Editor’s note- Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster Ron Hays was at Day One of the 2023 International Livestock Congress in Houston where the total focus was on the impact of ESG to Beef cattle. Over the next several Beef Buzz reports, Hays will explore what was discussed at the Congress as it relates to Cattle and this exploding concept.
Sustainability in the beef cattle business is a topic that has grown in importance as it is advancing faster now with the ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) conversation as well as commitments for net-zero and climate neutrality that have been made by many companies and organizations.
Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster, Ron Hays, is back talking with Colorado State University Feedlot Systems Specialist, Dr. Sara Place, about the ESG conversation and what it means for those in the cattle industry.
Place said she believes that climate neutrality is potentially achievable.
“When you think about climate neutrality and beef, it is really about cutting methane emissions from cattle in ways that are practical, and ways that make economic sense will help get us there,” Place said.
To achieve climate neutrality by 2040, Place said one important factor will be more technologies that are commercially available. Economics will play another role, Place added, in making sure those technologies can be accessed out in the pasture or in a feed yard.
“It makes economic sense that you get a payment basically, right, in some cases for reducing methane, because you are creating another commodity when you do that,” Place said.
One of the reasons the beef industry does not account for a large percentage of emissions, Place said, is because of the efficiency of the U.S. beef system.
“The things that cattle producers do on a daily basis- everything from making sure the nutrition is right for your cows, having good reproduction, feeding your animals right, doing a good job, with health management- that all contributes to lowering greenhouse gas emissions and just reducing the resources it takes to produce beef,” Place said.
Aside from prioritizing the sustainability conversation, Place said it is also critical to acknowledge the importance of beef as a nutritionally rich food.
“At a population level, having a certain amount of animal source foods, or meat, milk, eggs, fish, is really critical to make sure we don’t have micronutrient deficiencies in a population,” Place said. “We sometimes say animal protein, and that sometimes does a disservice to everything else that animal source foods are bringing to the diet.”
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Ag Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR for today’s show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.