Saturday, July 12, 2008

5 Reasons to Spring for Organic Meat

First off, I need to disclose that in a former life (i.e. before I met my husband) I was basically a vegetarian. I didn't like to eat a lot of meat (just didn't taste good) and then was a little freaked out about the whole concept of chewing on animal carcas. That said, I slowly incorporated meat into my diet for a variety of reasons over the years and now enjoy bacon, pepperoni on my pizza, turkey on my sandwich, meat sauce and even the occasional steak. There are a lot of compelling arguments for paying a price premium to buy organic meat - whether it's the treatment of the animals, the potential damage to field & stream, or the grossness that causes mad cow disease - just take your pick! Until now, I have largely ignored these reasons because in our grocery stores we do not have organic meat options. I knew there was no way to convince my husband to live the Veggie life, so I just chose not to think about it. Ignorance is bliss, right? I have compiled a list of the 5 Best Reasons to switch to organic meat (believe me, there are more than 5 reasons - these are just what did it for me). 1. Prevention of Mad Cow Disease: apparently a cause for the disease is fedding cattle ground up bits of other cattle (yes, cowabalism...gag! hurl!). Organic cattle are fed only 100% organic feed - with no ground up cow bits. 2. No antibiotics, added hormones, or genetically-modified feed or meat. I want to avoid this for the same reason I want to avoid it in my dairy products. The amount that can be passed on to humans through consumption may be "small" but it is also largely unstudied as far as long-term effects go. 3. Treatment of the animals. Look, I know they're all headed to the big slaughterhouse in the sky, or whatever, but the way animals are "raised" on Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFO's) would make your stomach turn. They are confined in spaces too small to turn around, standing in piles of their own manure and being fed a diet composed in part of their fellow species, along with a healthy dose of chemicals. Would it be flippant of me to create a bumper sticker - "Happy cows taste better!" 4. Damage to the environment. Yes, vegetarians will argue that cow flatulence is one of the biggest contributors to global warming. I'm not even going to go there. I just wanted to address the effect our current 'animal farming' system has on the environment. According to the CDC's website "Pollutants possibly associated with manure-related discharges at CAFOs include:
  • Antibiotics, which may contribute to the development of antibiotic-resistant pathogens
  • Pathogens, such as parasites, bacteria, and viruses, which can cause disease in animals and humans
  • Nutrients, such as ammonia, nitrogen, and phosphorus, which can reduce oxygen in surface waters, encourage the growth of harmful algal blooms, and contaminate drinking-water sources
  • Pesticides and hormones, which researchers have associated with hormone-related changes in fish
  • Solids, such as feed and feathers, which can limit the growth of desirable aquatic plants in surface waters and protect disease-causing microorganisms
  • Trace elements, such as arsenic and copper, which can contaminate surface waters and possibly harm human health

Researchers do not yet know whether or how these or other substances from CAFOs may affect human health. Therefore, CDC supports efforts to address these questions."

'Nuff said. 5. Support your neighbor. Buying local organic produce has impacts beyond your own individual household. Not only do you get fresh, healthy food, but you are supporting your local economy. To the right on my page you will find a link to Local Harvest where you can find organic growers near you. Using this website, I found two farms that sell organic beef, poultry and lamb all within a 30-minutes drive of my house. There is one remaining issue I would be remiss to leave unaddressed. Money. I am not going to lie, organic meat & eggs are more expensive. The organic eggs I just bought at Wal-Mart cost just over twice as much as our normal 12-pack. For meat, it's not quite as bad. The price of organic beef appears to be running right around 1.5x that of our local grocery. Now I am trying to do this economically, so I have two plans of attack for this month: a) I am going to try to go in with a few friends and buy some meat in bulk from our local producers, which will lower our price per pound and b) I am going to EAT LESS MEAT. Yes, you heard right. I think having one or two days a week that I commit to not eating meat of any kind is a great way to improve my family's health, try out new recipes (pasta anyone?!) and reduce the infamous "Carbon Footprint". Here is a link to a great article "Vegetarian is the New Prius" which explains a little about how meat production affects our planet. I have a couple of quick and easy weeknight recipes that are meat-free, healthy and economical:

