The Big Four Meatpackers

 
Related story: Cattlemen struggle against giant meatpackers and economic squeezes

About 35 million cattle are slaughtered in the U.S. annually by 60 major beef-packing operations processing around 26 billion pounds of beef. Four firms control over 80 percent of all the beef slaughtered.

****

Tyson Foods Springdale, Ark.

Daily slaughter capacity 28,700

U.S. market share 25 percent

Beef sales $12.7 billion

Company overview
Tyson bought the world’s largest supplier of premium beef and pork products, IBP Inc., in 2001. It’s the second-largest pork and chicken packer in the U.S. and sells its products in 90 countries.

****

Cargill Meat Solutions Corp. Wichita, Kan.

Daily slaughter capacity 29,000

U.S. market share
21 percent

Beef sales
Cargill Meat Solutions would not release this data. Its parent company, Cargill Inc., reported $88.3 billion in sales in 2009.

Company overview
Cargill Meat Solutions is one of 75 businesses under Cargill Inc., the largest privately-held corporation in the United States. Cargill  runs the biggest flour-milling company in the world, is a leading corn syrup and soybean processor, and has cocoa and chocolate operations on four continents. It employs 131,000 people in 66 countries, including Canada, Mexico and China.

****

JBS USA Greeley, Colo.

Daily slaughter capacity
28,600

U.S. market share 18.5 percent

Beef sales $9.2 billion

Company overview
JBS USA bought Swift (the-third largest packer) in 2007, then bought Smithfield (the fifth-largest packer and largest U.S. feedlot owner) in 2008, then bought Pilgrim’s Pride, the largest chicken processor, in 2009. The company tried to buy National Beef Packing Co. in 2008, but the U.S. Department of Justice opposed the acquisition. The parent company, Brazil-based JBS S.A., is the largest beef packer in the world, with 54 processing plants on four continents.

****

National Beef Packing Co., LLC Kansas City, Mo.

Daily slaughter capacity 14,000

U.S. market share 10.5 percent

Beef sales
$5.4 billion

Company overview
National Beef started as a single plant in Kansas in 1992. Its other main product is leather.

Sources: All numbers are for 2009. Slaughter capacity from “Feedstuffs” 2011 Reference Issue and Buyers Guide. Market share and beef sales from A Value Chain Analysis of the U.S. Beef and Dairy Industries, Center on Globalization Governance and Competitiveness, Duke University. Market share numbers for the four companies add up to 75 percent in the Duke report, although the more commonly used figure is 81 percent. Numbers differ due to varying sources used to collect this data, which is not reported by the USDA.

Return to:

Cattlemen struggle against giant meatpackers and economic squeezes
High Country News Classifieds
  • PLANNED GIVING OFFICER
    National Parks Conservation Association (NPCA), the nation's oldest and largest national parks nonprofit advocacy organization seeks a Planned Giving Officer. Do you find energy in...
  • NORTHERN NEW MEXICO PROJECT MANAGER
    Seeking qualified Northern New Mexico Project Manager to provide expertise, leadership and support to the organization by planning, cultivating, implementing and managing land conservation activities,...
  • REGIONAL TRAIL STEWARDSHIP COORDINATOR
    Are you passionate about connecting people to the outdoors? The Pacific Crest Trail Association (PCTA) is looking for someone with trail maintenance and volunteer engagement...
  • TRAIL CREW MEMBER
    Position Title: Trail Crew Member Position Type: 6 month seasonal position, April 17-October 15, 2023 Location: Field-based; The RFOV office is in Carbondale, CO, and...
  • CEO BUFFALO NATIONS GRASSLANDS ALLIANCE
    Chief Executive Officer, Remote Exempt position for Buffalo Nations Grasslands Alliance is responsible for the planning and organization of BNGA's day-to-day operations
  • IDAHO DIRECTOR - WESTERN WATERSHEDS PROJECT
    Western Watersheds Project seeks an Idaho Director to continue and expand upon WWP's campaign to protect and restore public lands and wildlife in Idaho, with...
  • DIRECTOR OF DEVELOPMENT, NA'AH ILLAHEE FUND
    Na'ah Illahee Fund (NIF) is seeking a highly qualified Development Director to join our team in supporting and furthering our mission. This position will create...
  • DIRECTOR OF OPERATIONS, NA'AH ILLAHEE FUND
    Na'ah Illahee Fund (NIF) is seeking a highly qualified Operations Director to join our team. This position will provide critical organizational and systems support to...
  • DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR
    Grand Staircase Escalante Partners (GSEP) is seeking a leader to join our dynamic team in the long-term protection of Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument (GSENM). We...
  • GRASSLAND RESEARCH COORDINATOR
    The Grassland Research Coordinator is a cooperative position with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that performs and participates in and coordinates data collection for...
  • HYDROELECTRIC PLANT
    1.3 MW FERC licensed hydroelectric station near Taylorsville CA. Property is 184 deeded acres surrounded by National Forrest.
  • "PROFILES IN COURAGE: STANDING AGAINST THE WYOMING WIND"
    13 stories of extraordinary courage including HCN founder Tom Bell, PRBRC director Lynn Dickey, Liz Cheney, People of Heart Mountain, the Wind River Indian Reservation...
  • GRANT WRITER
    JOB DESCRIPTION: This Work involves the responsibility of conducting research in the procurement of Federal, State, County, and private grant funding. Additional responsibilities include identifying...
  • MATADOR RANCH STEWARD
    The Matador Ranch Steward conducts annual stewardship projects at the Matador Ranch Preserve and occasionally supports stewardship projects elsewhere in Montana's Northern Great Plains. The...
  • COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT ASSISTANT
    The Idaho Conservation League is seeking a motivated individual to help build public support for key strategic initiatives in northern Idaho through public outreach and...
  • PROGRAM MANAGER
    Absaroka Beartooth Wilderness Foundation seeks a steward/educator to lead backcountry volunteer projects and community outreach. FT $36k-$40k, competitive time off. ALSO HIRING OPERATIONS MANAGER. More...
  • ASSISTANT RANCH OPERATIONS MANAGER
    WANTED: ASSISTANT RANCH OPERATIONS MANAGER ~ UTAH/COLORADO border ~ Looking to immediately hire an experienced and clean hardworker to join us on a beautiful, very...
  • ASPIRE COLORADO SUSTAINABLE BODY AND HOME CARE PRODUCTS
    Go Bulk! Go Natural! Our products are better for you and better for the environment. Say no to single-use plastic. Made in U.S.A., by a...
  • CANYONLANDS FIELD INSTITUTE
    Field seminars for adults in the natural and human history of the Colorado Plateau, with lodge and base camp options. Small groups, guest experts.
  • CORTEZ COLORADO LOT FOR SALE
    Historic tree-lined Montezuma Ave. Zoned Neighborhood Business. Build your dream house or business right in the heart of town. $74,000. Southwest Realty