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Ranchers rejoice | Reaping the benefits of rising retail meat prices

Matthew May, owner of MMM Cattle Company, has more people buying local beef from his herd rather than the grocery store.

WILLIAMSON COUNTY, Texas — We've seen gas prices rising for a while and now you may have noticed your grocery bill going up if you're buying meat.

Across the country, including Central Texas, meat prices are on the rise at your local grocery store.

A Central Texas rancher Matthew May, owner of MMM Cattle Company, says basic economics like supply and demand are the driving reasons behind it.

"I think there are other factors that play including the packers, that is the people that do the processing on the commercial level but also just a boom in population," he explained. "It's hard to keep up with domestic demand in addition to foreign demand for American beef."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says wholesale beef prices are predicted to increase between 17 and 20 percent in 2021 which in turn raises the price at the grocery store.

But Central Texans are finding and using other avenues to get their meat.

"People that are reaching out and wanting to buy entire sides of beef and higher volumes that they would normally buy in order to stock up," May said.

They're leaning on local ranchers to bring the protein to their table.

May is one of the many locals reaping the benefits of prices rising at the retail level.

"Local producers like myself that do sell beef from their cattle, we're starting to be a lot more competitive in that market and as long as we hold steady we feel that the volume will pick up and ideally, all Central Texans will start realizing that there's local produce, local poultry, local pork and of course local beef available to them" May said.

May says business is picking up and more people are buying meat by the pound or even by the cow, which has ranchers making adjustments.

"There are animals that I would otherwise breed and try to boost my herd numbers that we're just harvesting them and selling them as meat, just to keep up with demand," he explained.

According to May, buying local is helping local and while the price seems slightly higher, you're paying for the convenience and the quality.

"The individual actually helps himself because that money stays here instead of going to some giant national or international corporation, but also there's just a quality that you have to taste to believe," he added.

The local ranchers are seeing lower prices than they've historically seen but it's pretty average and May says the commercial side of the beef industry is at the mercy of the local market.

If you're looking to stock up on meat or are interested in buying beef through a local rancher -- click here.