Too Few Cattle Left To Feed
This crisis has been brewing for some time, as the price of corn skyrocketed (due to its use as a fuel component), followed by a midwest drought, which depleted much of the corn produced for all purposes. Because of this, many ranchers sold their herds for pennies on the dollar and stopped breeding the cattle they had left, because it had simply become too expensive and difficult to feed them. The article reminds everyone that less cattle in the surviving feedlots will mean higher prices for beef at the grocery store and in restaurants.
And they make it sound like it's a bad thing.
It's just my opinion, but I firmly believe if most Americans ate less industrially-produced beef, it would not harm their health at all. In fact, it might even improve it.
Humans do not need beef, especially not fattened up, corn-fed beef. Corn-fed beef tastes better in the way a Twinkie tastes better than a chewy piece of homemade bread with butter and jam. It's more bland, easier to digest, and filled with a lot more chemicals and unnecessary ingredients that make it easy on the palate. Maybe we like that better because it's easier to forget that a living creature died in order for us to have it on our plate. We are uncomfortable thinking about things like that.
Grass-fed beef can taste "gamey" (or perhaps "beefy" would be a better word). You can't mass-produce grass-fed beef like you can corn-fed, feedlot beef, because grazing requirements are high. Because 100% grass-fed beef is more difficult to produce, it's more expensive, meaning you will probably eat less of it than other things, like pork or chicken.
We had steak last night, the first we've had in several months. It was really good -- grass-fed, locally raised and processed beef -- but it is expensive and, because of that, is an occasional treat for us. Ditto for hamburger meat.
Perhaps one unforeseen up-side to climate change ruining our vast fields of mono-crops is that we'll all be healthier, eating more home-grown and home-raised vegetables, or even small livestock that could be raised and butchered in a backyard. Maybe more people would even choose to become vegetarian, once they were faced with the prospect of butchering their own backyard farm animals and meeting their meat on an up close and personal basis.
Perhaps there's a bright side to these harrowing times...if we choose to change how we do things. We're two generations (at least) out from where most Americans did some farming, which means it's not too late yet to get back to a more agrarian lifestyle, even in urban backyards and vacant lots.
Our grandparents and great-grandparents can light the way for us, if we'll let them. And we'd better let them, before those micro-farming skills die with them and are gone forever.