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May 31, 2019

Beef Farms: Beef Industry’s Major Contribution to the U.S. Economy

Here are key highlights from the 2017 Census of Agriculture for the beef industry.

As a final send-off for National Beef Month, we’re exploring recent shifts within the beef industry and taking a deeper look at the economic impact of beef production.

Across the nation, there are more than 720,000 beef farms that make up 35 percent of all U.S. farm operations. As the largest single sector in agriculture, the beef industry fuels the U.S. economy by providing raw materials that support the production of finished products in various economic sectors, including:

  • Food
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Retail
  • Health Care
  • Automotive
  • Household Products

Based on a 2014 economic analysis, beef cattle production contributed approximately $165 billion to the U.S. economy through direct and indirect economic and employment opportunities.  In addition, beef exports have continued to demonstrate year-over-year growth, with record-setting performances in 2017 and 2018. Last year, the value of exported beef grew by 15 percent resulting in $8.3 billion in total value.

According to the USDA, 2019 will likely be another record-setting year for beef producers. They anticipate an 8.9% increase in beef consumption across the nation. To learn more about how the beef industry supports our nation through economic activities, view our beef industry highlights below.

Beef industry highlights from the 2017 Ag Census
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