Beef prices have reached all-time highs in the U.S. and aren't expected to come down any time soon.
Extreme weather has thinned the nation's beef cattle herds to levels last seen in 1951, when there were about half as many mouths to feed in America.
"We've seen strong prices before but nothing this extreme," said Dennis Smith, a commodities broker for Archer Financial Services in Chicago. "This is really new territory."
The retail value of "all-fresh" USDA choice-grade beef jumped to a record $5.28 a pound in February, up from $4.91 the same time a year ago. The same grade of beef cost $3.97 as recently as 2008.
The swelling prices are roiling the beef supply chain from rancher to restaurant.