Nebraska – the Beef State

Nebraska – the Beef State

Grilling steaks
Nebraska beef is known internationally for its flavor, tenderness, and quality. Photo credit Troy Walz.

Each May we celebrate National Beef Month. One of the great things to enjoy in the Beef State is the moment in which producers and consumers come together over a juicy steak. As delicious and nutritious beef recipes are shared in local newspapers and across social media, it is a great reminder that the beef industry has a large impact on Nebraskans far and wide.

So, why is Nebraska called the beef state? It’s simple; agriculture is the number one industry where cattle production represents the largest segment. Beef production is the engine that powers the state’s economy. Nebraska is unique in that there is every segment of the beef industry represented starting with cow-calf to stockers and backgrounders to feedlots and lastly processing facilities. There are even dairies, which are often overlooked, but do play a role in the commercial beef supply. Currently, there are 6.8 million head of cattle in the state which ranks Nebraska second in the nation.

There are many agriculture commodities grown in the state, as well as an abundance of natural resources. This includes nearly 23 million acres of rangeland and pastureland in Nebraska – half of which are in the Sandhills. More than one billion bushels of corn is produced annually. Having access to that many acres and growing that much feed allows for a lot of cattle to be fed in the state. In fact, for every Nebraskan there are four head of cattle!

Raising beef is a complex process, but throughout the entire journey, the beef community shares a commitment to raising cattle in a safe, humane and environmentally sustainable way.

The Nebraska economy depends on agriculture, it’s what drives it. The beef industry generates $10.6 billion in annual cash receipts. In 2020, Nebraska’s agricultural exports totaled $7.1 billion, which translates into $7.4 billion in additional economic activity. Agriculture also helps the economy by providing jobs; one in four Nebraska residents are employed by agriculture related businesses.

Nebraska beef is known internationally for its flavor, tenderness, and quality. Farmers and ranchers take great pride in producing a product that is known and demanded worldwide. While cattlemen and cattlewomen understand the responsibility they have of caring for livestock, they recognize that they are ultimately beef producers who continue to enhance the sustainability and safety of our local, regional, and global food systems that provide a healthy, nutrient dense staple for our tables

To learn more about Beef production in Nebraska or the nutritional benefits of beef, visit

Source: Nebraska Beef Council

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