Barbecue lovers will be tested of their true devotion to grilling meat this summer as meat prices will definitely cost more this year. Beef is a prime example, with prices for that favorite grilling meat having gone up 2% since February, and up nearly 8% over last year’s prices. The extreme drought across a large portion of the country is to blame as cattle producers have had to thin their herds due to high feed costs. In fact, according to the USDA the country’s cattle herd is the smallest it’s been since the 1950’s. And USDA economist, Ricky Volpe, says that “it’s going to get worse before it gets better for consumers”. Pork lovers have their own price woes this year as well with pork prices up nearly 6% over last year. That’s due in part to increased consumer demand because of high beef prices, but with the onslaught of a new virus that has killed million of young pigs pork prices may go even higher. Chicken prices haven’t risen nearly as noticeably, but they have increased roughly 3% over last year’s prices and are expected to go up even more due to consumer demand. No doubt, dyed in the wool grilling enthusiasts will be getting very creative when it comes to their barbecue choices this year.