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National Beef Month: Celebrating the Essential Role of American Cattle Ranchers

May is National Beef Month and represents a time to celebrate the hardworking cattle ranchers who feed our nation. 

Both the economic and cultural impacts of the American beef industry are extensive. With over 900,000 cattle and calf operations across the nationthe U.S. is the largest producer of beef in the world. It is a deeply engrained industry in American culture that is often misrepresented in mainstream media.  

Here are some interesting facts about the American beef industry: 

National Beef Month inspires us to show our appreciation for the cattle ranchers who work tirelessly every day to provide food for Americans. Despite past misconceptions of the American beef industry, cattle ranchers are beginning to receive recognition for their strides in sustainability. Through these efforts, it has been made clear American cattle ranchers take their role as stewards of their cherished land seriously. As a result, they are gaining increased respect and admiration for their important role in conservation efforts.  

The Economic Footprint of the American Beef Industry 

Quantifying the economic impact of the American beef industry provides intriguing insights into the extent of the industry’s influence. Some economic facts about the American beef industry include: 

Cattle Ranching and Environmental Stewardship 

Cattle ranchers are very concerned about protecting the environment and have implemented many measures to do so. According to a study by Oklahoma State Universitythe American beef industry has one of the lowest carbon footprints in the world. In fact, the beef cattle industry contributes only two percent of the overall U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. A variety of factors including advanced technology, animal management techniques, the quality of cattle feeds, and cattle genetics have contributed to this environmental triumph.  

Cattle ranchers are motivated to fight climate change because they are personally impacted by its repercussions. For instance, high temperatures incurred $1 billion in heat-related losses in 2011. Due to these challenges, cattle ranchers are taking measures to protect their cherished land.  

“Farmers and ranchers are the original conservationists. