Report: About 8 percent of beef in U.S. from imported cows

The majority of beef in the U.S. is produced in country, according to a recent study in the journal Agricultural Sciences.

The paper outlines the methodology for estimating the amount of beef and pork in the U.S. that is derived from foreign-born animals (mainly Canada and Mexico). Overall, it found the imports of live cattle and pigs have increased since the implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA. However, the increases were tempered by increased regulations on imports, such as those from Canada when bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, or mad cow) was found.

Fluctuations were common. For example, in 2002, the U.S. imported 1.7 million head of cattle from Canada. This number dropped to only 513,000 after BSE was discovered in Canada. The next year, 2004, saw essentially zero imports of cattle from Canada. At the same time, only about 1,400 head of cattle were imported from Mexico, according to Cattle Network.

Foreign-born cattle are, on monthly average, about 8 percent of the beef consumed in the U.S., with the highest number (13.9 percent) occurring in February 2006, according to the report.

Want to read the report? Click here.

To read the article from Cattle Network on the report, click here.

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