Companies in this industry are ranches and farms that raise cattle, including those intended for dairy herd replacements, and feedlots that fatten cattle in preparation for slaughter. Major companies include Agri Beef; Cactus Feeders; and Friona Industries (all based in the US); JBS and Minerva (both headquartered in Brazil); Australia's Teys Australia Meat Group, which is partially owned by US-based Cargill, and NH Foods (Japan).
The global cattle herd totals about 1 billion head, including about 90 million raised in the US. India, the US, Brazil, the EU, China, Argentina, and Colombia are the world's top cattle and beef producers. Rising global demand for meat will fuel growth in the cattle ranching industry.
The US cattle ranching industry includes about 915,000 operators with combined annual revenue of about $81 billion.
The industry doesn't include slaughter, processing, or packing operations. Meat processing is covered in the Meat Product Manufacturing profile.
Demand is driven by food prices, population growth, and global trade policies. The profitability of individual operations depends on production efficiency and anticipating market demand. Large operators have some advantages in volume purchasing and efficient use of labor and equipment. Small operators can compete successfully by producing special grades of beef cattle and by controlling costs carefully. The industry is concentrated: the top 6% of farms generate about 75% of revenue.
US trade in live cattle takes place primarily with Canada and Mexico. Live cattle imports account for about 3%...