Animal Agriculture

In 2012, the last year for which final statistical data has been compiled, domestic animal agriculture consumed 30.4 million tons of soybean meal — by far the largest source of soybean meal demand.  This was an increase of about one million tons in a year when the quantity of grains fed to animals actually fell by seven million tons, of more than five percent. Animal agriculture encompasses mainly beef cattle, hogs, broilers, turkeys, eggs, sheep, dairy, and aquaculture. Future soybean demand is tightly linked to the health of these industries.

The 2012 drought began to significantly affect animal agriculture in the second half of the year and the impacts continue to be felt. Further cattle herd liquidation occurred in the drought-affected areas, and rapidly rising feed prices pushed production margins for all animal products into negative territory. While margins generally became positive again in 2013, the delayed plantings due to a wet spring kept animal agriculture industries on edge.

The other issues faring US animal agriculture have not gone away either. Per capita meat consumption has been challenged, and consumer demand remains tepid due to the economy. Development of additional production facilities often faces local opposition. And environmental regulations and uncertainties over implementation of the Food Safety Act have further dampened enthusiasm about investment in the sector.

Consequently, actions to maintain and expand animal agriculture in the United States — by supporting its long-term competitiveness – are of critical importance to the soybean sector.

In order to take effective action at the state and local levels in support of animal agriculture, one needs data and analysis on the economic importance of the industry at those levels. The United Soybean Board contracted with Agralytica (formerly Promar International) to provide current estimates of the economic impacts of animal agriculture at the national, state and local levels.

In 2012, animal agriculture had the following positive national economic impacts:

  • 1,851,000 » Job impact throughout the economy
  • $346 billion >> Impact on total output in the economy
  • $60 billion >> Impact on household incomes
  • $15 billion >> Impact on income taxes paid
  • $6 billion >> Impact on property taxes paid.

This study provides the most recent data on livestock, poultry, and aquaculture output, their soybean meal usage, and the benefits animal agriculture brings to each individual state and the national economy as a whole.

In Kentucky…

Soybean meal (SBM) plays an important role in animal agriculture in Kentucky, which in turn has a significant impact on the state’s economy.

In Kentucky: Animal agriculture in 2011 used an estimated 543,000 tons of SBM: 74% in broiler production, 9.7% for pork, and 4.2% in egg production; At the state level, animal agriculture represented $5.9 billion in revenues, $998 million in household income, and 29,861 jobs. In addition, it yielded an estimated $261 million in income taxes, and $102 million in property taxes; and over the past decade, the expansion of animal agriculture in Kentucky has led to increases of $231 million in economic output, $37 million in household wages, 830 jobs, and $10 million in tax revenue.