It’s that time of the year here in Texas. It’s time for families to dust off the grill and get ready to barbecue. Since May kicks off barbecue season, it’s only fitting that this month is designated as National Beef Month. During National Beef Month, folks across the country will take time to recognize and celebrate U.S. ranchers and the great contributions they make to our country, especially our food supply.
In today’s economy, U.S. families are fortunate to spend only 5.7% of their disposable income on food. That is less than any other country in the world. This fact isn’t coincidence. It’s largely because of efficient and innovative technology coupled with the free-market system we have in the U.S.
Unfortunately, many folks underestimate the Texas beef industry. They don’t realize that each rancher feeds approximately 144 people, a dramatic increase from 25 people in the 1960s. We are able to do that because of the more than 800,000 ranching families across the country that work hard each and every day to safely, humanely and efficiently raise cattle. However, this number is shrinking.
According to the USDA, between 1960 and 2007, the number of U.S. family agriculture operations declined by more than 1.7 million. In 1960 there were 3.9 million family agriculture operations feeding a U.S. population of 183 million. In 2007, there were 2.2 million farms feeding an estimated population of 301 million.
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