1. Garlic beans & rice.
  • Make brown rice according to package directions (we make a whole box, but only use about half for this 'recipe')
  • Warm 1 Tbs Olive Oil over medium heat and sautee 1 or 2 cloves of chopped garlic until translucent - about 1 minute.
  • Rinse 1 or 2 cans (we like 2) of Red Kidney Beans and add to the garlic and oil. Sautee over medium heat until warmed through.
  • Serve garlic beans over rice with a side of steamd broccoli
2. Ridiculously Quick Pasta al Pomodoro. Bon Appetit!


gail jenner said...

I am a cattle rancher's wife and have to respond to your post. Some of your facts are badly skewed and I hope you will allow me to correct them.

First of all, we raise natural beef and sell natural beef. But even those ranchers who raise traditional, commerical beef do NOT "feed cow bits" to any beef animals. Not only has it been illegal in the U.S. to do that for well over 30 years, but NO U.S. raised beef animal has been found to carry any kind of Mad Cow disease. Every outbreak has come from cows that were raised in OTHER countries, then imported to this country. And those have been only in MILK cows, NEVER beef cows.

Beef in this country is raised on Hay, Pasture, and only in the last 30-45 days is it fed Grain. Cattle in the U.S. are humanely raised and are raised in wide open ranges or in pastures. The "feedlot" picture is only seen in the last 30-45 days (after a 12-15 month life spent in wide open spaces). WHOEVER has propogated the myth about a lifetime spent as feedlot beef has perpetuated a myth that is inaccurate and misleading.

Secondly, cattle are sometimes found ranging in the hills and mountains. WANT TO SEE SOME NATURAL FIRE RETARDANTS AT WORK????? CHECK OUT WHERE CATTLE ROAM.....Contrary to the MYTHS about cattle, where cattle are found in the mountains, the meadows are green and lush, the dry matter that burns so easily, is reduced drastically.

Cattle enhance the environment by recycling, fighting fires and reducing erosion. Cattle also enhance the environment by grazing areas that are not suitable for building houses, or growing food crops. This adds up to about 1.2 billion acres
(one-half the size of the United States, excluding Hawaii and Alaska). While grazing, cattle even
work to REDUCE erosion and improve the grass. They aerate the soil with their hooves, allowing oxygen, water and other nutrients to enter the ground more easily, just like bison a hundred + years ago.

They also push needed seed into the ground and provide a natural fertilizer. Cattle serve as Natural and responsible and EFFECTIVE fire-fighters; their grazing helps prevent the spread of wildfires by reducing the length of grass. Plus, did you know the components from their blood are utilized to
MANUFACTURE fire retardants, as well?????

Cattle are some of our BEST recyclers. They not only digest cellulose which is indigestible by humans, but they also eat non-edible by-products of food production such as potato skins, fruit pits, almond hulls and sugar beet pulp. This helps greatly reduce the amount of waste that goes into our nation’s landfills.

COWS ARE AMAZING ANIMALS and the Bad PRESS they've gotten in the last 5 years is a terrible and ridiculous mythology. There were once more than 65 MILLION bison that roamed the Great Plains. Cows are in the same family of animals and work in CONCERT with the environment. Where damage has been done 50 or more years ago, there has been tremendous recovery. RANCHERS and FARMERS love their animals and also love the environment where they live.

There are OVER 900 BY-PRODUCTS that come from BEEF, too. From the components found in asphalt, photographic film, medicines and pharmaceuticals, including shampoos and lotions, to sports equipment, etc., the COW is a marvelous and amazing animal. Not only that, but the nutrition found in beef is more and more clearly found to be part of good health.

Women who find it difficult to get pregnant are often lacking the trace minerals that cannot be found in any other meat source; the heme-iron in beef is the most superior form and even accelerates the digestion of minerals, etc., taken in from other sources. It is a powerful source of zinc, too, and in this country, women and children are often lacking sufficient quantities of zinc and iron.

