Although it's not official yet, summer has certainly arrived on the South Plains. So it's safe to say many have already fired up the grill a time or two. Beef prices continue to climb and they don't show any sign of stopping.
John Cagle owns Cagle Steaks in Lubbock.
"Over the last 18 months, it's only gone one way and that's up," Cagle said.
The drought has hit the cattle industry hard and that shortage is showing up in the checkout line.
"I'm wondering where that top may be, or at least a little leveling off would be nice," Cagle said.
Cagle says recently they've had no choice but to adjust their prices.
"We try our very best to make that the last thing we turn to. No one has to go very far outside their house to see there's less cattle in the country than there used to be," Cagle said.
So why is that? Rancher and farmer Stuart Bozeman says the drought has forced the industry to drastically scale down their herds.
"A year later, you have 25 percent less cattle and you still have the people wanting to eat beef... So the price of beef has gone up because the supply of beef has gone down by 25 percent," Bozeman said.
No rain means ranchers are shelling out a lot more cash for hay and feed.
"You can't buy it as economically and you really can't grow it as economically, either. I had 35 acres of wheat hay and I had like $75 an acre in water in it this year, which normally is $30," Bozeman said.
Bozeman believes the only solution is rain, but he's not counting on it.
"If it does rain, it's a big bonus," Bozeman said.
Despite this bleak outlook, Cagle says his establishment has no plans to stop sizzling their steaks.
"These are not the easiest of times, but we're going to keep slugging it out for a while," Cagle said.
The South Plains is facing drought conditions, but other parts of Texas and the Southwest are also seeing higher prices.
Beef costs are essentially the same across the state.
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