Ranchers sound the alarm as cattle production plummets to lowest point in decades: ‘Bad situation’

The number of cattle in America has plummeted to its lowest point in decades, sparking concerns among ranchers about the fate of the U.S. beef industry.

“This is a bad situation for America’s cattle farmers and America because we’re producing 1 billion pounds less beef than we were in this country, just a year ago,” John Boyd, Jr., president of the National Black Farmers Association, said Thursday on “Fox & Friends First.”

“We’re not investing in America’s beef and cattle farmers, and Biden policies are hurting America’s cattlemen, such as myself. They should be invested in America’s cattle farmers and making sure that we have the tools needed to stay on the farm.”

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), nationwide beef cattle inventory dropped to 28.2 million this year — the lowest level since the 1970s and down 2% from a year ago. Total U.S. cattle and calf inventory dropped to its lowest level since 1951.

Agricultural economists say persistent drought over the last three years, along with high input costs and inflation are putting pressure on both consumers and farmers.

“Last night I was at the cattle market, in my local township around here in Blackstone, Virginia. A very good market, and I saw that some of the stalls were empty and, and during this time period, we see, the cattle markets just full of livestock. Now we see some empty stalls in there, and it’s because we’re not producing the beef that we used to,” Boyd said.

Various cuts of beef and pork in plastic wrap on a shelf at a discount market in Arlington, VA.
According to Fox, American cattle farmers are producing 1 billion pounds of beef less than they were a year ago. AP

“I’ve been farming 41 years and producing good, healthy beef for America, and I’m telling you, this is a time when we should be investing in America’s cattle, and we’re not doing it.”

Economists say demand for beef has remained strong since the COVID-19 pandemic. During lockdowns, people started grilling more.

Beef sold for an average $5 per pound last year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Experts predict that prices will climb over the next few years.

“Americans are going to pay the price at their local grocery stores,” Boyd said.

“We already are seeing such a steep, hike and beef in this country. And it’s because we’re not supporting these cattlemen such as myself… the Biden administration, isn’t paying attention [to] this national crisis. This is a national crisis for America’s cattlemen, and this administration has turned a blind and a deaf ear to something that needs immediate attention.”

FOX Business’ Kennedy Hayes contributed to this report.