97 percent of beef farms and ranches are family-owned. But it takes a community of people — from cow-calf farmers and ranchers to the cattleman, nutritionists, and veterinarians at larger feedyards — working together to bring beef to your plate.
Cattle spend most of their lives grazing pasture, essentially converting forage and grass into protein. Approximately 85 percent of U.S. grazing lands are unsuitable for growing crops. Grazing cattle on this land more than doubles the area that can be used to grow crops.
It’s only the last few months that cattle are in a feedyard, where they have roomy outdoor pens designed with their comfort in mind. Each animal has access to clean water, a balanced diet, and receives daily individual attention and veterinary care. Moving cattle to a feedyard to finish growing actually is the most sustainable way to raise beef.
Raising beef today requires less water, land, and energy, and has a smaller environmental footprint, thanks to continuous improvements by farmers and ranchers. Compared to 1960, there are half as many farmers and ranchers today feeding a U.S. population that has more than doubled.
Farmers and ranchers are honored to be stewards of their animals and believe safe beef comes from healthy cattle and work daily to keep their animals healthy and safe. Sustainability is not a new concept for farmers and ranchers, who are dedicated to leaving their land, business, and communities in better shape for the next generation.