Global warming has been a long debated issue. Scientists to this day cannot determine an exact cause of it. The answer may simply be that there is no exact cause, but rather a host of causes that have too many uncontrollable variables to pinpoint. Some will tell you that automobiles are the cause, other that the earth is naturally warming, and yet others think that cattle burping methane is the cause of global warming. It seems far fetched to think that cattle are the sole cause as some want you to believe but then again cars or natural warming cycles are not the sole cause either. The combination of all of these and many more play into the additive effect. The United Nations Food & Agriculture Organization (UNFAO) released, in 2006, a publication entitled Livestock’s Long Shadow. This publication portrayed a very unrealistic and bad picture of agriculture animal production, some even feel the numbers are skewed.
With the amount of publicity that agriculture in the negative light, it is no wonder society questions our practices and commitment to the environment. I have been approached by some different consumers at different times with regard to the environment. Their questions have ranged from greenhouse gas output to how farmers are working to be more sustainable.
Let us look at some different accomplishments achieve recently. Straight to you from a survey from Washington State in 2007, compared to 1977, beef producers
- Raise 13% more beef from 30% fewer cattle
- Produce 16% less carbon emissions
- Use 33% less land
- Require 12% less water
Those are some amazing accomplishments, all working to reduce our environmental impact. There have been other advancements. For example, no-till planting. No-till is designed to reduce erosion, keeping the soil where it belongs. There are countless other examples of improvements to the environment that farmers and ranchers are working towards.
When talking to consumers, I like to find out what interests/concerns them. It always seems like they are more attentive and are more adept to engaging in the conversation when it focuses around their concerns. After acknowledging their concerns, I try and talk about the background behind their concern and what farmers and ranchers are doing to specifically address their concerns. Cool fun short facts and improvement seem to be what they are looking for, they do not seem to expect the world instantly to change at their request.
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Until Next Time, Go BEEF