Beef Cattle

There are about 1.83 million beef cattle and calves in North Dakota. That's more than two cattle for every person in the state. Beef cattle are raised in every North Dakota county. One 1,200-pound beef animal produces enough meat to make about 2,100 quarter-pound hamburgers. The average American eats 114 hamburgers a year. A cow is a beef "mother" and bull is a beef "father." A calf is a young male or female beef animal less than one year of age. A heifer is a young female beef animal that hasn't yet given birth to her first calf.



Bison is the scientific name for buffalo. At one time an estimated 70 million bison roamed North America. Unregulated killing of bison led to the many millions of animals being reduced to no more than 1,500 in the mid to late 1800s. Legal protection of bison, the establishment of preserves and individual ranches raising animals have restored the bison to greater than 350,000 animals. Bison are raised primarily for their meat and hides. There are approximately 12,000 head of bison in North Dakota.


Dairy Cattle

There are approximately 63 licensed dairy herds in North Dakota that produce around 40 million gallons of milk annually. The state has two facilities that process one or more dairy products. It takes just 48 hours for milk to travel from the farm to a retail outlet/store.



There are 9 turkey farms in North Dakota that produce around 1 million birds annually. Each year, members of the North Dakota Turkey Federation present a live turkey for a Thanksgiving Pardon ceremony at the state capitol building.



There are more than 70,000 sheep and lambs raised in North Dakota each year. Sheep have been providing meat and clothing to people for over 10,000 years. Female sheep are called ewes, baby sheep are called lambs, and male sheep are called rams. A group of sheep is called a flock. A one-year old sheep is called a hogget. A two-year old sheep is called a two-tooth. Lambs are ready for market when they weigh somewhere between 90-120 pounds. Lamb as food is an outstanding source of vitamins and minerals, and is one of the easiest to digest. The meat from a grown sheep is called mutton and that from a young sheep is called lamb. North Dakota sheep produced 435,000 pounds of wool in 2017. 



There are about 150,000 pigs raised in North Dakota. Each average pig, taken to market by a producer, represents 371 servings of pork. Byproducts from pork are used in a lot of surprising ways. Insulin from pigs is used in the treatment of diabetes. Pig heart valves are used to replace damaged or diseased human heart valves. Skin from hogs is used to treat severe burn victims, just to name a few.


Non-Traditional Livestock