Air Emissions and Animal Agriculture

Cattle on Feed

Cattle on feed are those beef animals on farms or feedlots (and, to a much smaller degree, pasture) that are being fed specifically for processing and human consumption. While cattle are fed across the United States, there is a region – including western Iowa through the Central Plains States of Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas – of intense beef production. 73% of the total United States’ inventory of cattle on feed are fed in these six states.

Beef farms, or feedlots, in the Plains States tend to be larger than beef farms in other areas of the United States. Texas, the leading beef feeding state, has 1,466 beef feedlots with a total state inventory exceeding 3 million head. In Texas, 97% of cattle on feed are on farms with more than 1,000 head. Conversely, in Iowa, 39% of the state’s inventory is on farms with more than 1,000 head. In Ohio, 14% of the beef farms have cattle inventories greater than 1,000 head. In Michigan and Indiana, 30% and 13%, respectively, of farms have more than 1,000 head on feed.

In the top five states, 1,130 beef feedlots (8.5%) have inventories greater than 1,000 head. Those farms account for 84% of the total cattle on feed in the top five states and 59% of the United States’ total inventory. The exception is Iowa, where a greater percentage of the cattle on feed are on farms with 100 to 999 head (53%) than on larger farms with more than 1,000 head (39%).

 

On the table and the map below, you can see that cattle production is concentrated in a very few states, mostly in the western United States.


 

Sources:

USDA-NASS, 2007, 2007 Census of Agriculture, Maps

USDA-NASS, 2007, 2007 Census of Agriculture, State Level Data by State

Last Updated 09/07/2011