Scott Yager Says its Important to Showcase Cattle's Role in Preserving the EnvironmentFri, 14 Feb 2020 11:59:50 CST
Climate change is always a hot topic on Capitol hill, and always something beef producers have to watch.
Chief Environmental Council, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association Scott Yager, says there is always lots of interest in moving climate change legislation, and this year is no different.
Right now, the House Energy and Commerce Committee has put out a climate change bill called the Clean Future Act, and that is just one of the many pieces of legislation that deal with climate policy. Yager says his job is to oppose misguided climate policies that negatively impact beef cattle producers, " The good news is that it's had some success. The Green New Deal went down in flames last year, so that failed in the Senate, and the House actually never took it up, but the house has all kinds of other bills that they're working on. So we're using our advocacy as a platform to oppose those bad policies. Still, we're just not going in there raining on everybody's parade. We're also talking about how cattle are part of the climate solution."
In a move to be proactive, Yager and his team have developed a set of talking points for cattle producers to use to defend the cattle industry against critics. Yager said some of the highlights of those talking points include the fact that US Beef greenhouse gas emissions are 10 to 50 times lower than other regions of the world. Yager said they've also reduced emissions from beef cattle by 30%, "Through improved genetics and technologies, areas that continue to improve over time and ruminants differ from industrial greenhouse gas because cattle recycle co2, by a national carbon cycle. Cattle eat grass, they belch methane, but that methane breaks down in the atmosphere back into a co2 molecule that's taken up by the grass through photosynthesis. So is all part of a closed natural cycle."
Yager says that is different from extraction industries because the methane that's from cattle has been here forever. As far as Cattle as a climate solution, Yager said itís important to showcase cattle's role in enhancing and preserving the environment as consumers become concerned about climate change, "90% of what cattle eat is not edible to humans. The United States is natural landscape that allows cattle to graze without deforestation. That deforestation piece is a big concern. You see it a lot because of what's happening in South America with the Amazon rainforest, that's not a concern we have the United States because our landscape was effectively built for cattle grazing. Grasslands carbon storage increases with cattle grazing. Cattle grazing that grass actually improves, and deepens the root systems of those grasses, and those root systems contain more carbon than what had been there without cattle."
Click on the LISTEN BAR below to hear the complete interview with Scott Yager as he talks With Ron Hays.
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