This in addition to being a LOW_FAT food. A 3-oz. serving of lean beef is SUPERIOR to lean chicken and there is even evidence supporting the research that there is a component in beef that helps FIGHT breast cancer, too.

There is so much more I can tell you about beef. I just wish people would really study the facts and not just respond to the myriad of fairy-tales being promoted by people who have an agenda that goes way beyond beef as a food.

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

gail jenner said...

Hello again! I went back through your original post and saw that there were some thoughts I had not responded to. I wanted to do that before 'shutting down for the night!'

Here is some recent research on questions people have about beef and hormones/antibiotics:

How are animal antibiotics used by beef producers? Are they used preventatively?

Antibiotics, administered through either injections or in feed, are used to treat and control the spread of illnesses such as pneumonia, bacterial
infections and diseases of the intestinal tract. Beef producers work in conjunction with veterinarians, following the Producer Guidelines for Judicious Use of Antimicrobials, which outline the appropriate uses for antibiotics. Just like any medication, a recommended dosage is part of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval process for antibiotics. It is important to treat sick animals because healthy animals lead to safe and wholesome food.

When working quickly to treat sick cattle, producers consult veterinarians to administer the correct type and amount of medication. Using antibiotics
as a widespread preventative measure is not only bad veterinary practice, it is simply too expensive.

Does using antibiotics in beef production have an effect on human health? A recent peer reviewed study in the Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy
found little evidence that antibiotic use in animals poses a risk to human health. Additionally, federal law mandates that no meat sold in the United
States may contain antibiotic residues that violate the FDA‚s scientifically established standards. Antibiotics used in beef cattle must go through a rigorous scientific testing process before receiving approval from the FDA. However, let it be said that more and more ranchers are using antibiotics ONLY when absolutely necessary and they are using fewer and fewer all the time. Likewise, many ranchers eliminated hormone implants years ago and that trend continues. Thus, beef is truly a CLEAN meat source, for the most part.

There are thousands of cases of food-borne illnesses and reactions to more foods OTHER than beef, including shellfish, nuts, etc., that can be really deadly for people. More people die from other kinds of food allergies and/or mishandling of food, than from beef. Somehow, however, beef gets the BIG press!?

Do growth promotants leave any hormones in the beef when it is used? There is very little difference in the amounts of estrogen found in beef from cattle raised with or without growth promoting hormones. The amount of estrogen in each is miniscule ˆ 1.9 versus 1.3 nanograms per serving.

Interestingly, the human body naturally produces far more estrogen than is found in commonly eaten foods, including beef. For instance, an adult woman
produces about 253,000 times MORE estrogen every day than is found in a 3-ounce serving of beef.

If you want, check out my blog:

MomStillLearning said...

Hi Gail,
First of all, I want to thank you very much for taking the time to read and respond so thoroughly to my posts. It is definitely not my intent to print misinformation of any kind, and I'm looking into the info you posted.
I am not advocating "Beef is Bad" at all, but I think that consumers should be more aware of where they are buying there beef from. I absolutely support eating some meat and the thought of cows grazing on a hillside seems very eco-friendly to me. I am very excited to begin to support our local cattle farmers, who grass-finish their beef, rather than buying en masse from Wal-Mart.

I have read that cases of Mad Cow have been documented in the U.S. as recently as 2003 & 2005.
( Is that incorrect? Also, why do Europeans boycott our beef? I was under the impression that our testing standards for mad cow are ridiculously low compared with other countries?

If you would like to put together a "counter-point" of 5 reasons NOT to buy organic meat, I would be happy to consider printing it on the blog :)
Looking forward to learning more!


Chele said...

Well, Em this was definitely an interesting blog entry. lol!

Rick would side completely with your other poster. He grew up in a ranching family and community and has bitched on and off over the years about the news spinning things their way for more impact and ratings. He would agree that there is an incredible amount of misinformation out there regarding beef. Since he's lived the ranching life, I tend to believe him rather than what I hear or necessarily read. This is one area of green that I doubt Rick/we will ever convert to.

