Maritimers who enjoy a juicy steak might want to prepare themselves: local butchers warn the price of meat is going up just before BBQ season.

Statistics Canada numbers show the price of sirloin steaks and pork chops has gone up almost $2 a kilogram in a year.

Sidney Annema, who runs KJL Select Meats in Charlottetown, said herds have been decreasing over the past two decades.

Last month the U.S. Department of Agriculture said the price of a pound of fresh beef is the highest it’s been since the mid-1980sThe department also said the number of beef cows in America is at its lowest level since 1951.

“Demand is catching up with that and I also find the Canadian dollar has some effect on the price increases as well,” Annema told CBC’s Maritime Noon.

“We explain to the customer that the industry is changing and the market price is going up and unfortunately that is passed along the chain to the customer,” he said.

Highland Drive Storehouse owner Jessi Gillis said there are compounding factors. The Halifax butcher said local farmers are telling her the auction price for cattle has gone up in the last year.

“Because they’re farming in Nova Scotia it has to do with the kind of winters we have, the kind of summers we have and how the creation of feed is,” she explained.

“There’s no real plateau in sight.”

Hoping customers understand

Both Annema and Gillis have been slowly nudging their prices up.

“Just not to shock the price so much and we’ve been absorbing some costs. Consumers are adjusting well,” Annema said.

Gillis said her butcher shop is now using the whole cow to make stocks and stews, trying to get the most worth out of the animals.

She said she’s lucky to have customers who want to support local farmers, but Annema said he’s worried people will turn away from expensive cuts of meat.

“The consumption of local meat is very important to our economy here on Prince Edward Island, but there might be an increase in burgers and sausages rather than t-bones and pork chops,” he said.

Both butchers say the farmers are also getting a bite out of the price increase.

“We all stand together,” Gillis said.