Meat fiends and carnivores, friends and associates, I have no doubt some of you are troubled by the rising meat prices across our country.

Well, so am I.

Just last week, it was reported that the price of beef in the U.S. had risen more than 20 percent since October 2020.

Meat is deeply ingrained in our diet. The average American consumes more than 220 pounds of meat every year!

Just like prices at the pump, it doesn’t look like meat is getting any reprieve from inflation too.

Even as we slowly emerge from the long dark shadow of the pandemic, our domestic meatpacking industry continues to struggle.

Productivity has fallen at meat processing plants due to COVID safety distancing measures. This led to a labor crunch, pushing wages up and consequently, the price of meat.

There are more troubles at stake than demand and supply. The economics of meat and agri-business is a whole different animal, no pun intended.

As I look deeper, I have come away with several sharp yet sobering realizations about our country, society, and health.

If the inflation persists, then these observations should at the very least, prompt a reflection on the actions we can take going forward.


It’s Time To Break Up The Band

Four major players dominate the meatpacking industry. Tyson, JBS, Cargill and National Beef wield tremendous power in an industry that contributes $894 billion to the US economy.

Imagine what that influence could translate to. These major corporations pay millions in contributions to political campaigns, giving them outsized lobbying power to protect themselves against regulation.

In the name of profit, the big four have used their power to depress wages, increase prices, keep competitors out and even influence national dietary guidelines.

What’s more, with so much left in the hands of so few, any mistakes will spell disaster. Fires and cyberattacks have already exposed the vulnerabilities in our nation’s meat supply and distribution.

Disruptions and shocks force prices higher. This song and dance has gone on for far too long.

For the future of our nation’s food supply, it’s time to break up the band.


Are We Consuming Too Much?

I love beef and my diet has always been partial to meat.

Since the prices of our beloved cattle have continued to soar, it’s high time that we turn to other meat alternatives for our protein.

Chicken, eggs and milk are good and economical substitutes.

Now that we don’t have to strip beef from our diet, the more pressing question remains: Are we consuming too much?

Thanks to higher incomes, Western societies have generally enjoyed a higher standard of living.

Overall consumer spending is still buoyant during the pandemic. Online grocery shopping anyone?

Now that ships are stuck at port and the global supply chain is facing severe bottlenecks, maybe we should look to cut back on things we don’t need.

Instead of a steak every two days, how about some grilled fish? It not only helps our economy and environment, but for some of you, it might even save your life.


Relationships Matter

A butcher is key when it comes to getting your favorite cuts of meat.

Don’t bother with the unappetizing shrink wrapped and packaged meat sitting on the shelves. These culinary artisans know which parts are tender and which taste best.

The recent price spikes will have many people looking for more affordable cuts without too much compromise on taste. This means favoring quality over quantity.

Get in touch with your local butcher. Coming from surrounding farms, you know your meat is fresh and responsibly sourced.

As a reward, you can even throw in a butcher’s recommendation for a specialty meat.

Start building a relationship with your butcher. Support your local farmers because it helps the local economy too.


Put Dignity Back Into Work

We feel the pinch when meat prices go up. However, when was the last time we thought about farm workers and their ilk?

From farm to plate, many workers power the agricultural industry which feeds America.

Livestock needs to be reared, fed, and treated. This means tending to crops, building irrigation infrastructure and preparing feedlots.

Think about the ranch hands, farmers, pickers, growers, equipment operators, greenhouse workers, laborers, delivery drivers, butchers and many others.

Without their contributions, life as we know it will be very different. COVID has endangered the livelihoods of these individuals, who are either pressured into working or continue to operate in dangerous conditions.

We need to demand better rights for these essential workers.

Show them the respect they have earned by supporting legislation that protects them.

Learn more about your local farms. Visit for a day tour and take part in activities to appreciate the importance of what they do.

Let’s put the dignity back into their work where it belongs.