With beef prices continuing to rise, Connie Gage says her food budget is tighter than it used to be.

The Lincoln, NE, mother cooks for a family of six, including four children ages 4 to 11. She tries to serve meat three to four times a week.

On a recent trip to Russ’s Market, a Lincoln grocery store, she put a package of pork chops, on sale at $2.79/lb., and a $5 package of ground beef, into her cart. The hamburger will be used to make spaghetti sauce.

“I get more pork and less hamburger these days,” says Gage. “Pork still tends to be cheaper. Do I ever buy steak? Never.”

Gage, like other consumers in the region, is paying the price for national and international trends that are forcing beef prices upward. Area grocers and meat retailers say prices are significantly higher for hamburger and steak than they were a year ago, and they expect the trend to worsen as summer continues.

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