With the economy and the weather slowly improving, the barbecue grill beckons.

But the pork chops could be out of reach.

Sticker shock is arriving at a supermarket meat case near you, as cattle, hog and poultry prices soar in speculator-influenced commodity markets.

The upturn has put an end to a long downward spiral for livestock producers, who until recently have been losing money on every animal they brought to market.

Given the recent strength in retail sales overall, U.S. consumers may be willing to pay a little more for their animal protein.

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