Choices of Beef

Navigating the meat case can be a little confusing these days, but the good news is that all beef is safe, nutritious, and wholesome! Beef farmers and ranchers are proud to offer a variety of choices to meet changing lifestyles and different nutritional needs. They have adapted their practices to provide consumers with the grain-fed, grass-finished, certified organic or natural beef they desire. Each of these kinds of beef offers specific value to consumers who have different tastes and preferences. 

The Beef Lifecycle Infographic

View and Download the infographic PDF above to learn more about the beef lifecycle.

Pasture to Plate

Cattle farmers and ranchers are not only producing beef for consumers across the state, they are feeding their own families. Every step of the way - from the ranch, to the feedyard, to the packing plant, to the grocery story, and finally, to the dinner table - there are dedicated men and women working to ensure a safe and wholesome beef product. U.S beef is the highest quality and safest beef in the world. 

Today's beef production system allows U.S. beef farmers and ranchers to provide a year-round supply of safe, wholesome and nutritious beef at an affordable price. Modern beef production technologies represent beef producers' continued commitment to responsibly producing food at a price consumers can afford.

More than 800,000 beef ranchers across the country work hard each and every day to safely, humanely and efficiently raise cattle that become wholesome and nutritious beef.

Beef farmers and ranchers constantly evaluate their production practices to make sure they are bringing safe and wholesome beef to the dinner table. Beef production technologies such as antibiotic usage are based on sound science and are subject to strict government review. If approved, these products are regularly evaluated and only remain in the marketplace if they are continually proven safe. This safety promise is guaranteed by beef producer vigilance on farm, public health veterinarian inspections and safe food handling at restaurants, grocery stores and even our own kitchens.


When it comes to beef and your health, you can rest easy knowing that along with being delicious, beef contains important nutrients that your body needs. In just one 3 oz. cooked serving, you’re getting 10 essential nutrients, including about half your Daily Value for protein!

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Beef Industry Facts

  • Agriculture is a major contributor to South Dakota's economy, generating $25.6 billion in annual economic activity.
  • South Dakota ranks seventh in the nation for number of beef cattle with 3.9 million head of cattle.
  • South Dakota is home to nearly 14,000 beef producers.
  • In 2012 the beef industry had a direct, indirect and induced impact of $4.484 billion on the state's economy.
  • South Dakota has 3,900,000 head of cattle - nearly 4.4 beef animals for every state resident.
  • "Beef cattle production represents the largest segment of American Agriculture."
  • Production of meat animals responsible for $67.56 billion to economy
  • 913,246 Cattle Operations in the US
  • All Cattle and Calves: 94.4 million head
  • All Cattle on Feed: 14 million - 7% increase from 2017 (13.1 million) 
  • Cows: Beef Cows 31.7 million - 2% increase from 2017 
  • Cows: Dairy: 9.4 million - 1% increase from 2017 
  • 55.5 pounds per capita consumption of beef
  • 97% of farms are family operations
Learn more at Raising Beef