Not sure if the ongoing drought has anything to do with it. Ranchers here, including myself, will not hold cattle that we aren't able to feed. When the drought hit, herds were sold off. The cattle were not kept in "starving" conditions.
What cattle that are sold are still going through the same finishing process to add marbling and weight before hitting the packing houses.
Many are trying to build their herds back up but it looks like the drought isn't going to ease up soon.
Could be the beef is coming from a new location? Just a guess.
sittin' by the campfire with my Brethren friends.
Lifetime member of the Society for the Preservation of Authentic Royal Magical Rare Kaskaskian Peppers (Thanks Ash :))