Kendall Little is a Gary Marx Journalism Fund intern.

While consumers are paying high prices for beef and pork at grocery stores, farmers producing the meat are making less than they were a year ago, according to data collected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The number of cattle and hogs have all fallen since 2021, according to the USDA, which may explain the increased consumer price. If the amount of product decreases but consumer demand stays the same, prices will increase for consumers.

[Read more: A consolidated market leaves ranchers wondering what’s next]

Also, producers have to go through a middleman — the meatpacking companies — instead of selling directly to consumers, which may limit the amount of profit they can make.

The Producer Price Index (PPI) measures the change in how much producers are making for their products over time while the Consumer Price Index (CPI) measures the change in how much consumers are paying for products.

The graph below shows the PPI and CPI percent changes from May 2021 to May 2022.

Top image: photo by Shelby Tauber, for Investigate Midwest

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