Earth Day April 22, 2017
Ranchers celebrate Earth Day, every day
On April 22, 2017, millions of people interested in protecting and preserving the earth's environment will celebrate the 47th anniversary of Earth Day.
Earth Day was started on April 22, 1970 by Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin and is celebrated in over 100 different countries every year to remind people to appreciate nature and learn ways to protect our environment.
Some may take steps to reduce, reuse and recycle by replacing light bulbs with compact flurorescent bulbs or purchasing energy-efficient appliances.Others will adjust their thermostats or wash clothes in cold water. And, others can do their part by simply serving their families beef.
Cattle producers throughout the U.S. will also observe the day by incorporating similar strategies in their own households. But then they will pull on their work boots and step outside like they do every day to actively work with the environment and produce a product that clothes and feeds a cold and hungry world - while creating a global model for sustainability.
The steps farmers and ranchers take to improve the environment here in the U.S. aren't new. Like Earth Day, they have been around for many decades. In fact, as long as cattle have been raised, farming and ranching families have worked to protect and enhance the environment. In fact, more than 85 percent of farmers and ranchers say conserving environmental resources is important to their success.
The beef industry has made major strides in reducing the carbon footprint of beef. Compared to 30 years ago, each pound of beef raised in the U.S. today uses 20 percent less feed, 30 percent less land and 14 percent less water which means a 16 percent decrease in the carbon footprint of beef. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, livestock accounts for less than 3 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.
The average American farmer feeds about 155 people worldwide, compared to 26 just a few decades ago. Experts estimate global food production will need to increase 70 percent by 2050 to feed a growing world population.
Today's cattle producers provide more people with nutritious beef products using fewer natural resources than in the past. Approximately 85 percent of U.S. grazing lands are unsuitable for producing crops. Grazing animals on this land more than doubles the area that can be used to produce food, while enhancing habitat for wildlife and preventing brush fires.
American farmers and ranchers have embraced the values of Earth Day for generations. In honor of Earth Day's 46th anniversary, producers should celebrate all of the ways their work protects and enhances the environment.