DAVID GREENE, HOST:
And our last word in Business on this July Fourth - beef.
(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "RED RIVER")
JOHN WAYNE: (As Thomas Dunson) Good beef, for hungry people, beef to make them strong, make them grow.
GREENE: That is John Wayne in the 1948 film, "Red River," championing the benefits of this backyard barbecue staple. As millions of Americans fire up the grill this holiday weekend, chances are you're throwing some burgers on there. This Fourth of July though, there is something different about that Burger.
JOE DEAUX: For most people, this is going to be the most expensive hamburger that they've eaten in their life.
GREENE: That is Joe Deaux. He's an economics analyst at thestreet.com. And he says beef prices are soaring because of the ongoing drought.
DEAUX: Cattle don't go to feed until they're brought 800 pounds, in other words, before that they're just grazing on pastureland and so when there is drought, of course, they're not getting as fat. Because of this, we've had more heifers be held back as we're trying to catch up the supply after losing a couple of years to these droughts.
GREENE: Now, according to the USDA, a pound of ground beef now costs almost 50 cents more than it did last year. If you really want to save money, Deaux says pick pork or chicken instead and just try to make it sound cool when you say, that is a tasty chicken sandwich. That's the Business News on MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Happy Fourth of July. I'm David Greene. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.