Top 5 States with the Most Cattle


The cattle and beef industries are major commodities in the U.S.'s ag portfolio. According to the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, in 2019, there were around 94.8 million head of cattle in the United States; this number is 500,000 more than the previous year. For 2018-2019, it is estimated that the cattle industry was worth between $66-70 billion dollars. Here are the top five states with the most cattle.

5) California: The “Golden State” is home to almost 40 million people and is the third largest state. Around 5.2 million head of cattle call this West Coast state home. The state had 1.7 million dairy cows that have calved and 1.86 million calf crop. In 2018, the state’s cattle and calf sector was worth around $3.1 billion.

4) Oklahoma: Oklahoma, aka the “Sooner State,” is known for major industries like energy, transportation, and aviation. However, it is also a key cattle state. The state just passes California with 5.3 million cattle. In that number, 2.15 million are beef cows. In 2018, the state’s cattle and calf sector was worth around $3.3 billion.

3) Kansas: This breadbasket state comes in third. The “Sunflower State” is home to over 6.3 million cattle, beating Oklahoma by a wide margin. It is also worth noting that, according to a recent census, the states population is just over 2.7 million. In 2018, the state’s cattle and calf sector was worth around $8.3 billion.

2) Nebraska: Nebraska has the second most cattle in the country. The “Cornhusker State” has around 1.9 million people living it it, but that pales in comparison to its more than 6.8 million head of cattle. Nebraska leads the nation in feeder cattle with 2.75 million. In 2018, the state’s cattle and calf sector was worth around $10.6 billion.

1) Texas: It is only natural that the second biggest state, in size and population, would have the most cattle. While the “Lone Star State” is only home to around 30 million people, its cattle industry has roughly 13 million heads. Texas also had the largest calf crop with 4.75 million, it is the largest beef cow state with 4.66 million but only 545 thousand dairy cows, making it fifth in the nation. In 2018, the state’s cattle and calf sector was worth around $8.6 billion.

Also check out the Top Beef Producing States.

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