It’s 2012. Do you know where your 10 billion pounds of beef are?
While you’re out and about this weekend, keep your eyes open. It seems that the Department of Agriculture is missing some beef.
In its July 2012 Livestock, Dairy, and Poultry Update, the US Department of Agriculture announced some revisions to previous statistics, including a huge downward revision to 2011 beef production stats from 36,195 million pounds to just 26,195 million.
(Here’s the actual report.) So, you know, just 10,000 million pounds less than they’d reported. 10 billion pounds. Three-quarters of the weight of the pyramids at Giza, in case you count your beef in pyramids.
I called the USDA to see if someone could explain a discrepancy of 40 percent from the actual value. I was unable to reach anyone, after trying four different offices.
I suspect that they’re all out in fields in Iowa, wearing deerstalker caps and feeling slightly panicky.
The Case of the Missing Beef, Slate.