Encouraging Sustainable Beef Production
To state that “beef is bad for the environment” would be an inaccurate generalization. Instead, the focus should be on how that beef is produced. Cattle raised using proper management techniques on the right grazing lands can form an important part of a sustainable food production ecosystem; range-fed cattle can even bring lands that would otherwise be of marginal utility into service for food production. Range lands also have additional critical functions in ecosystem management, providing wildlife habitat and migratory corridors, rainwater infiltration and water collection systems.
Technological data mapping can assist in the shift towards “regenerative” grazing that will minimize environmental impacts of beef production. An example of this is PastureMap, [http://pasturemap.com] ranch management software that assists livestock producers with their grazing plans. In its mission of “building healthy grasslands,” it also collects data on the grazing of animals and other information that can be made available to consumers and supply chains to enable informed decisions in beef purchases.
Although concerns are warranted over the contributions of agriculture towards global emissions, properly managed regenerative grazing is among the methods that can minimize these effects. For another perspective, see: The role of ruminants in reducing agriculture’s carbon footprint