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12/11/2003

High beef prices not helping ranchers

The Associated Press

DENVER — The high price of beef isn’t fattening the wallets of Colorado’s cattle ranchers.
Increased demand and a smaller supply has beef going for $4.54 a pound wholesale across the country. That hasn’t led to a windfall for many of Colorado’s 15,000 ranchers, who sold off cattle as drought left them short of hay over the past several years.
“Quite honestly, when you’ve come through drought the way our cattle producers have, this does not mean extra money in the bank. It’s just money to reinvest and rebuild,” said Heather Buckmaster, marketing director for the Colorado Beef Council.
The Colorado Cattleman’s Association said the 2.65 million head of cattle in Colorado represent a 13 percent decrease from last year.
“Colorado is at the bottom of the barrel from drought. We’re still trying to recover,” executive vice president Terry Fankhauser told The Denver Post. “We’ve seen the best of the best and the worst of the worst this year.”
The overall price of retail beef was just $2.62 per pound in 2001.