It has been a long and miserable summer, as the Texas drought drags on. We thought we might get some relief this past weekend, but it did not materialize, as the rainfall from the expected tropical storm went east to Louisiana. Instead, we got high winds. Driving down the freeway I spotted a sign that said “EXTREME WILDFIRE DANGER.” A couple of exits later, I actually witnessed a ranging wildfire a few miles away. Black smoke was billowing, and the winds fanned the flames higher. I could not help but keep “rubbernecking” as I actually saw orange flames spewing high above the trees. Firetrucks raced toward the area and constables blocked off several side roads. It was quite alarming to see. I caught the evening news to find out about the fire. According to the report, by the time the fire was extinguished a few hours later, 60 acres had burned. The fire was said to be caused by an electrical spark that set off the dry brush. Luckily the fires did not affect any residential or business properties and no one was injured.
The ill effects of this drought is not limited to the local area. It will impact everyone’s pocketbooks by early to middle of next year. How? The price of beef is expected to sky rocket. Because of the drought, ranchers do not have enough grass to feed their cattle so they are sending them to the slaughterhouse sooner. This means the price of beef is lower these days, but their inventory for next year and the one after, is dropping. Less inventory means higher prices to us. Hamburger prices will increase early next year, steak cuts will jump up in 2013.
It would be a good idea to stock up on beef products this year. I checked my stored food and found I have very little beef. I will be ordering some freeze dried beef as the budget allows. Drought affected areas areas are also producing less fruits and vegetables, which will only increase prices of those items even more. Just another reason to keep working on that stockpile.