The beef industry in Arkansas contributes significantly to the state’s economy and in 2012 was ranked the 5th largest agriculture commodity in the state. The modern-day peak in the size of Arkansas beef cow herd was in 1975, with 1,259,000 head. Since the mid-80s, the inventory of beef cows in Arkansas has varied from 969,000 in 1995 to 851,000 in 2013 - a range of 118,000 head.  In 2016, the cow herd total is 893,000 head - near the mid-point of this 30 year range and climbing.

Beef Facts

  • 2024 Arkansas all cattle and calves inventory as of January 1st totaled 1.57 million head.
  • Arkansas is ranked 11th in the U.S. for number beef cows.
  • The beef industry in Arkansas contributes significantly to the state’s economy and in 2023 was ranked the 7th largest agriculture commodity in the state.
  • The modern-day peak in the size of Arkansas beef cow herd was in 1975, with 1,290,000 head. Since then, the inventory of beef cows in Arkansas has varied from 1,000,000 plus head in the 70’s and 80’s to 824,000 in 1993 - a range of 466,000 head.
  • In 2024, the beef cow herd total is 847,000 head - near the bottom of the 50-year range. The number of Beef cattle in Arkansas has a cyclical trend with low points occurring around every 10 years, which we are experiencing right now. The most recent peak was in 2019 at 935,000 head.
  • Of the 37,756 farms in Arkansas 20,294 produce cattle which is over 53%
  • The average beef cattle herd size in Arkansas is 43 head per operation.
  • 6 million acres of Arkansas’ 13.7 million acres in farms is utilized for hay and grazing - about 43% of all farmland acres in the state.
  • Cash receipts for Arkansas cattle totaled over 687 million in 2022.
  • Current Beef cattle prices in Arkansas are approaching all time highs as the U.S. herd inventory is down and demand for U.S. beef remains high both domestically and around the world.

Beef fact

Beef fact 2


For more information on Arkansas beef, visit the Arkansas Beef Council.