NEWS

Beef prices on the rise in the Maritimes as cattle fetch hefty price

09/13/2014 03:51 EDT | Updated 11/13/2014 05:59 EST
The price of beef will soon be eating up more of Maritimers' budgets as the price of meat meets an all-time high.

At a cattle sale in Murray Siding, N.S., Saturday buyers from as far away as Ontario place bids that increase by the pound.

After calving, feeding, vaccinations, months of hard work, hundreds of feeder cattle from across the Atlantic provinces were on display.

“Prices this year are all-time record highs. They're lifetime highs for anybody who has been involved in the industry,” said Sean Firth, owner of the Atlantic Stockyards auction house. “So we’re in a very different area of pricing.”

A $3 bid per pound translates into more than $1,200 per animal.

Firth says farmers are taking home more than double what they made in 2008.

With the prices for the cattle at an all time high, consumers will see a difference when they go to the grocery store.

But for farmers like Ruth Tuttle, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. She sells to farms on the east coast and in Quebec.

“It means our survival,” she said.

The industry was hit hard by bovine spongiform encephalopath, commonly known as mad cow disease, back in 2003.

It's taken more than a decade to recover.

Times were so tough for Tuttle and her family, she took on a second job, but that's not necessary now.

“It's actually exciting to have beef cattle when you know you're getting your costs, have rebound to the point that you can afford to function,” she said.

If prices stay this way, Tuttle says her family and others in the business will finally have a chance to pay off their old losses and focus on growing the east coast's cattle industry.

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