Beef’s Impact on Illinois

Beef accounts for $816 million or 24% of the total impact of animal agriculture in Illinois. The Illinois livestock industry generated $3.4 billion in total economic activity and 45,509 jobs in 2001. 

In 2005 Illinois fed:

  • 460,000 beef cows
  • 61,000 beef replacement calves

Fed Numbers:

  • 1986 – 815,000 head
  • 1994 – 460,000 head
  • 2005 – 205,000 head


The state’s inventory of beef cows fell from 622,000 head in 1982 to 460,000 head in 2005.  While the Illinois inventory fell by almost 26%, the national inventory fell by only 18%.

Farming is the primary occupation on only 50% of beef cattle ranching and farming operations. Two out of three of these operators report some off-farm work and 50% work more than 200 days a year off the farm.




According to the Ag Census:

  • 14,766 Illinois farms have beef cattle
  • 6,178  are “beef cattle ranching and farming” operations
  • 2,217 are “cattle feedlots”

262 million people will eat beef in their homes in the next two weeks. 

The U.S. beef industry is made up of more than one million businesses, farms and ranches conducting business in all 50 states.

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