The blog entry is great! It's got everyone thinking about both sides of the issue. Oh, and we buy locally not from Wally World. We don't like the meats at Wally world. lol!

gail jenner said...

Hello Emily! It took me a day to put this together, but let it first be said, I'm not saying NOT to eat organic meat! First of all, WE raise organic beef and as a wife, mother, rancher, teacher, writer, concerned citizen, I want the best for my family -- as do you and everyone!

What I was responding to was the list you gave; the items were NOT based on facts, but on fear. I hope you will check out my blog:

I apologize for making this such a long entry! But here goes anyway ....

1. In regards to Mad Cow Disease or BSE: Check out the 2007 Center for Global Food Issues website:

"With many special interest groups hoping to benefit by generating public alarm over mad cow disease, facts can be quite hard to find. Even the name "mad cow" has been used because of the emotional reaction it produces. The real name for mad cow disease, after all, is Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, BSE. Despite the detection of a single case of the disease in the United States, BSE does not present a public health risk for the American population. Through, the Center for Global Food Issues hopes to provide concerned beef consumers with credible mad cow disease facts and related variant vCJD from recognized academic and industry experts."
"’To become infected with vCJD you would need to eat an enormous amount of brain, which is not possible.’ French Prion Researcher, Dr Jean-Philippe Deslys"

BSE is a chronic degenerative disease that affects the central nervous system of cattle. Cattle can become infected with BSE by eating feed contaminated with the infectious BSE agent. In 1997 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration prohibited the use of most mammalian protein in the manufacture of animal feed intended for cattle and other ruminants. BSE is not a contagious disease. There is no evidence that the disease is transmitted through direct contact or animal-to-animal spread. BTW, there is no easy test for the disease, only a post-mortem autopsy, and that is true worldwide.

As to other bacteria: According to USDA, 35.2% of chicken broiler samples contained salmonellae; 12% of pork contained salmonellae; 1.8% beef samples contained salmonellae.

2. What do you mean ‘modified’ beef? There is no modified beef. Cattle are vegetarians and their meat is actually very clean and easily digestible. It is full of trace minerals, plus protein, iron, which is the BEST kind of heme-iron which augments the body’s ability to absorb other minerals, zinc, selinium, and other things—many of which our children are suffering from a lack of in this country! IN fact, check out my blog on this very issue.

Primary causes of food contamination come from HANDLING of food, or improper handling, and storage – not in the food itself. As to pesticide residues, there are more micrograms of naturally occurring carcinogens in one cup of coffee or slice of bread than in beef.

As to the use of hormones, more and more ranchers are avoiding any and all growth hormones, however, implants have the same effect on cattle as natural hormones produced by the animal’s body. In truth, the use of them produces leaner meat. Even a man’s body produces 15,000 TIMES more estradiol in a day than he ingests in a pound of meat, and a woman's produces several MILLION more times that amount. Europe’s distrust of hormones, btw, stems from the use of ILLEGAL stimulants a number of years ago, called DES, found in veal calves raised in ITALY, not the U.S. DES was been banned in the U.S., but as a result of Italy’s scandal, all imported beef had to be hormone-free.

But, again, producers on a large scale have stopped using any growth stimulants in their cattle, and others will continue to do so.

As to pesticides used in the U.S., far more are used in vegetables and plants than in animal production, but there are also thousands of times more natural pesticides in our environment than man-made; these include natural "toxic chemicals" that appear in plants and serve to protect them against fungi, insects and animal predators, as per a report by Biochemistry Dept., UC Berkeley, 1987.

3. Regarding the "humane treatment of cattle", animal welfare is a HUGE issue for most cattlemen! Basically, herds are kept on ranges and in pastures, not "holed" up somewhere.

