Celebrating the industry


May is my favorite time of year.

Kids are getting out of school, and county fair season will soon be in full swing, and we all know how much I love fairs. 

May is also Beef Month, which makes this time of year even better. 

I fire up the grill or smoker even when it’s snowing or raining, but there’s something about eating a burger or steak on the porch or deck on a warm spring day that makes it all taste so much better. 

The cattle industry is enormous in the Ozarks, and our cattle farmers and ranchers attribute millions to our local economies. The Livestock Marketing Association recently released the findings of its economic impact study that proves the point. 

The case livestock auction market in the study was in a rural Missouri town with a population of less than 5,000, much like many of our hometowns, selling all classes of cattle in a weekly sale. The study of an average, fixed-facility livestock auction market revealed the market provides approximately $2 million in total value-added dollars to its local community, up from the $1 million identified in the 2017 report. 

The report noted the “market studied provides 17 jobs, generating $888,000 in labor income to the community’s economy. Additionally, the market contributes $447,000 in local taxes and $108,000 in federal taxes. Of the total value-added number, contributions were also made by the on-site café, which further provides labor income, state, local and federal taxes.”

That’s just one aspect of the cattle industry. Think about sales at your local feed stores, the jobs there, taxes collected, and the money put back into the community. 

In 2022, the USDA estimated cattle production would represent about 17 percent of the $462 billion total cash receipts for agricultural commodities, not including the dairy industry. The North American Meat Institute estimates the beef industry contributes $894 billion to the U.S. economy and, through its production and distribution linkages, impacts firms in all 440 sectors of the U.S. economy, directly and indirectly providing 5.9 million jobs in the U.S.

Not bad for a bunch of farmers and ranchers. 

Estimates for the global vegan food market are much lower. Vegan markets are predicted to reach just $31.4 billion by 2026, according to the vegan publication VegWorld. If the vegans want to take over what the world eats, they better find something better than tofu or lab-created-want-to-be beef.

Rising cattle hasn’t been easy the last couple of years, thanks to rising production costs – like feed and fertilizer – and dry weather conditions. Still, the industry continues to be critical for the nation’s economy.

Beef is also a staple on many tables. Globally, according to Beef2live.com, the world consumed more than 130 billion (yes, billion with a B) pounds of beef in 2020. The U.S. is the largest beef consumer, with 21 percent of the market with more than 27 billion pounds. It just shows beef is what’s for dinner in many homes. 

I challenge you to find a way to promote the beef industry, or agriculture in general, in your hometown this Beef Month. If your county Farm Bureau or Cattlemen’s Association isn’t planning something, maybe you can put a little bug in their ears to find a way to do something next year. 

If we don’t promote ourselves, no one will do it for us, and there’s no better advocate for an industry than those involved; be your own cheerleader.

Julie Turner-Crawford is a native of Dallas County, Mo., where she grew up on her family’s farm. She is a graduate of Missouri State University. To contact Julie, call 1-866-532-1960 or by email at [email protected].


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