Tag Archives: cow



When you go to the grocery store, do you gasp when you see the price on a package of ground beef? Does it seem that the size of the package of T-Bone or Bone In Strip Steak is getting smaller? Did you really see that woman put a steak into her purse? What in the world is going on?

It all started in 2013 when there was a drought in the Midwest. The U.S. corn crop was severely diminished, and the drought baked pastures. The demand for the limited supply of corn, used for ethanol production and cattle feed, sent corn prices soaring. Ranchers culled their herds of cattle, which caused the number to be the smallest since 1951.

In 2013 and 2014, the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDv) struck pigs. This virus is usually fatal to baby pigs, and it causes infected older pigs to lose weight. That significantly reduced the amount of pork available to the consumer.
In 2014, the number of chickens also declined.

The life cycle of these animals—chickens, pigs, and cattle—varies. Chickens can grow to market weight in four to six weeks. It takes four to six months to bring a hog to market size. It takes up to thirty months to bring beef cattle to market size. Therefore, beef was slowest to recover its market share.

If you think the size of a package of steak is smaller than it used to be, you may be right. To avoid the sticker shock of a pound of steak at $12.99 a pound, some grocery chains are packaging the meat in smaller weights. The customer thinks he is getting a bargain. What he is really getting is less meat.

What about the woman who was putting a steak into her purse? Shoplifting of meat has increased dramatically since prices have risen. On March 4, 2016, WTVC Channel 9 News out of Chattanooga, Tennessee, reported that a man was arrested for shoplifting at Whole Foods Store after he stuffed fifteen pounds of meat down his pants. The meat was worth $250. In a similar story, an A&P supermarket employee in New York was arrested when he tried to leave the store with $1,200 of raw meat stuffed into his pants. He is charged with fourth degree grand larceny.

—By Karen Centowski


Cash Cow

Since the Illinois Secretary of State stopped sending vehicle license plate sticker renewal reminders in October of 2015, many motorists missed the deadline for renewing their vehicle license plate stickers. CapitolFax.com has reported that Illinois motorists paid $1.7 million in late vehicle registration fines for the month of March, 2016. The total Illinois late vehicle registration fines paid in 2016 are up to $6.5 million.

By comparison, the Illinois Secretary of State’s office collected $2.2 million in late vehicle renewal fees during the first three months of 2015. Over 247,000 motorists in Illinois received fines for late vehicle registration renewal in the first three months of 2016, compared with 111,000 motorists in January, February, and March of 2015.

The Illinois Secretary of State’s office had stopped sending reminder notices to save $450,000 a month during the budget stalemate in Springfield. However, the result has proved very unpopular with Illinois motorists who see this as a cash cow, something which makes a lot of money for the State of Illinois at the expense of the residents. Illinois legislators have responded to the cries of their constituents by introducing a bill to provide relief.

On April 12, 2016, the Illinois House of Representatives unanimously passed House Bill 4334, which prohibits the Secretary of State from charging fees to vehicle owners who renew their vehicle registration late due to the Secretary of State’s suspension of mailed renewal notices. In addition, the bill provides that a vehicle owner who receives a ticket for expired vehicle license plates within one month of the expiration date does not have to pay the fine if the plates expired during the period in which the Secretary of State had suspended mailed vehicle registration reminder notices.
House Bill 4334 is now before the Illinois Senate. The bill would take effect upon becoming law. However, it is not retroactive to October of 2015 when the Illinois Secretary of State stopped sending vehicle registration reminder notices.

Meanwhile, set up some system to remind yourself of the time to renew your vehicle sticker. Select a date a month or two in advance of the renewal deadline. Then write this on your calendar, enter it into your Smartphone, put a sticky note on your refrigerator, or tie a string around your finger. Do something to avoid this trap!

—By Karen Centowski