Derrell S. Peel, Oklahoma State University Extension Livestock Marketing Specialist — The U.S. beef and cattle industry has increased production and productivity in many respects in the past several decades. Total beef production in 2020 is projected at a record 27.3 billion pounds. Cattle carcass weights have increased an average of 5 pounds per year for the past 25 years. Beef production per cow has increased over 100 pounds per cow over the same period. However, animal health is one area that has actually gotten worse in the past 25 years, with respiratory disease the biggest health problem in the beef industry.