May is Beef Month in Kansas, a time to reflect on the importance of cattle and agriculture to the state.
Agriculture is the nation's largest industry, with assets totaling more than $900 billion. The nation's food and fiber system accounts for more then 17.5% of the Gross National Product. The cattle industry is the largest segment of American agriculture. Sales of cattle include beef cattle and dairy animals culled from herds or not used in milk production, says the Kansas Beef Council.
Kansas ranks first in the number of commercial cattle processed with 8.03 million head, second in the value of live animals and meat exported to other countries at $714 million, second in the nation in the value of hides exported to other countries at $228.7 million and second in fed cattle marketing, with 5.21 million head representing 22.1% of all cattle fed in the United States, KBC says.
There are approximately 1 million U.S. farms and ranches with beef cattle. These units range from part-time cattle operators with only a few head to large commercial units with hundreds or thousands of animals. Agriculture and the cattle industry are important to other segments of the American economy, as well. For every job on the farm, there are six jobs in related supply and processing businesses. Every dollar of cattle sales directly generates an additional $5 to $6 of business activity in farm supply, food and other businesses. Twenty-two million persons work in some phase of the agriculture and food business.
Gov. Bill Graves, in proclaiming May as Kansas Beef Month, said, "Kansas cattlemen, through the breeding and feeding of beef cattle, have played a vital role in providing the safest and most wholesome supply of beef to consumers around the world."
Ron Estes, Atchison cattleman and Kansas Beef Council chairman, recommends, "All Kansans should celebrate Beef Month by enjoying a great tasting steak."