As we still suffer from the effects of the economy over the last three years - it seems like rising (or high prices) have become the norm.  That's why this piece of news should come as no surprise:  beef prices are expected to continue to skyrocket over the next year.

Retail beef prices are near record levels after increasing 10 percent last year, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Some analysts say they could go up another 10 percent this year - more than double the inflation rate for all food.

The problem in this case is an anemic cattle population.

At the root of the situation - the start of the supply chain - is a skimpy U.S. cattle population: 91 million, the fewest since 1952, the USDA reported in January.