Overview of the Beef Industry

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Overview of the Beef Industry
Donnie Montemayor
County Extension Agent-Ag
Bee County
Overview of the Beef Industry
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The Bottom Line
The cattle industry plays an
integral role in the country’s
economic growth and well
being, and has done so
since this country was
formed. More than 1 million
cattlemen and women do
business in a free-market
economy, and represent the
largest single segment of
American Agriculture.
Beef in the U.S. Agricultural Economy

The largest single segment of the
U.S. agricultural economy is beef
production, with cattle representing
about 18 percent of total farm sales.
Beef Industry Highlights
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Agriculture is responsible for more than 22 million
jobs — Beef production itself is a major employer,
with the more than 186,000 full-time jobs on farms
and ranches creating more than 1 million more
jobs throughout the economy.
Beef is consumed 77.8 million times each day
across America. And, about 9 in 10 households
will serve in a two week period. That percentage
has remained fairly stable over the past decade.
Beef Sales and Consumption
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Retail value of beef consumed in 1998
exceeded $51 billion, according to USDA and
Cattle-Fax statistics. Per capita beef
consumption was 64.4 pounds in 1998
(boneless weight), which was 56 percent of
total red meat consumption. On average,
consumers spent $186.03 for beef in 1997,
about 45.5 percent of the total spent on beef,
pork and chicken combined.
Beef Exports
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Agricultural exports totaled $57.3 billion in
1997, according to USDA Economic
Research Service and Cattle-Fax. Total beef
exports (including beef by-products and live
animals) were valued at $4.8 billion that
same year, compared with total imports of $3
billion.
Cattle and Beef Marketing Channels
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Purebred/Seedstock
Cow/Calf
Stocker
Feedyard
Packer
Processor
Retailer/Foodservice
Operators
Consumer
Purebred Beef Cattle
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The purebred segment, these
producers build the genetics that
will be utilized as breeding stock
that is marketed to the cow/calf
segment. While there are more
than 50 different breeds in the U.
S., only a handful — 10 or so —
contribute a significant volume of
genetics to the industry. Genetics
are originated based on their
ability to serve the beef system
through efficient production, as
well as the consumer through
creation of the highest quality beef
possible.
Registered Beef Cattle
Associations
 Breed Publications, Advertising
EPD’s
Commercial Beef Cattle Operations
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Cow/Calf
 Also known as commercial cattlemen,
these producers may cross as many as
four different breeds together to produce
the bulk of cattle that will ultimately be
grain-fed for harvest. Commercial
cattlemen sell weaned calves (usually 610 months old weighing 300-600 lbs.) to
stocker operators or feedlots. Some may
retain ownership of their calves through
the finishing phase.
Stocker
 Cattlemen in this segment purchase
weaned calves, then graze them until they
weigh as much as 900 lbs. (usually when
they’re around 12 months old, or
“yearlings”), then market them to a
feedlot. Adding weight to cattle through
grazing transforms natural resources —
many of which have no other use — into
food humans can utilize. This means beef
can be produced more economically.
Specialty Markets
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Show Cattle
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Club Calves
Roping Steers
Equestrian Event Cattle
Organic Grown Beef
Cattle
Branded Beef
Commercial Feed Yard
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Feedlot
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Feedlots may purchase
weaned calves from the
cow/calf segment or cattle
from the stocker segment,
finishing them to harvest
weights of 900-1,400 lbs.
Normally, cattle are on feed
anywhere from 110 to 250
days, depending on
purchase and targeted
harvesting weights. These
animals are then marketed
to packers.
Packers
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Beef packers harvest finished
cattle purchased from feedlots,
fabricating the beef carcasses
(typically 600-800 lbs.) into
boxes of “sub primal” cuts,
such as the top round,
tenderloin or sirloin. The boxed
beef is then marketing to
purveyors/processors or
retailers, who cut the beef into
products and sizes appropriate
for consumers today.
Kane’s – Corpus Christi, Texas
Processor/Purveyor
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This segment fabricates boxes of
sub primal cuts into the cuts familiar
to consumers. Often this segment
will market to the hotel, restaurant
and institution (HRI) trade, which
has no production capabilities.
Many grocery stores, though, which
in the past have purchased directly
from packers and done their own
meat cutting, are now buying
further-processed cuts and beef
items for direct sale to consumers.
Retailers & Foodservice Operators
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The segment closest to the consumer is the
link in the chain buying from purveyors,
processors or packers, then presenting
products to consumers for their purchase.
Because they directly depend on consumers,
these marketers watch for trends and styles
that may affect consumer demand for beef.
Consumer
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When domestic and
international consumers
purchase American
beef, either in the retail
meat case or as part of
a meal away from
home, they influence
subsequent decisions
made by every other
segment in the beef
system.
References
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National Beef Cattle Association Web Site
Texas Beef Council Web Site
Day Show Cattle Web Site
TAMU Animal Science
Beefmaster Breeders United Web Site
Jordan Cattle Company Web Site
The Show Box “TCCA” Web Site
USTRC Web Site
Buckaroo Beef Web Site
Nolan Ryan Tender Aged Beef Web Site
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