Kansas Celebrates Beef Month: A Tribute to the State’s Economic Powerhouse and Nutritious Delight

By Trish Svoboda

In late April 2024, Governor Laura Kelly officially declared May 2024 as Kansas Beef Month. This proclamation recognizes the importance of beef in Kansas, not only as a key driver of the state’s economy and ecology but also as a tasty and nutritious protein source that brings people together.

The Kansas Department of Agriculture’s economic model reveals that the beef industry contributes over $11 billion directly to the state’s economy. It provides employment to nearly 20,000 Kansans in the ranching and cattle feeding sectors, and another 46,000 in the meatpacking and prepared meat manufacturing industries. Kansas is a national leader in the beef industry, ranking third with 6.2 million cattle and calves in ranches and feed yards. The state also ranks third in total red meat production, with beef accounting for more than 6 billion pounds.

Beef plays a significant role in both our local and state economies. Besides its economic contributions, beef also supports many jobs in rural areas, helps preserve Kansas’ iconic landscape, and adds delicious and nutritious options to our diets.

Jake Pannbacker, the Chairman of the Kansas Beef Council and a rancher from Washington, Kansas, explained, “Ranching not only maintains our beautiful landscapes but also ensures these lands contribute to a sustainable food system. Cattle on Kansas pastures transform human-inedible native grasses into protein-rich beef that everyone enjoys. At the feedyard, cattle consume byproducts from beer brewing or ethanol production, turning what would normally be waste into one of America’s favorite proteins—beef.”

Beef Month serves as a reminder of the shared moments around the dinner table, the livelihoods supported by the beef industry, and the sustainable practices that position Kansas as a leader in beef production.

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