“Green” has become a watchword during this dawning political season. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s “Green New Deal” is an example.
Another is New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plan to cut meat consumption in schools and other public facilities throughout his city. The idea is part of de Blasio’s own “New York City’s Green New Deal,” which seeks to reduce purchases of beef by 50 percent in city-run programs. It’s all part of a process to combat global warming.
What a joke, and especially coming from the mayor of a city that must have an incredibly adverse effect on the environment. It’s just another baseless attack on an industry that is so important here in the nation’s midsection.
Of course, the top cattle-producing states in America are far from de Blasio’s offices in New York City, so they are an easy target.
Said National Cattleman’s Beef Association President Jennifer Houston, as quoted by CNBC: “Lately, we’ve been the flavor of the month to combat the environment, and people are not really looking into the true facts of it.”
Cattle do indeed produce methane through their necessary bodily functions – defecation and flatulence, for instance. But studies are showing that the impact isn’t as high as once thought – or as high as some would lead us to believe.
For example, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Ag Research Service last year released data that show greenhouse gas emissions from cattle are actually quite low – only 3.3 percent of all US greenhouse gas emissions. That came after five years of analysis of seven cattle-producing regions.
“We found that greenhouse gas emissions in our analysis were not all that different from what other credible studies had shown and were not a significant contributor to long-term global warming,” concluded Alan Rotz, an agricultural engineer who led the study.
Again: 3.3 percent of greenhouse gas emission comes from the beef industry. By comparison, transportation and electricity generation together made up 56 percent of the total greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.
All told, agriculture accounts for about 9 percent of greenhouse gas emissions, according to the study.
Texas has the nation’s most cattle, at 12.5 million head. Other states in the Top 10 are Nebraska, Kansas, California, Oklahoma, Missouri, Iowa, South Dakota, Wisconsin and Colorado.
In Minnesota, there are 2.4 million head of cattle; in North Dakota, 1.8 million.
Aside from California, most of America’s beef is produced inland – roughly from Wisconsin to Colorado. Yet many adverse comments and efforts come from places far from cattle country, in smoky and smoggy cities where they obviously don’t understand the impact of agriculture on the nation’s economy.
Nor do they grasp that the end result of the beef and agriculture industry – feeding the world – is worth its impact on the environment.