By Julie Vrazel

There’s no way to deny it—the cost of everything is rising, including beef. And significant price relief isn’t around the corner.

While we’ve been enjoying years of steady retail beef prices, Texas ranchers have dealt with volatile markets. Today, those price swings are making their way into the grocery store.

But do you know why?

It started back in 2010 when the rains stopped. Grass in the pastures died. Tanks went dry. And Texas cattlemen and women began selling the herds they spent years raising.

Now, four years later, U.S. cow numbers are fewer than they’ve been in half a century. Yet demand for beef grown by our ranchers remains high, which drives the price of beef to record levels.

This is bittersweet for me. My family’s cattle operation desperately needs the higher prices for our cattle, but I know consumers have a limited budget.

So, how do you get more meat for your money? By looking deeper into the meat counter and expanding your recipe book.

Even though ranchers are busy raising beef, they also have invested in creating options to enhance convenience without compromising nutrition and flavor. Six lean cuts of beef are even certified as part of a heart-healthy diet by the American Heart Association.

As warmer weather and grilling season approaches, check out the Texas Beef Council‘s website for some of those options and find beef for every budget.

Remember, you don’t have to give up nutrition, flavor or the eating experience of beef just because you notice higher prices. I’m looking beyond the cuts of meat I’m most familiar with and discovering fulfilling options to my palate, novice kitchen skills and budget. Maybe you’ll give it a try, too. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.