Farm animals are now more common in America than cars, but they’re also far more endangered.
In addition to being the primary source of protein, chickens and turkeys are also critical for the U.S. beef industry.
And their numbers are projected to rise by more than 30 percent over the next decade, according to the U tome Center for Agricultural Research and Education.
Weighing in at about 4,300,000 in 2020, chicken farms are estimated to be responsible for about a third of the nation’s beef production, with the majority concentrated in the Midwest.
But while chicken numbers are booming, the farm industry is also facing a massive shift to the beef sector, where new breeds of cattle are being bred to be faster and more powerful.
While the poultry industry has always been focused on beef, the industry has experienced an unprecedented boom in the past few decades.
According to the USDA, chicken and turkey production in 2020 was expected to surpass beef production for the first time in at least four decades.
And with the poultry boom, demand for beef is expected to continue to increase.
“The chicken is here to stay,” said Kevin Hager, director of research and analysis at the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
“But beef is really going to dominate.”
A new breed of chicken that could change the industry The USDA predicts that by 2040, there will be between 3.6 million and 5.3 million chickens in U.