Farm Progress

Farmers pivot, satisfy #EatBeef demand

Here is a look at producers and technology changing the landscape of beef production.

Mindy Ward, Editor, Missouri Ruralist

May 16, 2024

8 Slides

Consumers' appetite for hamburgers and steaks is insatiable, but one group overcomes outside challenges to put beef on the table.

America’s beef farmers and ranchers continue to battle against climate, farm transition and federal regulations to stay in business.

The latest USDA Census of Agriculture shows a 6% drop in the total number of cattle and calves form 2017-22, to just under 88 million head. There was a 4.7% decline last year, and the USDA projects a further decline of 2.9% this year.

Drought caused many beef producers to sell off portions of their cow herds. Without momma cows, there are no calves. No calves, no beef. But U.S. consumers love their hamburgers.

About half of domestic consumption is accounted for by ground beef, University of Missouri Extension economist Scott Brown says. To keep consumers buying beef requires a rebuilding process that will take time and change.

Click through the slideshow for stories of farmers and university researchers who’ve adapted and remained resilient in their efforts to stay in the cattle business.

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About the Author(s)

Mindy Ward

Editor, Missouri Ruralist

Mindy resides on a small farm just outside of Holstein, Mo, about 80 miles southwest of St. Louis.

After graduating from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural journalism, she worked briefly at a public relations firm in Kansas City. Her husband’s career led the couple north to Minnesota.

There, she reported on large-scale production of corn, soybeans, sugar beets, and dairy, as well as, biofuels for The Land. After 10 years, the couple returned to Missouri and she began covering agriculture in the Show-Me State.

“In all my 15 years of writing about agriculture, I have found some of the most progressive thinkers are farmers,” she says. “They are constantly searching for ways to do more with less, improve their land and leave their legacy to the next generation.”

Mindy and her husband, Stacy, together with their daughters, Elisa and Cassidy, operate Showtime Farms in southern Warren County. The family spends a great deal of time caring for and showing Dorset, Oxford and crossbred sheep.

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