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July 16, 2009   Email to Friend 

Darryal Ray
(334) 613-4187
July 16, 2009

Beef prices declined as more burgers sizzled on the grill during the Fourth of July weekend.
MONTGOMERY, Ala. -- Declines in prices on beef products, coupled with continued savings in the dairy case, brought the average cost of 20 market basket items down almost 2 percent at Alabama markets this month. According to the Alabama Farmers Federation's monthly food price survey, the market basket averaged $50.68 the first week of July, down 92 cents from a month earlier.

Steaks and ground beef declined as America fired up the grills to celebrate the Fourth of July holiday. T-bone steaks fell 53 cents to $8.12 per pound and ground beef was down 17 cents to $2.27 a pound. Chuck roast, however, jumped 9 cents to $3.20. Pork prices were mixed with pork chops up a nickel to $3.18 a pound and bacon up 9 cents to $4.13 a pound. Boston butts, however, were down 19 cents to $1.52 per pound. Whole fryers were unchanged at $1.23 per pound, but chicken breasts fell 4 cents to $1.98.

Prices in the dairy case continued to plummet as America's struggling dairy farmers face an unprecedented crisis amid a sagging economy. Over the past year, the average price paid to farmers is less than half their cost of production. For the second straight month, milk fell a nickel to $2.70 per half-gallon, and butter was down 4 cents to $3.43 a pound. Cottage cheese, which fell 23 cents last month, was up 5 cents to $2.56 a pound. Ice cream, perhaps buoyed by Independence Day weekend, was unchanged at $3.72 a half-gallon. Eggs also dropped, falling 17 cents to $1.15 a dozen.

Meanwhile, on the produce aisle, prices were mixed as tomatoes climbed a nickel to $1.64 a pound and lettuce was up 8 cents to $1.39 per pound. Red potatoes, unchanged last month, fell five cents to 84 cents a pound. Sweet potatoes were down a penny to 93 cents a pound.

Regional reports collected by volunteer shoppers across the state July 1-10 showed the market basket averaged $49.80 in northeast Alabama, $49.95 in the northwest corner of the state, $50.03 in the central counties and $53.22 in south Alabama.

Alabama Farmers Federation, a member of the American Farm Bureau Federation, conducts the informal monthly market basket survey as a tool to reflect retail food price trends. More than 90 percent of the food items consumed in the United States are produced whole or in part by American farmers.

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