Colorado Department of Agriculture
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Colorado Livestock Industry


Colorado Cattle: Industry Leaders for Over 150 Years


For more than 150 years, Colorado’s cattle ranching and feeding families have been committed to a tradition of providing consumers a safe and wholesome food supply while caring for Colorado’s land, water and wildlife resources.
Colorado’s livestock industry is also supported by Colorado State University. The Department of Animal Sciences is focused on improving profitable production in the livestock industry through resource management, science and technology, while addressing food safety and animal welfare concerns.
Colorado Beef Industry Facts
  • Cash receipts for Colorado livestock and products total more than $3.7 billion, of which more than 75 percent of cash receipts come from cattle and calves.
  • Of Colorado’s $3.7 billion livestock industry, 75 percent comes from cattle and calves.
  • Traditionally, Colorado has around 2.65 million head of cattle each year, valued at over $2.8 billion.
  • Colorado feeds almost 2 million head of cattle including cattle from other states.
  • Colorado ranked 10th in the United States in total cattle in the year 2011.
  • The current concept of feedlots and packing houses used in the United States began in Greeley, Colorado.
  • Today Colorado is home to 11,600 farms with cattle and calves, 206 feedlots, and 24 USDA certified slaughter plants.
  • Colorado is the fourth largest exporter of fresh and frozen beef in the United States.
A Good Place to Do Business
Colorado is home to many national leaders in the cattle industry, such as:
  •  National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), Cattlemen’s Beef Board, and Cattle-Fax
  • United States Meat Export Federation (USMEF)
  • Breed association headquarters: American Gelbvieh Association, American Highland Cattle Association, North American Limousin Foundation, American Salers Association
  •  Major beef processors, leaders in traceability, and equipment manufacturers
There are more than 36,000 farms and ranches in Colorado encompassing 31.2 million acres. That’s nearly half of the state’s total land area…Colorado is agriculture!
For assistance in locating livestock genetics from Colorado, please contact the Colorado Department of Agriculture Markets Division at (303) 239-4114 or
Industry Resources in Colorado:
                Colorado Cattlemen’s Association
                Colorado Livestock Association
                National Cattlemen’s Beef Association
                United States Meat Export Federation
Colorado Ranches Interested in Live Cattle and Genetics Exports:*
*If you are a Colorado rancher interested in international sales and would like to be included on this page, please email
More information on Colorado’s Cattle Industry:
                Colorado Cattle Facts
                Additional Links for Livestock Export Information


For more information, please contact the Markets Division at the Colorado Department of Agriculture at (303) 239-4114 or

Photo Courtesy of Suni Olkjer
2004 Photo Contest Livestock Suni Olkjer