The livestock industry in the U.S. is large and diverse, and many of the crops grown in this garden support the sector by forming the basis of animal feed. U.S. livestock farms range from large-scale operations with thousands of animals, to smaller diversified farms that may grow multiple crops in addition to raising animals. The U.S. is a global powerhouse in meat and dairy production, as well as trade – ranking as the world’s top producer of beef, poultry, and dairy, and number two for milk.
Did You Know?
Beef: Cattle production is one of the most important sectors of the agricultural economy, generating over $390 billion in income for farmers, the largest share of any single commodity. Texas is the top beef cattle producing state, followed by Nebraska, Kansas, and Oklahoma. The U.S. is also the world’s biggest consumer of beef – on average, each American eats over 40 pounds of beef per year.
Pork: The U.S. is home to more than 60,000 pork producers who market more than 115 million hogs annually. Iowa is the top pork-producing state, followed by Minnesota and North Carolina. About a quarter of U.S. pork production is exported – China and Japan are the biggest buyers.
Poultry: American consumption of chicken has been rising rapidly in recent decades – today, the average person eats more than 50 pounds a year, more than double the amount in 1970. The top chicken producing states are Georgia, Arkansas, and Alabama. Iowa is the biggest U.S. producer of eggs, and Minnesota and North Carolina rank first for turkey.
Dairy: Milk is produced in all 50 states, but output is highest in the western and northern U.S. – California and Wisconsin are the top producers. Dairy farmers have become increasingly efficient in recent decades, leading to an increase in output even as the number of U.S. farms decreased. U.S. consumption of fluid milk has been declining in recent years, but at the same time, demand for other dairy products, especially cheese, has increased. Mozzarella is the most popular cheese variety in the U.S., followed by cheddar.