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Beef, pork prices at all-time highs in Kentucky groceries

Blame beef and pork — at all-time high prices — for the fifth consecutive quarter of higher grocery prices, according to the quarterly survey by the Kentucky Farm Bureau.

In Kentucky, beef prices jumped more than 10 percent on average. Pork prices rose 6 percent.

This is the third consecutive quarter in which beef and pork prices have climbed, and both categories are at all-time highs in the Marketbasket Survey's history.

Nationally, beef prices are up more than 15 percent year over year, with pork prices up almost 12 percent, according to the USDA.

Overall food prices continued to climb in September, the Marketbasket Survey found. The total cost of 40 basic grocery items rose 3.9 percent, to $127, from $122.23 for the previous quarter.

The only food groups dropping in average price in September were poultry (down 2.9 percent) and fruits and vegetables (down 2.2 percent.)

Top three prices increases in September were:

■ Rib-eye steak, which rose an average of $1.02 per pound from June.

■ Chuck roast, which rose 72 cents a pound from June;

■ Sirloin, which rose 62 cents a pound from June.

Kentucky's grocery prices are up 5.8 percent from $120.08 at the end of 2013.

This outpaces the overall 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent increase in food costs that the U.S. Department of Agriculture has forecast for the year, according to the Farm Bureau.

The USDA's Economic Research Service anticipates food prices returning to normal inflation rates by the end of the year, but food-at-home prices already have increased more in the first six months of 2014 than they did in all of 2013, according to the Consumer Price Index.

The higher prices are good news and bad news for Kentucky: The state also raises a lot of beef cattle.

Kentucky is the largest beef producer east of the Mississippi River, with more than 1.1 million beef cows and more than 38,000 cattle producers, according to the Kentucky Cattlemen's Association.

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