Beef prices have been on the rise for some time now, and ground beef prices are quickly approaching the $5 mark.

Industry experts have stated that the reason for the increased beef prices over the past few years is the declining number of beef cattle in the U.S. Drought in Texas and California have played a large role in the cattle numbers reaching a 60 year low, Jason Rantala reported for Iowa's KCCI television station. As drought destroys critical land for grazing, producers have had to reduce the number of cattle they raise.

Nancy Degner, spokesperson for the Iowa Beef Industry Council, said it could take a year or two for prices to start dropping, because it takes about two years to get calves ready to go to market, Rantala reported.

Experts advise customers to watch for special price reductions and then to buy the meat in bulk. Experts also said that the beef industry goes through cycles of both high and low prices, and that really low prices put farmers at risk of going out of business.

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