The first chart to the left shows that still most cattle operations in the US have fewer than 100 head of cattle.
The first chart to the left shows that still most cattle operations in the US have fewer than 100 head of cattle.
From News Reports

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) announced the results of the 2017 Census of Agriculture, spanning some 6.4 million new points of information about America’s farms and ranches and those who operate them, including new data about on-farm decision making, down to the county level.
The Daily Livestock Report combed through the data. According to the census numbers there were a total of 882,692 cattle/calf operations. Of this total, 717,635 operations or 81 percent of the total, had fewer than 100 head of cattle (see first graph on left). The number of small cattle operations has been in steady decline in the last 20 years. Currently the number of small cattle operations are about 26 percent lower than in 1997. While operations that have 1-9 cattle are only slightly lower than twenty years ago, operations with 50-99 cattle are down 36 percent compared to where they were back then. As the number of small operators has been steadily declining, large producers continue to expand. In 1997 there were 8,925 operations with over 1,000 head of cattle. In 2017, that number had grown to 11,018, a 23 percent increase. The number of operations with over 5,000 head is up 50% compared to 20 years ago. The total inventory of all cattle and calves in 2017 is now estimated at 93.648 million head compared to the Jan 1, 2017 inventory based on the annual survey that was reported to be 93.705 million head. About 17.8 million head of cattle or 19 percent of the total were in operations that had over 5,000 head. On the other hand, operations with less than 100 head of cattle accounted for around 19 percent of the overall inventory as well. In other words, 81 percent of the cattle operations had less than 20 percent of the overall cattle inventory. The number of beef cows in 2017 was reported to be 31.722 million head. The bulk of those cows (73 percent) were in operations that had between 20 and 500 head of beef cows.
Other census data provide valuable insights into demographics, economics, land and activities on U.S. farms and ranches. Some key highlights include:
• There are 2.04 million farms and ranches (down 3.2 percent from 2012) with an average size of 441 acres (up 1.6 percent) on 900 million acres (down 1.6 percent).
• The 273,000 smallest (1-9 acres) farms make up 0.1 percent of all farmland while the 85,127 largest (2,000 or more acres) farms make up 58 percent of farmland.
• Just 105,453 farms produced 75 percent of all sales in 2017, down from 119,908 in 2012.
• Of the 2.04 million farms and ranches, the 76,865 making $1 million or more in 2017 represent just over 2/3 of the $389 billion in total value of production while the 1.56 million operations making under $50,000 represent just 2.9 percent.
• Farm expenses are $326 billion with feed, livestock purchased, hired labor, fertilizer and cash rents topping the list of farm expenses in 2017.
• Average farm income is $43,053. A total of 43.6 percent of farms had positive net cash farm income in 2017.
• Ninety-six percent of farms and ranches are family owned.
• Farms with Internet access rose from 69.6 percent in 2012 to 75.4 percent in 2017.
• A total of 133,176 farms and ranches use renewable energy producing systems, more than double the 57,299 in 2012.
• In 2017, 130,056 farms sold directly to consumers, with sales of $2.8 billion.
• Sales to retail outlets, institutions and food hubs by 28,958 operations are valued at $9 billion.