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National Beef Month: Support local producers and purchase beef products to celebrate National Beef Month

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

Beef is an American household staple, and ranching communities across the U.S. are stepping into the spotlight this month.

For some beef producers, the month of May is spent branding calves or turning cattle out, but it is also known as National Beef Month.

National Beef Month has been celebrated in May for over 30 years, honoring hardworking ranchers and farmers who raise quality beef for American tables, while recognizing the rich tradition of beef production. 

In the 1980s, beef production thrived and consumer demand soared, but the industry still faced difficulties as producers struggled with financial hardships and volatile markets.

Promoting and celebrating the beef industry every May brings awareness and appreciation for farmers and ranchers involved in beef production and bolsters the beef product market.

The month-long celebration focuses on everything beef related, from juicy steaks and burgers to flavorful roasts. So fire up the grill and gather around the table, it’s the season to acknowledge those who raise cattle from pasture to plate.

In the beginning

Beef production has been traced back to the early 1500s and evolved as settlers expanded westward, shaping the agricultural industry of today.

With the development of efficient transportation in the 1800s and the expansion of the railroad, beef production surged.

As technology advanced, it brought significant changes to the beef industry. With the introduction of barbed wire and refrigerated railcars, beef producers could raise cattle in enclosed pastures and ship fresh products.

By the mid-1900s, the beef industry expanded again by introducing feedlot systems to maximize production.

The introduction of feedlots spurred the beginning of beef genetics, as producers began to breed cattle to grow faster and maximize yield selectively.

This advancement in the beef industry brought forth quality meat for consumers, and as time passed, beef producers began focusing on cattle nutrition and feed efficiency.

Today, advancements in feed formulations and the utilization of various feed sources have reduced cattle’s carbon footprint, and new technology has allowed producers to make better decisions to optimize their herds. 

Celebrating beef

While beef is on the menu year-round, National Beef Month provides an opportunity to encourage family and friends to add more beef to their plates and join in celebrating the ranching way of life with a nostalgic cookout.

Not only is May National Beef Month, it is also the unofficial kick-off to summer. As the weather gets warmer, it is a perfect time to fire up the grill and celebrate with beef – the easy choice.

However, consumers can also honor National Beef Month in May by celebrating National Hamburger Month at the same time.

In 1993, White Castle founded National Hamburger Month, paying tribute all month long to one of America’s favorite foods.

Specifically, May 15 is National Slider Day and May 28 is National Hamburger Day. Unfortunately these dates are commonly overlooked.

The original slider was a square, two-inch hamburger on a small bun, created by White Castle restaurant in 1921. This spurred National Slider Day, which was first celebrated in 2015.

Although no one knows when the first National Hamburger Day was instituted, there is no denying hamburgers are a staple in the American diet, and almost 50 billion burgers are eaten annually.

Melissa Anderson is the editor of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup. Send comments on this article to

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