America’s Top 25 Beef Cow Counties

Nebraska, with 1.9 million beef cows, the fourth-largest state by beef cow numbers, is home to the nation’s top three beef counties. ( Lindsey Benne )

Texas is America’s top beef cow state, with 4.57 million head. In fact, Texas boasts 14% of all the nation’s beef cows, yet only two Texas counties makes the top-25 list of America’s leading beef cow counties. Ranking number 13 on the list is Lavaca County with 67,102 cows, and Gonzales County at number 18 with 57,341 cows. Our top 25 beef cow counties was revealed in data from the 2017 Census of Agriculture released in April, 2019.

Similar to Texas, Missouri is America’s second-leading beef cow state with 2.16 million cows, yet only one county cracks the top-25, Polk at number 19 with 56,448 cows. And Oklahoma, the nation’s third-largest beef cow state, also put only one county, Osage, with 57,999 cows, into the top-25 beef cow county list.

One state, however, is home to the nation’s top four beef cow counties.

(Note: This is a list of beef cows only. Feedlot and stocker cattle are not included in the list.)

(Editor's note: This list was updated July 10, 2019, to include Lavaca County, Tex., and Custer County, Neb., to the Top 25. Lavaca County will become No. 11 with 70,667 cows, and Custer County becomes No. 3 with 94,958. Those numbers are Drovers estimates based on their 2012 Ag Census numbers. The number of cows in those counties were not reported by the Ag Census for 2017. An explanation for those omissions appears at the end of this article.)


  • 53,307 beef cows
  • 26.5 cows per sq. mile

  • 54,371 beef cows
  • 27.9 cows per sq. mile

  • 54,394 beef cows
  • 16.2 cows per sq. mile

  • 55,484 beef cows
  • 21.9 cows per sq. mile

  • 55,668 beef cows
  • 14.7 cows per sq. mile

  • 55,924 beef cows
  • 6.0 cows per sq. mile

  • 56,448 beef cows
  • 87.9 cows per sq. mile

  • 57,341 beef cows
  • 53.6 cows per sq. mile

  • 57,847 beef cows
  • 14.4 cows per sq. mile

  • 57,999 beef cows
  • 25.1 cows per sq. mile

  • 63,816 beef cows
  • 22.0 cows per sq. mile

  • 66,395 beef cows
  • 44.0 cows per sq. mile

  • 67,102 beef cows*
  • 69.2 cows per sq. mile

  • 68,865 beef cows
  • 6.7 cows per sq. mile

  • 68,964 beef cows
  • 42.6 cows per sq. mile



Click here to see the top 10 beef cow counties and an indepth analysis of the findings.