Feed Bites

No Tall Tales Here – Animal Food is Essential

Written by: Rob Cooper   |   March 4, 2021

IFEEDER, Ingredients, Our role in ag

Good research should tell a story. At the Institute for Feed Education and Research, we have a new story to tell. Our newly released Animal Feed Consumption and COVID-19 Impact Analysis tells the story of a vibrant animal food manufacturing industry that allows domestic livestock and pets to consume nearly 284 million tons of safe, high quality and nutritious food annually. It also tells a story of the dedication of over 944,000 people who make the industry tick.

I like to consider this report a shout out and thank you to all of our essential feed industry workers who day in and day out make sure that our domestic livestock and pets have the food they need and help keep our food supply chain stable. Thank you for your work every day, making sure that everyone has the choice of animal protein when it comes to keeping their families fed.

About the Study

This study quantifies exactly how much domestic livestock and pets consume throughout the various stages of their life. Working with the economic and analysis firm Decision Innovation Solutions (DIS), the study found that in 2019, the industry’s over 5,800 manufacturing facilities produced animal and pet food that allowed approximately 284 million tons of animal food to be consumed. This update to the 2016 animal feed consumption study has some new information, including new ingredients (i.e., forages and other roughage products) and species (i.e., dogs and cats).  New this year, IFEEDER also sought to understand the potential impact that the coronavirus pandemic will have on the animal feed industry over the next five years. 


Overall, IFEEDER found that in 2019, the industry’s 5,836 manufacturing facilities helped pets and domestic livestock consume approximately 283.8 million tons of animal food. The top three animal food consumers included beef cattle at 64.5 million tons, hogs at 61.8 million tons and broiler chickens at 60.8 million tons. Iowa, Texas, California, North Carolina and Minnesota topped the list for the sheer amount of animal food consumed with 28.8 million tons, 21.1 million tons, 17.5 million tons, 16.3 million tons and 14.6 million tons, respectively.  

Corn, the most abundantly produced crop in the United States, made up slightly more than half (52%) of the total amount of compounded feed consumed, and when combined with soybean meal (12%) and dried distillers’ grains with solubles (DDGs) (11%), represented more than 75% of all feed tonnage consumed in 2019. DIS also reported on a number of other ingredients used in animal diets, including wheat middlings and wheat bran (3%), animal byproduct meals (3%), corn gluten feed/meal (2%), canola meal (2%), animal fats (2%), other processed plant byproducts (1%) and others. 


IFEEDER also sought to understand the potential impact COVID-19 will have on the animal feed industry over the next five years. Using the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s November 2020 data, DIS established a baseline of the value and volume of feed for six major categories of livestock and poultry (i.e., broilers, layers, turkeys, hogs, dairy cows and beef cattle) and then provided three, forward-looking scenarios for the feed sector. DIS estimated the baseline consumption at the beginning of 2020 at 252.6 million tons (excluding forages and roughages) with an estimated value of $66.7 billion, under normal production circumstances without the pandemic; with COVID-19, the consumption rate fell 1.7% to roughly 248.4 million tons, a difference of 4.2 million tons less feed consumed worth $1.6 billion, leaving the industry with a total post-COVID-19 value of $47.5 billion. 

In a worst-case scenario, where the industry encounters further disruptions in processing and slaughter numbers or potential trade issues, DIS estimated 2025 animal food consumption could decrease 4.5% to 237.2 million tons at a value of $45.4 billion. In an expected-case scenario, where the industry continues business as usual without any further major disruptions, DIS estimated that by 2025 animal food consumption could increase 2.5% to 254.6 million tons worth roughly $48.8 billion. In a best-case scenario where the hotel, retail and institution sectors of the economy recover quickly and travel and trade conditions dramatically improve, DIS that by 2025 estimated feed consumption could increase nearly 6% to 263.1 million tons, valued at $50.4.

Help Us Tell the Story!

The full study and resources are available for your use on IFEEDER.org. Join me in telling how farmers and ranchers are taking farm grown crops and turning them into nutritious food for pets and domestic livestock. By doing that, you are helping us continue to build trust in the animal food industry. 


Comments See our policy on comments

Post a Comment

Required Field