"You still have to buy meat for the family, still have to feed the family, I buy it anyway."
Area meat market owners say meat prices have been rising, and that's even before the drought began.
"I have to charge more and pass it on to the consumer. and prices are higher for all cuts of meat right now," says Raymond Kahler, Village Food Mart owner.
"Prices have gone up and the large fluctuations, they haven't come back down," says Joe Mazzaferro, Mazzaferros Meat Market Owner.
Now owners I spoke with today say prices are only going to get higher. but customers say despite the increase, meat is a staple they'll continue to buy."
"Well it does affect me quite a bit because of my low income but you gotta by meat regardless," says Michael Chaparro, Rome resident.
"We have to feed our families and we have to buy the food we need to buy for the day." says Tom Bartolomie, Rome resident.
The price of ground beef has risen more than 8%, while sirloin steak has increased more than 15%.
"Pork has gone up a little bit, probably 15- 20 cents per pound. The meat I use for hamburgers, that's gone up 40- 60 cents per pound," says Kahler.
But Mazzaferro says there are ways to avoid the increase.
"When things go up, what we feel the consumers won't buy as much, we'll cut down on purchasing that particular product, and find other avenue, different product we can offer at a reasonable price," says Mazzaferro.
"Buying lower grade meats and coming to places that are more reasonable to eat at," says Bartolomie.
While the USDA projects big price increases across the board, shoppers agree buying lower grade meats may be the best option.
"You're gonna pay a lot more this winter and this spring for meats. prices have gone up high and they keep climbing and climbing. it's rough, it's a rough business right now," says Kahler.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the price of ground beef will rise 5% from last year but area meat markets say it's going to rise every higher.