America’s Cattle Inventory Drops to Lowest Level in 59 Years

Think you’ve got problems? They’re probably nothing like those facing the beef industry. Despite a near-doubling of America’s population since 1952 (from 157 to 309 million people), cattle production has receded to levels last seen nearly 60 years ago.

The USDA just released America’s cattle inventory as of January first of this year. The 90.8 million animals that were counted is the lowest number since 1952, when the number stood at 88.1 million. You’ve got to wonder about the long-term prospects of an industry whose volumes remain flat despite a doubling of the population.

But while this is good news for cows, it’s horrendous news for chickens. As more Americans have reduced or eliminated beef from their diets, they’ve switched to eating ever-increasing amounts of chicken. The number of meat chickens raised in America has shot up from 1.65 billion in 1960 to more than 8 billion last year. (Thanks, Brenda.) Link.