Cow shortage means higher beef prices

YAKIMA COUNTY, Wash. -- "I love beef," said Enrique De Lacruz

So does cattle rancher Frank Hendrix. These are good times for ranchers like Frank.

A national cattle shortage is driving up prices for his product. But, not everyone is coming out a winner.

"It has made raising beef profitable for the first time in a long time so it's kind of a mixed bag," said Frank.

The Washington State Beef Commission says from last February to this February, beef prices have gone up by almost 5 percent. The agency says the price of beef is at its highest point in three decades. The ongoing drought in other parts of the country is the main reason.

John Gasperetti has noticed the increase when ordering supplies for his restaurant in Yakima.

"It's up about $5 a pound," said Gasperetti.

So far, he hasn't passed on the difference to customers. Gasperetti says he'll try to keep prices the same, but no promises.

"If prices of beef keep going up we will be forced to raise our prices as well," said Gasperetti.

Other local restaurants like Burger Ranch face the same issue. But, beef eaters say that won't stop them from ordering it.

"I'll still eat beef, I like my steak. I'll pay the price, I just probably won't go out as much as I used to," said restaurant goer Bill Buxton.

The high demand keeps Frank in business. Combine that with a lower supply and you've got burgers making a bigger dent in your wallet.

The Washington State Beef Commission expects beef prices to keep climbing this year.