The National Cattlemen's Beef Association has released “The Cattlemen's Stewardship Review: Connecting Our Vision and Values” a report that examines the social, economic and environmental impact of the U.S. cattle farming and ranching industries.
Funded by the Beef Checkoff Program, the review was developed, in part, because consumer research revealed that 74% of shoppers say that they are “very” or “somewhat” interested in knowing more about how beef is raised and who raises it.
“In response to this growing interest, U.S. cattlemen invested their beef checkoff dollars to gather information from research, public opinion surveys, farmer and rancher interviews and input from third-party experts, in order to create a starting point for continued discussion about the beef community's values and vision for the future,” the report explains.
The report includes detailed descriptions of the farm-to-table beef supply chain, the beef life cycle, recent developments in food safety, recent nutrition research, information about the industry's use of antibiotics and a discussion of the industry's conservation and land-management efforts.
Key talking points include:
U.S. cattlemen provide 20% of the world's beef with only 7% of the world's cattle
Since 1993, $30 million in beef checkoff funds have been used for food safety research and improvements.
Investments have been made in animal treatment as well. More than 90% of feedyard cattle are now raised under rules set by the Beef Quality Assurance program, a checkoff-funded program that sets standards for animal care and handling.
Between 1977 and 2007 the beef industry's carbon footprint shrank 18%, as farmers and ranchers raised 13% more beef with 13% fewer cattle. In addition, when compared to 1977, each pound of beef raised in 2007 used 20 percent less feed, 30 percent less land, 14 percent less water and 9 percent less fossil-fuel energy.
Cattle ranchers help manage and protect more than 500 million acres of permanent grassland in the United States.
“This review showcases the many roles cattlemen play and celebrates some of our successes to-date,” said Richard Gebhart, Oklahoma cattleman, University of Tulsa professor and vice-chair of the beef industry's Joint Issues Management Subcommittee.
The complete review is available for free at www.explorebeef.org.