Bill Rishel says Cattle Producers Have Always Been Sustainable- Even Before ESG Mandates

Click here to Ron Hays talk with Bill Rishel about potential ESG mandates implicating 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. 

Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster, Ron Hays, is visiting with Angus Breeder Bill Rishel about why the cattle industry needs to be paying attention to the ESG conversation.

“The more I researched ESG and studied it, the more I believed that it had already made great progress, but at the same time, there are unintended consequences, which so often happens,” Rishel said. “There are some things that certainly I think going forward are beneficial that we need to look at as an industry, but there are often unintended consequences that are major problems that always somehow rare their ugly head, and they cause everybody issues and problems when they don’t address in the right way.”

Many agendas to increase sustainability, Rishel said, go about it the wrong way by trying to make everything mandatory.

“In doing so, they really take away many of the opportunities that have made this country the great country it is in terms of food production, looking at it from animal agriculture, farming, all of the above,” Rishel said. “I am convinced that we are already leading the world in a lot of these categories and doing great work and will continue to do that. But I am against programs and efforts that take away freedom individual opportunity and the pursuit of excellence.”

Rishel referred to the cattle industry as the ‘original animal welfare people,’ because cattle producers would not be in business very long if they did not take care of their livestock and the land in the proper way.

“It is because of our good caretaking and those things that really makes our industry and animal agriculture what it is today,” Rishel said. “Same applies for row crops and farming. If you think about the conservation of water and irrigation systems today from what they were 20 or 30 years ago, it is phenomenal.”

Time has told a great story for the cattle industry, Rishel said, as taking part in these sustainability practices without them being mandated, has already substantially increased efficiency over the years.

“When you do things that are good and right, usually it makes you more efficient, usually you will be a little more profitable, and make some more money which is what we are all in the business for- to exist, and to be sustainable in business,” Rishel said. “When we do those things properly, they become the great paradigm shifts that change the course of the industry.”

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