Colorado Beef Statistics

*Data taken from Colorado Department of Agriculture and the National Agricultural Statistics Service


Colorado Cattle Industry

For more than 150 years, Colorado’s cattle ranching and feeding families have been committed to a tradition of providing consumers a safe and wholesome food supply while caring for Colorado’s land, water and wildlife resources.



Colorado's Cattle Industry

  Colorado’s cattle industry covers the full range of the U.S. cattle industry. Colorado begins with world class beef cattle genetics. These genetics create the base for Colorado’s “cow-calf” operators who produce over 750,000 feed calves per year.
After weaning, the cattle from Colorado as well as other states are pastured in Colorado’s fields, and meadows to gain most of their weight before entering our feedlots. Colorado’s feedlots feed over 2.3 million cattle per year, which are then processed by Colorado’s processing plants.
From the processing plants, Colorado beef is sold to the retail and restaurant trade in the U.S. and around the world. 

Colorado Beef Industry Facts

  • Cash receipts for Colorado livestock and products total more than $3.7 billion, of which more than 75 percent of cash receipts come from cattle and calves.
  • Of Colorado’s $3.7 billion livestock industry, 75 percent comes from cattle and calves.
  • Traditionally, Colorado has around 2.65 million head of cattle each year, valued at over $2.8 billion.
  • Colorado feeds almost 2 million head of cattle including cattle from other states.
  • Colorado ranked 10th in the United States in total cattle in the year 2011.
  • The current concept of feedlots and packing houses used in the United States began in Greeley, Colorado.
  • Today Colorado is home to 11,600 farms with cattle and calves, 206 feedlots, and 24 USDA certified slaughter plants.
  • Colorado is the fourth largest exporter of fresh and frozen beef in the United States.


Colorado Cow Herd Size

The National Agricultural Statistics Service reported the Colorado cattle herd at 2,480,000 head in 2014.


Colorado  Agricultural Statistics

The Centennial State, admitted to the union in 1867, is the eighth largest state in area and has the highest average elevation. The highest point is a Mount Elbert, 14,433 feet above sea level, one of the 53 "fourteeners" rising above 14,000 feet. The lowest elevation is 3,350 feet in extreme eastern Prowers County.


Approximate land area:  66.3 million acres*

Approximate cropland area:  10.6 million acres*

Approximate irrigated area:  2.6 million acres*

Number of farms and ranches: 35,600 (2013)

Average size of farm and ranch: 890 acres (2013)


Farms by Type*                               

Farms by Tenure*                     

            Farms by Class*                    
 81.2% Individual    72% Full Ownership    56.1% Livestock
 8.9% Partnership    22% Part Owners    43.9% Crops
 7.0% Corporate    6% Tenants    
 2.9% Other        

  Total Farm Marketing Receipts: $7.6 Billion*

Livestock and Livestock Products:  $4.7 Billion (62% of total)*

Crops (including fruit and vegetable: $2.9 Billion (38% of total)*

*number taken from 2012 Census of Agriculture


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