Cattle-truck drivers are responsible for getting large loads of cattle to and from the market or to the slaughterhouse where they are processed for food. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that there were nearly 1.5 million heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers employed in the United States in 2010. Salaries for cattle-truck drivers generally fall somewhere close to the national average for all other truck drivers.
While the Bureau of Labor Statistics does not list a separate category for "cattle-truck drivers," it does list two categories in which these truck drivers can fall: general-freight trucking and specialized-freight trucking. The bureau indicates that those in the specialized-freight industry made an average salary of $38,690 per year in 2010, while those in general-freight trucking made slightly more $41,100, indicating that cattle-truck drivers are likely to average salaries somewhere between these two figures. All heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers nationwide made an average salary of $39,450 per year, by comparison.
Cattle-truck drivers and other truck drivers nationwide earned salaries that typically ranged from $24,730 to 57,480 per year in 2010, according to the BLS. The bureau indicates that truck drivers made a median salary of $37,770 per year, with those comprising the middle 50 of the pay scale making salaries that ranged from $30,270 to $46,920 on an annual basis.
Truck driver salaries are also partially determined by where they are employed. For example, the BLS indicates that the drivers with the highest average pay worked in the states of Alaska, Nevada, New Jersey, Massachusetts and New York. These drivers averaged more than $43,000 per year in 2010, according to the bureau. In states where cattle production is more likely, salaries were generally lower, but only minimally so. For example, truck drivers in Nebraska made an average salary of $40,600 per year, while those working in Arkansas averaged $37,320, and those in Iowa made even less at $36,180 on an annual basis.
The overall job outlook for those working in the truck-driving field appears to be positive, when considered in light of projections made by the BLS for the period from 2008 to 2018. The bureau indicates that 9-percent job growth should occur in this field during this time. While this only represents an average rate of growth, it does indicate slow and steady expansion of the truck-driving field. Continued agricultural production will have an influence on the need for cattle-truck drivers.
Jared Lewis is a professor of history, philosophy and the humanities. He has taught various courses in these fields since 2001. A former licensed financial adviser, he now works as a writer and has published numerous articles on education and business. He holds a bachelor's degree in history, a master's degree in theology and has completed doctoral work in American history.