Total returns in 2003 for Illinois beef feeding enterprises exceeded total economic costs by $20.87 per 100 pounds of beef produced on 11 beef feeding farms. This was by far the highest profit margin for these farms since this study began in 1980. Total costs exceeded returns by $7.97 per 100 pounds produced in 2002. Total returns have exceeded total economic costs in only five years since 1980, when this study began. Those years were 2003, 1999, 1992, 1990, and 1987. The 2003 level of returns was $26.27 per 100 pounds beef produced above the average returns for the 1994 through 2003 time period. Figure 1 illustrates average returns, cash operating costs and total costs for the 1994 through 2003 time period.