Assessing the Impact of LFTB in the Beef Cattle Industry

Ground beef consumption in the United States accounts for over half of total beef consumption and is included in a variety of products from tacos to chili to hamburgers (Greene 2012; National Cattlemen’s Beef Association 2009, 2012; Peel, 2012). The importance of ground beef to U.S. consumers is reflected in the number of restaurants that include hamburgers on their menus as well as the different types of hamburgers offered. Despite the slow economic recovery that has been occurring over the past few years, quick-service restaurants focusing on serving quality hamburgers have been expanding across the country. This is in addition to better known chains such as McDonald’s and Wendy’s periodically updating their hamburger offerings to boost sales which reflects the latest trends present among consumers. Although ground beef consumption accounts for over half of total beef consumption, it accounts for approximately a quarter of the beef produced from each steer or heifer carcass (Nold, 2012) and a much larger percentage of harvested cows. Additional ground beef is produced by grinding primal chuck and round cuts, but these are more expensive. Compared to the 1970s, domestic beef demand dropped as consumer demand shifted toward leaner protein sources, namely chicken. Although the number of cattle in the U.S. has declined since the 1970s, increased efficiency has contributed to an increase in total U.S. beef production. The primary source of lean ground beef is not from feedlot finished cattle, but from mature cows and bulls slaughtered and from imported lean beef trimmings. Supplies of mature cows and bulls are limited compared to feedlot finished cattle, as an average of 6.3 million cows and bulls have been slaughtered under federal inspection annually since 2000 compared to 27.4 million steers and heifers.

Issue Date:
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Record Identifier:
PURL Identifier:
Published in:
Choices, Volume 27, Issue 4
Total Pages:
JEL Codes:
Q11; Q13; and Q18

 Record created 2017-04-01, last modified 2018-01-22

Download fulltext

Rate this document:

Rate this document:
(Not yet reviewed)