Total U.S. cattle imports were 3.5 percent greater in 2020 compared to 2019, equaling 2.1 million head (Figure 1). Imported cattle equaled 6.4 percent of total cattle slaughtered. Last year’s increase continued a trend since 2016 when imports equaled just over 1.7 million head. Since 2000, the record high was 2.5 million head in 2002. The most recent high occurred in 2014 at 2.36 million head imported. The trend in growing imports, though, may be broken this year. Through April of this year, imports are off 10 percent compared to last year.
Figure 1. U.S. Cattle Imports, 2000-2020
Figure 2. Feeder & Slaughter Cattle Imports From Canada & Mexico