*updated September 17, 2020
Canada is one of the largest exporters of red meat and livestock in the world, exporting around 45 per cent of Canadian beef and cattle production each year.
Canada produces approximately 1.55 million tonnes of beef annually. In 2019, Canada’s beef industry exported $3.1 billion (409,967 tonnes) of beef, representing 41 per cent of domestic production. This is a new record high in beef export value. Canada exported 679,600 tonnes of beef and cattle valued at $4.4 billion in 2019, representing 47 per cent of beef production (including live slaughter cattle exported).
The Canadian beef industry ships to 62 countries but is reliant on the U.S. for 72 per cent of all beef exports. The next largest export markets are Japan (11 per cent), mainland China & Hong Kong (6.6 per cent), Mexico (3.8 per cent), South Korea (1.3 per cent) and Southeast Asia (0.7 per cent) accounting for 95.4 per cent of total export volumes. All other markets together represent the remaining 4.6 per cent of Canadian beef exports.
Canada’s beef consumption was up 1.6 per cent to 958,000 tonnes in 2019. Canadian consumers purchase about 18 kilograms (retail weight) of beef per person per year.
Canadian beef industry fast facts
In 2019 the cattle industry generated $9.4 billion in farm cash receipts. Over the period 2015-19, cattle and calves have been the largest revenue maker for farms.
The 2016 Ag Census identified 60,000 farms in Canada that derive more than half their income from beef production, with 84,740 operators.
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Industry contribution to economy
The Canadian beef industry represents the second largest single source of farm cash receipts, with cash receipts from cattle and calves totaling $9.4 billion annually over the last five years (2015-19 average), representing 16 per cent of total farm cash receipts, contributing $18 billion to GDP annually.
The beef sector generates an estimated 228,000 jobs in Canada, with every job in the sector yielding another 3.56 jobs elsewhere in the economy. For every $1 of income, another $2.08 are created elsewhere.