Agricultural Policy Review


Given the current demographics of beef cattle producers in the United States, a significant turnover of productive assets will likely occur in the industry over the next decade. The 2012 Census of Agriculture reported that 35 percent of US beef cattle and ranching and 28 percent of US cattle feedlot principal operators are over the age of 64 (USDA NASS 2014). An additional 27 percent of beef cattle and ranching principal operators and 28 percent of cattle feedlot principal operators are between 55 and 64 years of age (USDA NASS 2014). Yet, according to the 2015 Iowa Farm and Rural Life Poll, among farmers who plan to retire in the next 􀏐ive years, only 55 percent have identi􀏐ied a potential successor (Arbuckle and Baker 2015).