Small Farms Less Vulnerable to High Beef Prices - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Small Farms Less Vulnerable to High Beef Prices

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There's some bad news for meat lovers, just in time for grilling season. Beef prices are at their highest in more than 25 years across the country.

But things may be getting better in Charlottesville. Meat prices here are certainly higher than usual right now, but things are better here than in other places. Between small local farms and improving weather, prices are dropping.

Jean Norford works in the meat department at Reid grocery store in Charlottesville.

"Our T-bone steaks went up about 50 cents a pound,” she said.

Norford says rising beef prices in March were difficult to swallow.

"We have to raise our prices, which we don't like to do because we're known for the best meats and the best prices in town,” she said.

She says at the worst point, the last week of March, prices on some meat at her store were up 50 cents a pound. That means shoppers pay the price.

"Kind of makes you upset, but what can you do? You have to eat,” said Victoria Jackson, who lives in Charlottesville and shops at Reid.

At Free Union Grass Farm, co-owner Erica Hellen says things are getting better, but the long winter was tough.

"You have a long winter and you're feeding hay for three to four months - that's a lot of money and that will affect our costs,” Hellen said.

But she says small farms in the Charlottesville area have a leg up on the bigger national competition.

"The entire nature of our farm means things that happen in the larger agricultural realm means things really don't affect us at all,” Hellen said.

Meanwhile, at Reid, workers are hanging in there. They're already seeing prices drop 20 cents a week.

“As the prices come down, we come down with the prices, too,” Norford said.

It's not just beef prices up this spring; pork prices are skyrocketing as well since a virus wiped out millions of pigs across the country.

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