Nebraska has had many slogans and mottos over the years; Nebraska Nice, It’s Not For Everyone, The Home of Arbor Day, and The Good Life. Every May as we celebrate National Beef Month Nebraskan’s are reminded of one of my personal favorite mottos, The Beef State. As we sit down to a delicious and nutritious burger, steak or roast, it’s a great reminder that the beef industry has a large impact on every Nebraskan.

So, why are we the beef state?  Well, Nebraska is in the perfect position to raise beef cattle, and we do it well.  Beef production is a large part of the ag engine that powers the state’s economy, contributing $10.6 billion in annual cash receipts. Uniquely among other beef producing states, every segment of the beef industry is represented in Nebraska, starting with cow-calf to stockers and backgrounders to feedlots and lastly processing facilities. Currently, there are 6.8 million head of cattle in the state which ranks Nebraska second in the nation.  Texas usually beats us to the top spot, but being 3.5 times smaller in size, Nebraska punches well above our weight.

Several factors help make Nebraska a truly remarkable place to grow cattle. This includes nearly 23 million acres of rangeland and pastureland in Nebraska – half of which are in the Sandhills. Another is the more than one billion bushels of corn produced annually. Having access to that vast grasslands and a ready feed supply allows for a lot of cattle to be raised and then fed in the state. In fact, for every Nebraskan there are four head of cattle!

Raising beef is a complex process, but throughout the entire journey, the beef community shares a commitment to raising cattle in a safe, humane and environmentally sustainable way.

Nebraska beef is known internationally for its flavor, tenderness, and quality. Farmers and ranchers take great pride in producing a product that is known and demanded worldwide. While cattlemen and cattlewomen understand the responsibility they have of caring for livestock, they recognize that they are ultimately beef producers who continue to enhance the sustainability and safety of our local, regional, and global food systems that provide a healthy, nutrient dense staple for our tables

To learn more about Beef production in Nebraska or the nutritional benefits of beef, visit

-Ben Beckman is a beef systems Extension Educator serving the counties of Antelope, Cedar, Knox, Madison and Pierce.  He is based out of the Cedar County Extension office in Hartington.  You can reach him by phone: (402) 254-6821 or email: