“Cattlemen and women have made incredible strides in responding to consumer demand for high-quality and consistent beef, raising cattle that meet that expectation,” said Arizona Beef Council Executive Director Lauren Maehling in the May 2024 issue of Arizona Agriculture. And on that note, it’s time to celebrate National Beef Month since it’s May!

Maehling further added, “When I was in college, I remember the national average of cattle grading prime was 2 percent. Now, 11 to 12 percent is the norm, according to the USDA. The industry has improved cattle genetics, beef quality, feeding practices, and trimming to produce more consistent beef that consumers love. Still, if consumers are looking for lean and tender – that’s an option. AND while we are experiencing smaller national cattle herds, more beef is being raised per animal – 60 percent more since 1961, while reducing emissions per pound of beef by more than 40 percent, according to the UN FAO and the USDA.” 

In summary, cattle genetics, beef quality, feeding practices, and improved environmental practices mean we are in the best days of wonderfully tasty Arizona and American beef. We celebrated the same this last Saturday on Rosie on the House with young rancher Wyatt Ross.

During the show, Ross shared his family’s agriculture heritage in Arizona and highlighted the direct market beef program they recently launched to a broader consumer audience: Windmill Mountain Ranch. The full episode is below.

But first, let’s look at some of our favorite Arizona beef facts provided by our Arizona ranchers and the Arizona Beef Council.

  1. Arizona beef ranks top when it comes to quality and taste! 
  2. Arizona cattle ranches produce enough beef to feed more than 8 million people every year. 
  3. Not only is raising beef cattle one of Arizona’s largest agriculture commodities, but it is also the largest area of all American agriculture.
  4. Beef is a complete, high-quality protein, which means it supplies all the essential amino acids or building blocks of protein, the body needs to build, maintain and repair body tissue.
  5. A 3-ounce serving of lean beef is an excellent source of protein, supplying more than half of the protein most people need each day. 
  6. To get the same amount of protein found in a 3 oz. serving of lean beef at 150 calories, you would need to eat 236 calories of raw soy tofu cubes, 374 calories of black beans, or 670 calories of peanut butter.
  7. Beef is a nutritional powerhouse. It would take 8 ounces of chicken breast to get the same amount of iron as 3 ounces of beef, and it would take close to 7 times the amount of chicken to get the same amount of zinc as a serving of beef.
  8. The U.S. provides 25 percent of the world’s beef but only has 10 percent of the world’s cattle.
  9. A steer of around 1,150 pounds bears approximately 500 pounds of beef. Most of the remaining weight is salvaged as by-products, enabling us to use around 99% of the animal.
  10. There are 29 cuts of beef that meet government guidelines for being lean.
  11. According to factsaboutbeef.com and the USDA, to be lean the cut has to have less than 10 grams of total fat, have less than 95 mg of cholesterol per 100 grams (3.5 oz.) of meat, and have less than or equal to 4.5 g of saturated fat.