Tag Archives: Idaho Beef Industry

Idaho Beef Industry Showing Marked Recovery

The beef life cycle is one of the most complex of any food, taking anywhere from two to three years to bring beef from farm to fork. This process involves multiple stakeholders, beginning with farmers and ranchers and ending with packing plant workers. Traditionally, the U.S. beef industry has been comprised of three main sectors ‒ cattle production, feedlots and meat processing. The packing sector is the primary driving factor in the beef industry’s vertical supply chain. The packers are the market outlet for the feeding sector and in turn, the feedlots are the primary market outlet for the cow-calf producers.

An overview of Idaho’s beef industry shows the cattle production sector’s total cow-calf inventory has grown slightly faster than the national average. A 2019 January industry snapshot shows Idaho’s cattle inventory stood at 2.5 million cows and calves, raised across 7,400 farm operations. This inventory comprised 504,000 beef cows that had calved and 625,000 milk cows that had calved. About 48% of this inventory was in south central Idaho, which has a competitive cattle production advantage in forage and crop aftermath grazing resources compared with the rest of the state.

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