Throwing another steak on the barbecue is going to continue to be an expensive proposition, 1200 WOAI's Michael Board reports.

 

  Analysts attending the annual convention of the American Farm Bureau in San Antonio say the price of steak, which is now at record highs, is going to continue to rise for the next two years.

 

  Livestock Specialist Darrell Peel says the size of the cattle herds continue to be low due to the 2011 Texas drought, and the timetable for the rebuilding process is up to Mother Nature, not to hungry meat eaters.

 

  "Cattle supplies are tight on the entire North American continent, so there is no other place which could serve as an easy source of cattle in the short run," Peel said.

 

  He says the size of America's beef cattle herd has fallen by as many as three million cows since 2011.  The drought, and the skyrocketing cost of cattle feed, prompted many Texas ranchers to sell off their herds, which forced prices down and made today's skyrocketing beef prices appear to consumers to be even steeper.

 

  The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the retail cost of prime beef is up 8% over the past year, to an average of $8.50 a pound.

 

  Peel says those prices will continue to rise, by an estimated 10% per year.

 

  "There is really no way out of it, other than the rather slow biological process of increasing the herd," he said.

 

  The size of the beef herd in Texas remains at its lowest level in fifty years.

 

   Peel says no hope is in sight, at least until 2016, at which time the size of beef cattle herds will have been rebuilt.

 

  But it could be a lot worse.  In London, for example, the cost of filet mignon just hit $33 a pound.