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2015 had total sales of $211.5 billion. This included:
meat packing $99.250 billion; meat processing $48.326
billion; and poultry slaughter and processing $63.980
billion. Beef production is the largest segment with $80
billion in annual sales and a growing array of products
consumed by the world. The meat and poultry industry
employs nearly 900,000 workers.

Importance of Exports
The U.S. meat and poultry industry contributed $16.22
billion to the estimated $135 billion in agricultural exports
in 2016. The future strength and growth of the U.S. meat
and poultry industry depends upon the expansion of trade
into foreign markets, particularly as domestic per capita
consumption of meat and poultry remains fairly stable.
Exports of beef cuts and variety meats totaled $6.343
billion in value in 2016, accounting for 13.7% of total beef
production and 10.5% of total beef muscle cuts. Exports of
pork cuts and variety meats totaled $5.941 billion in value,
accounting for 25.8% of total pork production and 21.5% of
total pork muscle cuts.
Chicken exports in 2016 totaled just over 2.9 billion
metric tons (6.644 billion pounds) and represented
16.5% of total U.S. production. Their value was $2.652
billion. In addition, the U.S. hide, skin and leather
industry exported more than $2.04 billion in cattle hides,
pig skins, and semi-processed leather products in 2016.

The structures of the beef, pork and poultry sectors,
notably at the production level, are vastly different. The

beef sector is scarcely integrated between producer,
processor and further processor, whereas the other two
sectors are more integrated, especially the poultry sector.

Cattle/Beef Sector:
Beef has the most unique and complex lifecycle of
any food, as it takes two to three years to bring beef
from farm to fork. The industry at the production
level includes a variety of segments, including
seedstock operators, cow-calf operators with beef cow
herds, dairy producers, stocker operators and feedlot
operators. Latest data suggests there are 913,246
total cattle and calf operations. Of these, 727,906 are
beef farms and ranches with another 26,586 feedlot
operations and 64,098 milk cow operations. Farm
cash receipts for cattle and calves in 2016 totaled
$67.56 billion.
Little integration exists between the production and
processing sectors of the beef industry. Most major
processors, however, have informal but long-standing
agreements with feedlot groups and individuals
who market cattle to them. Tyson is the only major
beef processor with extensive further processing
capabilities and brands, largely through its Prepared
Foods business segment.
USDA data reveals that there were 650 federally
inspected cattle slaughter plants in the U.S. in 2016 that
slaughtered a total of 30.114 million cattle.

Hogs/Pork Sector:
The production side of the pork industry includes
seedstock producers, those that produce piglets from



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