Updated: 02/21/2014 6:12 AM
Created: 02/21/2014 3:27 AM WHEC.com
You may be reeling from sticker shock if you've purchased beef lately at the grocery store.
That's because retail beef prices are reaching near record highs.
According to government data, ground beef prices climbed roughly 5% last year and are on target to increase as much as 10% by summer.
Beef prices have gone up an average of $1 per pound since 2007 and consumers are currently paying an average of nearly $3.50 per pound for ground beef. The USDA says those prices are likely to stay.
The prices are being blamed on ranchers raising fewer herds of cattle, particularly in areas experiencing a drought.
If you're shopping for beef products, experts recommend checking with the meat counter clerk to find out when certain items may go on sale and look for coupons.