Hey fellow beef jerky lover, remember early last year, when things got crazy because grocery store shelves were emptied out by sheer irrational panic, and it looked like we ran out of beef... and toilet paper?!
To me that was a ridiculous sight to see and it made no sense!
I knew how much beef the U.S. was producing. I knew the supply chain had more beef in the pipeline.
It just had to get on the trucks faster and make that 4 day trip out from Dodge City, Kansas to California for example.
I also knew how foodservice companies, like the one I had been working for at that time, had hundreds of thousands of pounds of beef (even more collectively) millions of dollars worth of inventory, sitting in their warehouses with NO customers.
So many restaurants, schools, hotels, theme parks, airlines and other hospitality types of businesses had been quickly shut down or severely compromised in their operations due to the big bad “C”.
Loads and loads of beef went to freezers in cold storage.
Up to that point these meat companies had exclusively sold only in the business to business channel. Direct to consumer was not their business model. Given the circumstances, they had no choice but to pivot and figure it out... A.S.A.P.
To the average person who didn’t work in the meat business, for a moment in time, it looked like there was a beef shortage.
But that couldn’t have been further from the truth.
The U.S. beef industry is enormous and produces a staggering amount of beef each day.
Do you want to know how much beef the U.S. produces? I thought you’d never ask! 😀 Grab some jerky and let's dive in!
Prepare yourself. When you realize HOW MUCH beef there is available, it’s kind of hard to wrap your head around. It’s also pretty amazing to know what our U.S. beef producers and packers are capable of!
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and their Economic Research Service, in 2019 (the most recent year the data is available) 27.3 Billion pounds of beef was used in the domestic market. https://www.ers.usda.gov/topics/animal-products/cattle-beef/statistics-information/
- A full truck load of beef is approximately 40,000 lbs.
- That equates to roughly 682,500 truck loads of beef shipped in 2019.
- Beef packing plants run 52 weeks/year so that is on average 13,125 truck loads getting shipped every week.
- That is 1,875 truck loads shipping every single day and at 40,000 lbs/truck that is on average, 75,000,000 lbs of beef shipping every single day, 7 days a week!
We are so blessed to live in a country that has a strong agricultural industry to keep us all fed 24/7.
That said, I'd like to acknowledge the fact that, like any other industry it's not perfect. For example, many ranchers were struggling to make a profit last year because the price of live cattle had dropped significantly due to an imbalance of cattle supplies relative to processing capacity at the packing plants. Truth is, that’s not a new problem for ranchers and there's way more to discuss on that topic than what we have time for right now.
The point I’m trying to make is that we have an incredible beef industry here in the United States. It’s huge, it’s prolific and it feeds people around the world.
It's worth understanding and appreciating because the more we understand about our American agriculture, the more we can support those who produce our food. And quite honestly, they need the support of their fellow Americans. From buying their products to advocacy, to supporting sensible policy making at the federal and state level, they need our support.
And when I say "they" I mean American farm families. According to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, there are 882,692 cattle & calf operations being run throughout our 50 states and 96% of those are family owned and operated.
If you’re curious to learn more about these ranching families drop a note in the comments below and let me know what questions you have! 😀
A BIG THANKS is due to all of these families as well as everyone else in the beef industry because they ensure that beef briskets are available year round to make some of the best gourmet beef jerky you’ve ever eaten.
It’s so good I guarantee it. 👍 Go to GREATUSBEEF.COM to pick out your favorite jerky today.
Make it a great day! Preferably, a Great US Beef kinda day.
Kate - Great US Beef Jerky