Americans are paying more for beef than ever before.  From meat counters to fine restaurants to delicatessens, meat prices are way up.  The average price, for all cuts, is more than five dollars a pound.  The Agriculture Department reports a number of factors are driving up the price.

One is the drought that's parching broad stretches of the west and cutting down the amount of feed and forage cattle need.  That has ranchers reducing their herds to the lowest numbers in more than 50 years.

Smaller herds mean less supply which means higher prices.  This comes as more people in more countries are developing an appetite for red meat, increasing demand for the shrinking supply.