Customers Stock Up at Newhall Meat Locker in Anticipation of Higher Meat Prices

By Jillian Petrus, Reporter

Newhall Locker owner Dave Sutton with some of his prize winning meats. The Newhall Locker recently won national acclaim for some of its meat products in the American Association of Meat Producers Cured Meat Championship.

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By Liz Blood

LINN COUNTY, Iowa - The drought is driving up corn and hay prices.

Iowa State University Professor, Chad Hart, is a grain and market specialist. Hart said next year we will feel the impact of the dry summer at local grocery stores.

Cattle, hogs and poultry that are fed corn sold at today's prices won't be ready for slaughter until 2013.

That's when we can expect to see higher prices at the meat market.

At Newhall Locker and Process, meat lovers are stocking up.

"Our market's been really good here," said Owner David Sutton. "The number of people butchering has been on the rise right now."

That's because customers know the drought means higher prices for a nice slice of meat.

"People want to put some meat away, put some beef and pork in the freezer."

This year's dry summer sent hay and corn prices soaring. Farmers paid more to keep livestock well-fed from beef cattle - to dairy cows.

"First of the year to next summer is when the real change is gonna come," explained Sutton. To keep it simple, right now the meat you're eating is "pre" corn and hay crisis. Sutton says these cattle were already on the lot and ready to come to market.

But when this surplus of beef, poultry and pork drops, a good cut is going to cost you more.

Jim Herzberger, a Newhall Locker regular customer, said even if prices go up, he'll still pay out for his favorite items

"We like the beef jerky," Herzberger laughed, "In fact, that's why I'm here tonight to get some to take home."

Herzberger says he thinks people will find the cash to cover the higher cost of meat products.

"The farmers need to make a profit, and so do the people who sell the product," Herzberger said. "I might flinch a little, but I'll still buy it if I want it."

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