The United States Meat Industry at a Glance
Feeding 312 Million Americans
meat and poultry industry is the largest
segment of U.S. agriculture. Total meat and
poultry production in 2011 reached more than
92.3 billion pounds, up 200 million pounds from
In 2011, the meat
and poultry industry
8.7 billion chickens
34.1 million cattle
246 million turkeys
2.2 million sheep and lambs
110.9 million hogs
In 2011, American meat
26.3 billion pounds of beef
22.8 billion pounds of pork
5.8 billion pounds of turkey
291 million pounds of veal, lamb and mutton
37.7 billion pounds of chicken
Top Livestock and
Cattle - Nebraska, Texas, Kansas
Hog - Iowa, North Carolina, Illinois
Chicken - Georgia, Arkansas, Alabama
Turkey - Minnesota, North Carolina, Arkansas
There are 6,278 federally
inspected meat and poultry slaughtering and
processing plants in
- The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, recommend eating 5.7 ounces of meat per day as part of a healthy, balanced diet.
- There are at least:
- 29 cuts of beef
- 6 cuts of pork
- And numerous poultry cuts that are leaner and have less calories than a 3 oz. serving of salmon
- A 3-oz. serving of lean meat provides about
160-200 calories plus significant amounts of
many key nutrients such as protein. These
proteins contain all 9 essential amino acids
needed for growth and good overall health,
making meat a “complete” protein.
- Meat is also a great source for iron,
magnesium, zinc, niacin, selenium, riboflavin
and B-vitamins that help your body turn food
- New studies show meat can aid in weight loss by providing a sense of satisfaction that helps to control appetite and metabolize food more efficiently.
- In 2010, more than 487,600 workers were employed in the meat and poultry packing and processing industries. Their combined salaries total more than $19 billion.
- Through its production and distribution linkages, the meat and poultry industry impacts firms in all 509 sectors of the U.S. economy, in every state and every congressional district in the country.
- In all, companies involved in meat production, along with their suppliers, distributors, retailers and ancillary industries employ 6.2 million people in the U.S. with jobs that total $200 billion in wages.
- Through direct taxes paid, these companies and their employees provide $81.2 billion in revenues to federal, state and local governments. The consumption of meat and poultry generates $2.4 billion in state sales taxes.
- The meat and poultry industry’s economic ripple effect generates $864.2 billion annually to the U.S. economy, or roughly 6% of the entire GDP.
- In 2009, meat and poultry industry sales
totaled $154.8 billion.
Earnings of Employees in Iowa
(largest pork-producing state) Employees in meat processing
plants on average earn more than $32,700 per
year plus benefits, and employees in meat
packing plants earn $26,400 per year plus
benefits, for jobs in rural areas with a low
cost of living.
Employees in meat processing plants on average earn more than $32,700 per year plus benefits, and employees in meat packing plants earn $26,400 per year plus benefits, for jobs in rural areas with a low cost of living.
- The U.S. exported 921.4 million metric tons (MT*) of beef and beef variety meat in 2011, up 21% from 2010. Export value of beef and beef variety meat exports reached a record $6.1 billion in 2011, up 31% from 2010.
- On a volume and value basis, the top three markets for U.S. beef in 2011 were Mexico, Canada and Japan. Records were also set in Taiwan, South Korea and Vietnam
- The U.S. exported 1.75 billion MT of pork and pork variety meat in 2011, up 6% from 2010. Annual total pork shipments were valued at $5.32 billion, up 30% from 2010
- The top markets for U.S. pork in terms of volume were Japan, Mexico and China/Hong Kong, but in terms of value were Japan, Mexico and Canada.
- The U.S. exported 3.4 billion MT of poultry and poultry variety meats in 2011, down 8% from 2010. The value was estimated at $3.97 billion.
- Exports in 2011 accounted for 22.8 percent of U.S. pork production, 19.8 percent of poultry production and 10.6 percent of beef production.
- *1 MT = 2204.6
Meat Consumption in the
American men on average eat 6.9 oz. of meat per day and women eat 4.4 oz.
Americans spend less than any other developed nation in the world on food broadly and on meat and poultry specifically.
See chart for percent of disposable income spent on food at home.
Percent of Diposable Income Spent on Food at Home