The Beef Lifecycle



Cows are bred and calves are born and raised every year on cow-calf farms and ranches, spending time grazing on grass pastures within sight of their mothers


Beef Calves are weaned away from their mothers between 6-8 months of age.

Livestock Auction Markets

Many calves leave the farm or ranch where they were born and are sold at livestock auction markets to stockers and backgrounders between 6-12 months of age.

Stockers and Backgrounders

Between 6-12 months of age cattle spend time at stocker and backgrounder farms and ranches where they graze on a a variety of pastures. Here they gain weight and convert forage and grass into lean protein.


Cattle spend 4-6 months at a feedyard being fed a scientifically balanced diet and receiving daily care. Some spend the rest of their lives on a pasture being grass finished.

Packing Plant

Cattle are sent to a packer/processing facility to be slaughtered and processed then distributed to supermarket retailers and restaurants.

Due to strong demand for U.S. beef, beef is exported to more than 130 other countries.

Beef helps nourish the bodies of Millions of Americans by providing 10 essential nutrients.