "They should be invested in America's cattle farmers and making sure that we have the tools needed to stay on the farm."
Boyd noted that there were empty stalls last week at a "very good" cattle market near his home in Blackstone, Virginia. He blamed the alarming situation on American ranchers "not producing the beef that we used to."
Boyd warned that the lack of production will cause price spikes.
"Americans are going to pay the price at their local grocery stores," he stated.
"We already are seeing such a steep, hike and beef in this country," Boyd said. "And it's because we're not supporting these cattlemen such as myself… the Biden administration, isn't paying attention [to] this national crisis. This is a national crisis for America's cattlemen, and this administration has turned a blind and a deaf ear to something that needs immediate attention."
USDA’s biannual Cattle Inventory Report showed that the country's cattle herd totaled 87.2 million head as of Jan. 1, 2024. This figure is down roughly 2% from last year's crop, and the lowest herd size in 73 years.
Fox Business reported, "Agricultural economists say persistent drought over the last three years, along with high input costs and inflation are putting pressure on both consumers and farmers."
American Farm Bureau Federation Economist Bernt Nelson told the Southern Farm Network, "The combination of higher input prices and drought drove farmers and ranchers to market more cattle, and not just more cattle but more female cattle that are responsible for replacing the beef herd. Now, we’re looking at a beef herd of about 28.2 million head. Amongst that we have a calf crop that is 33.6 million. Now this is down two percent, but it’s the smallest calf crop since 1948. That’s in 76 years."
Nelson said the current pipeline for beef supplies is "strong," but cautioned "as that supply begins to dry up, that’s when we are going to see beef supplies start to get tighter and tighter, and this could lead to the record prices that I think are going to occur in 2024 and 2025."
Beef sold for an average of $5 per pound last year, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
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Paul Sacca is a staff writer for Blaze News.