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Beef bring nearly $5 billion to Minnesota's economy

ST. PAUL, Minn. (8/31/2017)—Livestock barn visitors have a new reason to appreciate the beef cattle on display at the Minnesota State Fair: The animals represent an industry that contributes nearly $5 billion to the state’s economy.
That was among the key findings of an economic analysis conducted by University of Minnesota Extension. The study also found that the beef industry directly employs an estimated 30,000 part- and full-time workers, in addition to its support of 16,900 jobs in non-direct industries.
beef cattle

“The overall economic impact of beef has not been calculated before. What we found is that with beef raised at just over 16,000 operations, the industry contributions are significant,” said Extension senior economics analyst Brigid Tuck. She studied data from 2015, including information from the U.S. Department of Agriculture as well as a survey of 400 beef farmers in Minnesota. Among the findings:

  • Beef account for 24 percent of the state’s livestock cash receipts. Receipts by other animal were hogs, 33 percent; dairy, 21 percent; poultry and eggs, 17 percent; and others, 2 percent. 
  • Beef cow-calf operators reported spending an average of $62,600 on operations. Feed-related expenses account for 72 percent of their costs. 
  • Ninety-four percent of their expenditures were made in Minnesota. 
The Minnesota Beef Council contracted Extension to analyze the industry’s impact. Council executive director Karin Schaefer said the analysis should help consumers grasp the breadth of agriculture’s impact on the state.

“An in-depth analysis like this sheds light on what an industry means in the places they’re located. For the beef industry, knowing that most of the money associated with raising beef stays local underscores how important we are to communities,” she said.

The 29-page analysis is available online at .


Media Contact: Tom Rothman, Director, Ag Stakeholder Outreach, University of Minnesota Extension, 612-625-4743(office), 612-845-4513,; Karin Schaefer, executive director, Minnesota Beef Council, 763-479-1011 (office),651-353-2459 (cell),

For more news from U of M Extension, visit or contact Extension Communications at University of Minnesota Extension is an equal opportunity educator and employer.

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