Even time in the feedlots, if/when sent there, are for a limited time, perhaps 30-45 days. And most -- I wish I could say all -- these feedlots are characterized by large open lots. Not only do ranchers and producers care about their animals for the animals’ sakes, but "abuse and neglect of animals constitute or lead to severe stress and thus are clearly counter-productive; this practice by farmers would be just as clearly irrational," states Dr. Stanley E. Curtis, University of Illinois. And, according to Dr. Gene Rouse, Iowa State University, "We need to provide the best care in order to get maximum gain and the most efficiency."

But most of all, "We wouldn’t be in the business if we didn’t like animals," states Connie Grieg, Chairman of the NCA Animal Care subcommittee. One animal health expert, Dr. John B. Herrick reported, "I think the health of our cattle population is better than that of our human population."

4. Cattle are ABSOLUTELY "environmentally friendly" and are efficient recyclers!! Oh, this myth is so ridiculous!!!!

Most of the feed they consume is forage and grass/hay or byproducts, but not grain. And only 15% of all feed grains produced in the U.S. are fed to beef cattle. Cattle, or bovine, are ruminants, with four stomachs, just like the buffalo, thus they have the ability to convert forage and roughage, including discarded agricultural byproducts, eg: almond hulls, potato remnants, sugar beet pulp, corn stalks, grain screenings, oil seed residues, brewers’ grain and millers’ residues, then convert them into human food. They can use wheat and other grains that have been discarded because of early sprouting or as a result of adverse weather conditions. What better way to recycle what would otherwise by waste products? Harmless, natural, then converted into a sound and wonderful food. God made a miracle when He created the Cow . Cattle can also take dry matter in rangelands or on hillsides that are actually FIRE HAZARDS and convert them into muscle/meat.

Grass-fed cattle live in regions NOT conducive to crop production, whether because of elevation, water-accessiblity, or climate/topography. In fact, of the 2.27 billion acres of land in the total U.S., about 470 million are listed as cropland; approximately 19% of that is used for feed grain production, thus there is NO LARGE DISPLACEMENT of acreage from production of human food into production of feed fo animals. More than 85% of all grazing lands in the U.S. are actually not suited to crop cultivation.

Again, rather than consuming HUMAN food stuffs, almost 85% of the nutrients they consume comes from unusable (edible) sources or from regions not suitable for farming.

As far as water "consumption" and production of beef:
It takes 200 gallons of water to produce a pound of hamburger, but it takes 39,090 gallons to manufacture a car; 11.6 gallons to process one chicken; 1,500 gallons to process a barrel of beer; 1,851 gallons to refine a barrel of crude oil; 28,100 gallons to process a ton of cane sugar; and it takes 9.3 gallons to process one CAN OF VEGETABLES. It takes 137 gallons of water to produce a pound of irrigated wheat.

As to land that COULD BE a BETTER utilized RESOURCE (But which extreme enviros have eliminated), especially on this HUNGRY PLANET, is the issue of rangeland. More than 1.1 billion acres are listed as grazing land, roughly one half of the entire area of the U.S. Out of that 787 million acres are considered rangelands (and 82% of these rangelands are located in the 17 western states); 131 million acres are pasturelands; 157 million are grazed forest lands and 64 millions acres are croplands. More than 85% of all grazing lands are not suited for crop production, according to the USDA.

Grazing rangelands is an environmentally SOUND management tool, however; it converts dry matter, that could be called FIRE HAZARD, into a meaningful food source; ruminants can convert the roughage easily into muscle/meat.

According to one Oregon range manager, "Without controlled grazing, the forage on public lands will become wolfy (Not succulent), [and] big game will move to private lands." Moreover, grazing protects the environment by "building soils, protecting water and riparian areas, and enhancing habitat." In Canada, ranchers and farmers are PAID to take cattle, sheep, and goats into the mountains to help protect from major wildfires.

Wouldn’t that be a great PROTECTION tool for OUR mountain and hill regions????? Especially in 2008 as the West burns up.....where, oh where, are those cows now?????

As to the relationship of cattle to wildlife?

