Meat lovers: USDA has good news for you. U.S. red meat and poultry producers had a banner year in 2015, according to USDA. During the year, the two industries combined for a record high of 94.3 billion-lbs. in production. Individually, U.S. poultry slaughter production hit a record high of 46.3 billion-lbs.
USDA noted that the nation's poultry production industry underwent significant growth in the last two and a half decades, with the total live weight of poultry slaughtered under federal inspection increasing 89% during the time frame. USDA noted that chicken and turkey both contributed heavily to expanding poultry production, but chicken was the primary driver in the rise. USDA breaks down the individual poultry types very well in the report:
- Ready-to-cook chicken production during 2015 was a record 40.6 billion-lbs., up 4% from 2014.
- Ready-to-cook turkey production during 2015 was 5.63 billion-lbs., down 2% from 2014.
- Ready-to-cook duck production during 2015 was a record 138 million-lbs., up 5% from 2014.
Total commercial red meat production was set at 48.4 billion pounds in 2015, up 2% from 2014. Since 1990, commercial red meat production within the nation increased 25%, with most of that increase due to a rise in pork production. Once again, USDA broke down the numbers pretty well for red meat.
- Commercial beef production during 2015 was 23.7 billion-lbs., down 2% from 2014.
- Commercial veal production was a record low in 2015 at 82.5 million-lbs., 12% below 2014.
- Commercial pork production during 2015 was a record high at 24.5 billion-lbs., 7% above 2014.
- Commercial lamb and mutton production was 150.6 million-lbs. in 2015, 3% below 2014.
The most interesting fact from the report regards the narrowing gap between red meat and poultry production. Since 1990, USDA reports that U.S. poultry slaughter production nearly doubled. In that year, red meat production was nearly 60% higher than poultry production. That number steadily declined in the 25 years since, with USDA reporting only a 4% gap in 2015.