Cattle Producer Expresses Concerns with ESG Negatively Impacting Beef Industry

Click here to listen to Ron Hays talk with Mike Smith about the ESG conversation’s impacts on cattle producers.

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. 

In today’s Beef Buzz, Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster, Ron Hays, is visiting with California cattle producer, Mike Smith, about the conversation on Environmental, Social and Governance. Smith talks about his apprehensions with ESG.

“My opinion is that corporate America, these publicly traded companies have way too much control and way too much power,” Smith said. “Those decisions, whether we are supposed to report greenhouse gas emissions, those are supposed to be hashed out via public debate. We should be talking about them, then if something needs to occur, that needs to be a legislative initiative.”

Smith said he views the ESG conversation as an example of corporate America dictating their power.

“I question the usefulness of the programs,” Smith said. “I get that there is this big hue and cry, we need to reduce our carbon footprint, we need to look at opportunities to be better environmental stewards, but I just question if these types of programs are actually going to work.”

Smith also voiced concerns about who these programs will actually benefit and said he feels like corporate America does not understand beef production.

“From the beef industry standpoint, my concern is they are doing these things without actually interacting with cattle producers,” Smith said.

Many of these requests, Smith said, are difficult for beef producers to carry out. An example of one goal Smith mentioned is for all cattle coming into packing plants to be naturally polled because they do not want the cattle industry to dehorn their cattle. Another potential rule he mentioned had to do with regulations on the amount of time those cattle are in transit.

“They are establishing these rules, and they are raising the bar in most instances, and or they are dictating to those of us in production what we are going to do, how we are going to do it, the timeline we are going to do it in, and in a lot of instances they are just not doable requests,” Smith. “I am of the opinion the industry needs to learn to push back.”

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.

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