More than 75% of ALL WILDLIFE in the U.S. (excluding Alaska) is supported by PRIVATE, NOT PUBLIC land. Private land, eg: ranches and farmlands, provide habitat, water, wetlands, and food for big game and waterfowl. In the eastern U.S., that figure increases considerably; almost all wildlife is dependent on private lands. Most of the spawning and rearing habitat for migrating fish also occur on PRIVATE ranch lands. Yet we've been condemned over and over.....

From 1960 – 1990, it was estimated by BLM that public lands (rangelands) had seen a marked improvement in habitat and herd restoration: elk populations increased by nearly 800%, big horn sheep by 435%; antelope, by 112%, moose by 500%; and deer by 33%.

Note: Their hooves act to stir the soil, move and transplant grass seed. They do not overgraze, by nature; they roam naturally and continually. They are also creatures of habit, crossing streams in a line, not damaging the banks like many people assume. MOREOVER, according to recent studies, GRASS-FED BEEF ARE BELIEVED TO HELP REVERSE THE GREEHNOUSE EFFECTS. Pastures and grasslands store carbon, vs. releasing it into the atmosphere!

As to nutritional value, the nutrient content of 1 lb. of beef is superior to humans for its mineral/protein content than the 4.1 lbs. of grain or the 20.3 lbs. of grass used to produce that 1 pound of beef. In addition, the fossil fuel energy used to produce 70 lbs. of beef (retail) is equivalent to 12-25 gallons of gasoline per year.

As to global methane production, this argument is really up for grabs!

According to Texas A & M University experts, cattle are NOT a significant contributor; it is responsible for 2.9 Tg per year – which translates to about 0.5% of the total estimated world production of methane each year. Only 7% of world methane production likely comes from cattle. Driving to the store to shop for groceries accounts for 100 times MORE "greenhouse gas" than a hamburger. Moreover, centuries of buffalo/bison across the North American continent would have been just as culpable as today’s cattle.

In addition, claims that U.S. forest land converted to grazing/farm lands has been spurred on by cattle, are misleading. Between 1900 and 1980, the number of U.S. forest lands converted to other uses was 64 million acres; in fact, forest land decreased by only 9 percent. Millions of forest lands are reforested every year, which means that timber is a resource that is being conserved, not used up.

Much more important and significant have been the conversion of woodland and FARMLAND lands into urban HUMAN development. Farmers are under attack in this area and succumbing daily.

5. As to helping neighbors, by all means, YES! But recognize that MOST producers do NOT live near large population centers and cannot participate in open farm markets! They are dependent on the market price they get and they have little control over those variables. Animals and plants cannot be set on a shelf to 'wait out the bad times....' Unfortunately, agriculturalists have to make it despite the double-digit increases in costs, etc., with the dips in income. Helping one's neighbor might really mean giving credit to ranchers and farmers who voluntarily work for the improvement of habitat (at their own expense) and for the improved quality of their products.

In truth, support for agriculture is more important than ever. More than 75 farmers leave the business daily; agriculturalists represent less than 2% of our total U.S. population, and YET, 1 out of every 4 jobs is dependent on farmers/ranchers. ALSO, agriculture constitutes the most efficient and positive aspect of our export trade balance. In CA alone, agriculture is the #1 industry and if CA were a country, it would be 6th in the world. At the same time, farmers and ranchers there are facing increasing regulations about water use, development pressures, taxation and fees payable to the state, and very LITTLE support from the average consumer.

And yet, cattle sales actually represent one of the largest portions of the total farm market sales; cattle are produced on farms and ranches in more states than any other agricultural commodity, and is the largest segment of the farm economy. Unfortunately, prices for live animals are WAY DOWN and farmers/producers in this country are quickly falling into the lowest economic category. Rural poverty rates are higher and on the increase; more farm wives work outside the home than in any other ‘occupation’. The average farm/ranch in the U.S. is about 400+ acres and MOST corporations are FAMILY-OWNED (in fact, more than 95% of them!). These are not huge conglomorates taking over the world of agriculture; these are neighbors and generations of farm families who are beginning to go under.

