Beef Industry Fact Sheet


·         The U.S. beef industry is worth an estimated $175 billion with cattlemen conducting business in all 50 states and operating 800,000 individual farms and ranches.

·         In July 2003, there were 104.3 million cattle in the United States. 

·         35.7 million cattle were harvested in 2003.

·         2002 data shows there were 805,080 cow/calf operations and 95,189 feedlots in the United States according to CattleFax. 

·         While the United States has less than 10 percent of the world's cattle inventory, it produces nearly 25 percent of the world's beef supply according to 2002 USDA data.

·         The U.S. produced 27.1 billion pounds of beef in 2002.

·         There are 1.4 million jobs attributed to the beef industry.

·         The cattle industry is a family business. Eighty percent of the cattle businesses have been in the same families for more than 25 years; 10 percent fore more than 100 years.

·         Cattle are produced in all 50 states and their economic impact contributes to nearly every county in the nation and they are a significant economic driver in rural communities. 

·         America’s demand for beef has increased more than 15 percent since 1998.  

·         Consumer beef spending has grown $14 billion compared to the 1990s according to CattleFax. 

·         Beef is the number one protein in America according to USDA consumption data.  In 2002, the average per capita consumption of beef was 64.4 pounds according to USDA consumption data.  

·         Steak is the single most popular beef dish in-home, eaten more than once a month by the average person. Hamburger is the second most popular in-home item (8.9 percent of all eating occasions) - NPD/National Eating Trends, 2002. 

·         Beef exports, during 2003, were worth approximately $2.664 billion, variety meat exports were worth $601 million and tallow exports were worth $325 million.   

·         During 2002, beef exports represented 9 percent of U.S. domestic beef production (2.45 billion pounds vs. 27.1 billion pounds). 

Producer-directed and consumer-focused, the NCBA is the trade association of America’s cattle farmers and ranchers, and the marketing organization for the largest segment of the nation’s food and fiber industry.

This project is funded by America’s Beef Producers through the Cattlemen’s Beef Board.

Text Box: This project is funded by America’s Beef Producers through the Cattlemen’s Beef Board.