Filling knowledge gaps for the animal feed and pet food industry.

Feeding America's Domestic Livestock and Pets Is Essential

Millions of animals rely on food for nutrition and to reach their full genetic potential, but how much do they eat each year in the United States? And, exactly WHAT are they eating?

From kittens to cattle and everything in between, the animal food industry recognizes it is an essential part of providing complete nutrition, but exactly how much they eat and what ingredients are in their food has been a mystery to the public, until now. The Institute for Feed Education and Research, which values providing credible science about the animal food industry to inform consumer choice, has conducted first-of-a-kind research that provides an in-depth look at animals’ diets in the United States.

In March 2021, IFEEDER released the results of its research, updating its previous report from 2017, showing that America’s domestic livestock and pets chowed down nearly 284 million tons of safe, high quality and nutritious food in 2019, helping keep America’s food supply chain stable.

About the Study:

IFEEDER commissioned Decision Innovation Solutions (DIS), an economic research and analysis firm, to quantify how much animal food domestic livestock and pets consume throughout the various stages of their lives, adjusting for regional feed differences and life stages. Also, as part of the study, DIS provided an economic analysis of how the coronavirus pandemic could impact the industry’s growth between 2020-25. It did this by establishing 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), using U.S. Department of Agriculture’s November 2020 data, and then provided three, forward-looking economic scenarios for the feed sector beyond the COVID-19 crisis.

AFIA       DSI


The results were astonishing. In 2019, pets and domestic livestock in the United States consumed approximately 284 million tons of animal food. The top three feed 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.

Demand fopr Animal Food

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 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.

Total Animal Feed Composition

COVID-19’s Impact on Industry
DIS considered six categories of domestic livestock production for this part of the report, including broilers, layers, turkeys, hogs, dairy cows and beef cattle. 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 roughly 1.7% to an estimated 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 in the years immediately following the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, DIS estimates that 2025 animal food consumption could further 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 animal food consumption could increase 2.5% to 254.6 million tons worth roughly $48.8 billion by 2025. 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 estimated that by 2025, feed consumption could increase 5.9.% to 263.1 million tons, valued at $50.4 billion.

Projections for Total Feed Consumption in 2025

Learn more about the animal food consumed in your state.





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IFEEDER is the only public charity of its kind, conducting research about and for the entire U.S. animal food industry. Through proactive research performed in collaboration with stakeholders, like this animal food consumption study, IFEEDER is helping business leaders make informed decisions about the future of animal agriculture.

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