U.S. Cattle and Beef Industry, 2002-2007

* Retail equivalent value of U.S. beef industry:
2002: $60 billion
2003: $63 billion
2004: $70 billion
2005: $71 billion
2006: $71 billion
2007: $74 billion

It would be good for consumers to also know that some 97-99% of EVERY ANIMAL is used, whether as food or in some byproduct. Some of the lesser known byproducts supplied by beef animals include: fats and fatty acids for cellophane, ceramics, cosmetics, crayons, detergents, insecticides, insulation, linoleum, paints, plastics, shaving cream, textiles, floor wax. Material from hooves and horns is used in making piano keys, combs, imitation ivory. Hair from cattle goes into brushes; leather goods are important in sports equipment, boots, luggage, upholstery. Collagen is used in adhesives, wallpaper, and other products. Gelatin is used in photographic film and other products. Fats go into heavy lubricants, while tallow is used in the steel and textile industries. Glycerin goes into nitroglycerin. Blood is used in pigments and other kinds of manufacturing. Insulin is used for diabetics, although synthetic insulin is growing in popularity. Cortisone is used for pain and arthritis and other kinds of treatments. Epinephrine is used to arrest hemorrhage and for other purposes. Thrombin from the blood is used in producing blood coagulants. ACTH, from the pituitary gland, is used in treating anemia. Beef aorta valves are used in heart surgery.

Some of the sources I’ve used include: reports/resources produced by Cornell University, Texas A & M University, University of Illinois, USDA reports, State and County Soil Conservation District materials, Department of Animal Science, Iowa State University, EPA materials, FDA materials, Department of Food Microbiology and Toxicology, University of Wisconsin, and many others.

FINALLY, here is a list of recent facts released about agriculture!

In the United States, 98 percent of farms are family farms.

Greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture decreased 4.2 percent from 2001 to 2006.

From 1990 to 2005, overall methane emissions decreased 11.5 percent.

Most large feedlot owners have a dedicated environmental engineer either on staff or on contract who ensures the operation is in compliance with strict government regulations
This year, 46,000 upland acres of private land, mostly on working farms and ranches, were restored to benefit the grizzly bear.

U.S. consumers spend a smaller percent of their disposable income on groceries than consumers anywhere else in the world.

This year, 120,000 acres of private land, mostly on working farms and ranches, were restored to benefit the bald eagle. In the Eastern and Central United States, wildlife is almost entirely dependent on ranch, farm and other private lands; so, ranchers play an important role in the survival of native species.

Grazing cattle can minimize the invasion of non-native plant species.

Farmers’ and ranchers’ landowner agreements restored or enhanced 445,000 acres and 885 river miles of habitat for fish and wildlife.

Today's American farmer feeds about 144 people worldwide.

Today versus 1960: 1.8 million less farms are feeding a U.S. population that has increased 61 percent.

Controlling dust has been a priority land-management practice on cattle operations for generations.

Agricultural productivity in the United States has more than doubled in the past 50 years.

Grazing cattle reduces the risk of wildfires by decreasing the amount of flammable material on the land.

Because 85 percent of U.S. grazing lands are unsuitable for producing crops, grazing animals more than doubles the area that can be used to produce food.

Rangelands and pastures provide forage and habitat for numerous wildlife species, including 20 million deer, 500,000 pronghorn antelope, 400,000 elk and 55,000 feral horses and burros.

Cattle serve a valuable role in the ecosystem by converting the forages humans cannot consume into a nutrient-dense food.

Last year, more than 2,000 ranchers and farmers entered into landowner agreements with the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program.

About a billion acres, or 55 percent of the total land surface in the United States, is rangeland, pasture and forages

Calculate your personal greenhouse gas emissions using EPA’s calculator:
EPA’s Clean Water Act sets forth requirements for protecting our nation’s water resources. Animal manures are a valuable fertilizer and soil conditioner.

Beef producers consider the rate of growth and consumption of plants in a given area when deciding how to rotate cattle to new pastures.

Cattle grazing plays an important role in maintaining the wetland habitat necessary for some endangered species.

The United States has 16 million more acres of forestland than it did in 1920.