The United States is the world's largest producer of beef, primarily high-quality, grain-fed beef. Beef farms and ranches represent over 30% of U.S. farms, making up the single largest U.S. agricultural sector. The U.S. beef industry is roughly divided into two sectors: cow-calf operations and cattle feeding. The focus of the cow-calf operation is to maintain a herd of beef cattle to raise calves. The cattle feeding sector focuses on preparing cattle for various means of production. Beef cattle are raised in all 50 U.S. states. As of 2023, there are 28,917,900 beef cows in the United States. This is down from one year ago. Texas has the most beef cows, followed by Oklahoma, Missouri, and Nebraska.
The number of cattle in every state is a good indicator of how much beef each state produces. Seven states have over 1 million beef cows in 2023. The ten states with the highest number of beef cows are:
Together, these states have 16,706,000 beef cows, comprising 57.7% of the United States’ total beef cows. This means that the remaining 40 states make up 42.3%.
Rhode Island has the fewest cows with 1,100, followed by Delaware with 1,200, and New Hampshire with 4,500. Connecticut, Massachusetts, Alaska, and New Jersey all have fewer than 10,000 cows. Together, these seven states have only 35,500 beef cows and account for just 0.12% of the country's total cows.
% of US