USDA Feedlot Study Underway

News / FBNews March 8, 2021

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To get a snapshot of current feedlot cattle health management practices, USDA’s National Animal Health Monitoring System, in partnership with the National Agricultural Statistics Service, is conducting a national study on U.S. feedlots with at least 50 head. Researchers will also put the information gathered this year alongside previous studies to analyze cattle health trends. Participation is voluntary.

To better direct the study, priority issues related to cattle health were identified via responses to a needs assessment questionnaire and from discussions with representatives from various segments of the feedlot industry, including producer associations, feedlot veterinarians, and university and Extension experts.

Along with health management practices on U.S. feedlots with 50 or more head, the study will delve into the prevalence of important feedlot cattle diseases, the use of antibiotics and the implementation of stewardship practices on feedlots. 

“NAHMS provides us with a snapshot of how our industry partners are operating their business and making decisions, serving as a benchmark and gut-check for us in making decisions on how to run our business. This helps us stay open-minded and current in today’s practice of feeding cattle,” said Josh Szasz, staff veterinarian at Five Rivers Cattle Feeding in Colorado.

The reports generated from the study will benefit the U.S. feedlot industry by providing current and scientifically valid estimates to aid in understanding disease preparedness strengths and vulnerabilities, help policymakers and industry stakeholders make informed decisions, and identify research and development needs on vital feedlot cattle health issues.

Among other endeavors, the data gathered will also enable economic analyses of the health and productivity of the U.S. feedlot industry, identify educational needs and opportunities related to feedlot cattle health, and provide benchmark data on important feedlot cattle health management practices to inform quality assurance programs.

In March and April, representatives from NASS will visit participating operations to complete a questionnaire. If participants choose to continue in the study, USDA or state veterinary health professionals will visit feedlots from June through August to complete a second questionnaire.

You can learn more about the NAHMS Health Management on U.S. Feedlots 2021 study here or watch a video explaining the importance of this feedlot study here.

For additional information on the study, contact Dr. Chuck Fossler at (970) 632-0775 or

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