Less steak may be a new American reality that’s here to stay.

The average U.S. consumer is eating less meat and poultry in general, a shift in consumption that reflects tighter budgets, fewer animals on the market and more meat going to foreign countries.

The feed factor can be fingered as a top culprit, affecting meat production from hooves to feathers.

“In the last several years we’ve expanded ethanol production a great deal, using 40 percent of U.S. corn produced in 2011,” said Ron Plain, a University of Missouri Extension economist. “As we ramp that usage up, there’s less feed available for cattle, hogs and poultry, and with less feed comes reduced meat production.”