Animal Production

Industry Profile Report

Dive Deep into the industry with a 25+ page industry report (pdf format) including the following chapters

Industry Overview Current Conditions, Industry Structure, How Firms Operate, Industry Trends, Credit Underwriting & Risks, and Industry Forecast.

Call Preparation Call Prep Questions, Industry Terms, and Weblinks.

Financial Insights Working Capital, Capital Financing, Business Valuation, and Financial Benchmarks.

Industry Profile Excerpts

Industry Overview

The 1,000,000 animal production operations in the US include farms that raise livestock (such as beef cattle, poultry, sheep, and hogs); farms that employ animals to produce products (such as dairies, egg farms, and apiaries); and animal specialty farms (such as aquaculture (fish farms)).

Environmental Impacts Drive Regulation

Livestock production introduces a number of risks to the environment that, if not properly managed, can impact human health.

Diets & Red Meat Consumption

Red meat’s portion of the American diet has fluctuated over time.

Industry size & Structure

The over 1 million livestock operations in the US include 711,800 cattle operations, 64,800 hog and pig farms, and 164,000 poultry and egg farms.

    • Livestock farms produce about $177 billion in average annual value on over 478 million acres. The average livestock operation generates about $164,000 in annual revenue.
    • The US Census Bureau defines a farm as an operation that produces or should have reasonably produced over $1,000 in revenue during a given year, including government payments.
    • About 90% of livestock farms are owned by farm families in which the family owns and/or operates the farm and has done so for generations.
    • More than 225,900 people are hired employees in the livestock industry, but 77% of total livestock labor is family members.
    • Farm operations that generate more than $1 million in revenue account for 79% of livestock production value.
                                Industry Forecast
                                Animal Production Industry Growth
                                Source: Vertical IQ and Inforum

                                Recent Developments

                                Apr 23, 2024 - Steeply Rising Prices
                                • The Producer Price Index (PPI) for livestock, which measures prices before reaching consumers, surged more than 21% in March compared to a year ago after rising 7.3% in the previous annual comparison, according to the latest US Bureau of Labor Statistics data. Commodity prices for livestock have been rising steeply since about mid-2020 as ranchers have been selling off cattle amid severe drought conditions and the rising cost of supplies needed to support their herds. By comparison, producer prices for poultry declined 6.7% in March year over year and were down 7.7% in the previous annual comparison, according to the BLS.
                                • Poultry producers are using lasers, drones, and other unconventional tactics to ward off wild birds that may be carrying the avian flu virus, The New York Times reports. As migratory birds head north for the spring, poultry farmers across the US are bracing for yet another outbreak of avian flu. As of April 17, nearly 8.7 million birds across a dozen commercial and backyard flocks had been tested and confirmed to have HPAI, per the USDA. That’s a tiny fraction of the nearly 10 billion chickens, turkeys, ducks, and other birds sold across the country each year. The hardest hit appears to be large-scale industrial farms and those raising egg-producing chickens, according to NYT. According to the USDA, bird flu has also been detected in 32 dairy cow herds in eight states. It’s the first time HPAI has been identified in cows.
                                • In early March, legislators in Florida approved a wide-ranging bill that would ban the sale of lab-grown (aka cultivated meat). The bill, which awaits the governor's consideration, would make selling or manufacturing lab-grown meat a second-degree misdemeanor. It’s one of a half-dozen similar measures introduced in Arizona, Tennessee, West Virginia, and elsewhere so far this year. Lab-grown meat is grown from cells taken from an animal and does not require slaughtering. While the USDA approved cultivated meat production for the first time in the US in 2023, it’s expected to be many years before it appears on dinner tables. While beef and poultry associations oppose lab-grown meat because of its potential to eat into sales, some meat companies have partnered with cultivated-meat startups to help meet global demand for protein, The New York Times reports.
                                • Plant-based meat alternatives are facing a steep decline in sales, Pork Business reports. Sales of meat alternatives have fallen steadily since 2021 and more sharply over the last year. Volume sales dropped 20.9% for the 52 weeks ending July 2, 2023, according to consumer behavior research firm Circana. High prices for plant-based meat products are a major factor in the decline. "The price of plant-based meats is often several dollars a pound higher than for equivalent meat and poultry products,” according to a new report from CoBank's Knowledge Exchange. “Beyond cost, lingering negative perceptions surrounding taste, value, and versatility are also obstacles the category has yet to overcome." Plant-based meat sales peaked in 2020. However, according to consumer research firm Mintel, fewer than half of Americans who tried the products at the time repeated their purchase.
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