Beef cattle production represents the largest single segment of American agriculture. In fact, the U.S. beef industry is made up of more than 1 million businesses, farms and ranches. There are more than 800,000 ranchers and cattle producers in the United States.  In 2007, the production of meat animals was responsible for $66 billion in added value to the U.S. economy.

Farming is a family affair according the Economic Research Service. It found that 98 percent of U.S. farms in 2007 were family farms. The typical herd size averages 40 head of cattle, but herds with more than 100 head of cattle produce most beef in the United States.

In 2007, there were 97 million cattle in the United States. Total beef production in 2007 was 26.4 billion pounds of beef. Beef production per cow has increased from about 400 pounds in the mid-1960s to 585 pounds in 2005 meaning more business opportunities for producers and cost savings for consumers.

Explore the links below for more beef industry facts and resources.

Beef Industry Statistics
Find Charts and tables showing data and trends related to per capita beef consumption, cattle prices, export markets for U.S. beef, corn prices and more. Or, download this fact sheet for more statistics about the American beef industry.

Beef Trade Statistics
Visit this site for year-to-date and historical export statistics for beef, pork and lamb. Also find overviews and statistics about key international beef markets.

Explore Beef
Visit this site to learn more about how beef gets to the consumer’s plate. Hear the real story of beef production from those who know it best: America’s beef producers.

This is a resource for learning about beef, the family-owned and operated businesses that produce it and the carefully developed practices for producing nutritious, safe beef. Visit the site to see the information, photos, graphics, facts and figures, personal accounts and other resources that work together to make up the highly scientific, deeply personal and very real story of how beef gets from the pasture to consumers’ plates. 

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