Though I find the image of people who consume a disproportionate share of the world’s resources criticising those who produce one of the few essential in life (food) distasteful, I am not sure whether telling them that they are hypocrites will necessarily do much for our case. It’s probably time to recognise that the way forward in this battle for headlines is to meet like with like.
If celebrities are so influential, and use their platform to promote their latest beliefs, we probably need to spend time and effort to get these people onto farms and ranches to experience the benefits of genuinely sustainable production, understand the complexities involved in managing for soil health and water services, the complementarity between livestock and crops, and role of grazing lands in biodiversity, and the importance of animal sourced food in human nutrition. It’s a big ask, but we have a much more engaging and interesting industry to show them than the factories and laboratories that hope to disrupt the food world.
Opinion: Hollywood Hypocrites at the Golden Globes
By Senator Deb Fischer, Agri Pulse | January 13, 2020
At the 77th Golden Globes Awards last week, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association publicized their commitment to combating climate change and “saving the world” by way of an anti-meat crusade. For the first time in the award show’s history, the HFPA offered a menu that completely snubbed real meat. The association’s president said in a statement that the plant-based menu raises awareness around “small changes that have a greater impact.”
The claim promotes a meatless diet as a north star for a world-conscious, sustainable, and morally noble lifestyle. But stunts like this are not only hypocritical, they are overly simplistic and lead people further away from real practices that could help reduce carbon emissions.
America’s ranchers and producers have been a popular target for blame from climate change activists. A number of these attacks stem from the false assertion that livestock is the largest source of greenhouse gases.
However, the Environmental Protection Agency states that all of U.S. agriculture contributes to a mere nine percent of greenhouse gas emissions, with animal agriculture less than half of this amount at below four percent. This pales in comparison to transportation emissions, which accounts for 28 percent.
Freshwater Proposals Could Cost Sheep and Beef Farmers Millions
By Esther Taunton, Stuff | January 13 2020
The bill for sheep and beef farmers to meet proposed freshwater standards has been "grossly underestimated" and could run into the millions per farm, research shows.
Beef and Lamb New Zealand wants the Government to reconsider its controversial freshwater proposals after research found the cost to farmers would be much higher than first estimated.
Rural consultancy firm BakerAg put the total cost of meeting the proposed changes at between $2.4m and $3.4m per farm over 10 years, significantly more than the Ministry for the Environment's estimate of $148,500 over a decade.
Integrate Cattle Info
By John Maday, Bovine Veterinarian | January 3, 2020
The U.S. beef industry has, for decades, known that better collaboration between the cow-calf, stocker and feeding sectors could benefit animal health, performance and beef quality. And while numerous alliances and cooperative agreements have had some success in coordinating practices and sharing information up and down the production chain, progress has remained slow.
Overall incidence of feedlot morbidity, particularly due to bovine respiratory disease, has not declined, while cattle feeders and their consultants still struggle with large numbers of high-risk calves with unknown [LT1] health backgrounds.
To address these issues, the feedlot veterinarians with Production Animal Consultation (PAC) have embarked on a plan to partner with their colleagues from the cow-calf and stocker sectors, sharing data, experiences, ideas and outcomes.‘Positive Disruption’ Good For Livestock Industry
Kenosha News | January 2, 2020
Like much of agriculture, the world’s livestock industry has seen its fair share of innovation over the past 20 years, dramatically changing the way ranchers raise their animals.
Sometimes, said a group of industry leaders, that innovation creates a “positive disruption.”
“The disruption that is on the horizon is real-time information,” Nicola Shadbolt, a professor at Massey University who spoke at a recent meeting of the Global Agenda on Sustainable Livestock at Kansas State University, said in a university news release.
“A rancher can get access to information that can help them make (an important) decision out on the farm. Consumers have access to information when making a purchase. There is power in having real-time information.”
Shadbolt was one of five members of a panel that was speaking about innovation in the livestock industry during the annual meeting.
Panelist Scott Hutchins, the deputy undersecretary of research, education and economics for the USDA, said some of the positive disruptions he’s seen in the livestock industry have focused on four themes:
Advanced genetics (such as gene editing and related technologies), Digital agriculture, Artificial intelligence (which is helping scientists find cures for disease more quickly), Whole farm management.
Betting on Beef
By Nicole Erceg, High Plains Journal | January 1, 2020
We can’t enjoy the mountaintop views without first crossing the valleys.
The headlines in national media paint a scary picture: “By 2030, the U.S. dairy and cattle industry will have collapsed, as microbial protein factories take over.”
It may look like dim prospects for our beef community, but numbers just don’t lie.
In the last decade, cattlemen have made significant progress in the quality of the product we provide to consumers. The industry averaged 61% Choice and 3% Prime in 2010. We’ll close out 2019 with 71% of cattle grading Choice and 8.5% Prime, with twice as much Premium Choice.
Consumers have tasted the progress and they like it.