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Record red meat, beef production in 2021

The U.S. produced a record amount of red meat in 2021.

The USDA says the total of 55.905 billion pounds was up slightly from 2020 and included an all-time high for beef production at 28.015 billion pounds, a 3% year-to-year increase.

The annual commercial cattle slaughter was also 3% above the previous year at 33.947 million head, cancelling out a two pound decline in the average live weight to 1,371 pounds.

48.7% of the cattle slaughtered were steers, with heifers accounting for 29.6% and dairy cows making up 9.4%.

Pork production fell 2% to 27.69 billion pounds, with the slaughter 2% lower at 129.062 million head and the average live weight losing one pound to 288 pounds.

Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, and Texas processed half of all commercial red meat production last year, up 1%.

There were 905 plants processing under federal inspection at the start of 2022, compared to 858 on January 1st, 2021.

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