AUGUSTA AND WASHINGTON, Ga. (WJBF) – Local farms and meat markets are seeing a decrease in cattle and a rise in beef prices.

The 2023 U.S. Department of Agriculture Cattle report shows that cattle inventory is down 3 percent compared to last year.

The owner of Lanier’s Fresh Meat Market has noticed a lower availability of top grade beef, and has had to raise the prices.

“The price of ground beef for the grade that we carry has gone up about a dollar a pound. My cost, we’ve had to go up about fifty cents a pound,” said Wayne Lanier, the owner of Lanier’s Fresh Meat Market. “But we’re keeping everything in stock.”

But this hasn’t been too much of a problem for them, because demand has gone up too.

“Our business has gone up almost double, in the last year or so because of the quality that we carry,” Lanier said.

The Farm Bureau says the last time the yearly cattle inventory declined by 3% or more was in 1987.

This could mainly be due to droughts in the West and Southern Plains and higher supply costs.

“I think the cattle prices are going to get higher because of the beef shortage,” said Chris Goldman at Barnett Angus Ranches. “The only thing is, fuel is still high, fertilizer is double what it was two or three years ago, feed is about double what it was two or three years ago.”

Chris Goldman is the herdsman at Barnett Angus Ranches in Wilkes County, but he has a family farm in Lincolnton that he says is suffering from the shortage.

“Our family farm has dwindled tremendously,” Goldman said. “I mean we’re down, it’s the lowest it’s ever been. And it’s because of fuel, what it costs to put up hay, can’t afford to put out fertilizer now. It’s outrageous.”

Luckily, there hasn’t been much of a cattle decline at Barnett’s, but local family farms hope for growth in the future.