Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Cattlemen.... True Stewards of the Land

Taste and safety is still the number one concern for consumers as they analyze their food choices. But today more than ever there is a growing concern on the environment and the ways agriculture affect it. During my Masters of Beef Advocacy course one of the many important sections that were covered was Environmental Stewardship. Today I will share how & why cattlemen preserve the land and a few facts that are always good to keep in your back pocket, you never know where a conversation will lead!
You'll notice that it is very common for ranching operations to have a history of several generations; that's because cattlemen have a deep respect for their operation and want to leave the land in the best condition possible so their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren can enjoy it in the many years to come.
Currently on my family's Hereford farm the cows are out grazing the pasture. This practice actually creates environmental benefits such as:
  • Limiting soil erosion by holding soil in place and curbing the impact of heavy rains.
  • Protecting wildlife. Many native species depending on farms for their habitat
  • Reducing the risk of wildfires by decreasing the amount of flammable material on grasslands
    • Side Note: Living in Wisconsin we don't have to worry too much about wildfires, but it's still important to understand it's a big concern in other parts of the country.
We carefully watch the land being grazed and rotate our cows to a different pasture so the field is not over burned. The pastureland provides carbon dioxide sequestration, which helps offset the overall U.S. CO2 submission.
Grazing cattle is an environmentally friendly practice. The ultimate benefits is that cattle are converting forages unsuitable for human consumption into a great tasting source of high-quality protein we need in a healthy diet. And as always consumers should feel confident that they can enjoy beef as part of a "green" and sustainable lifestyle.


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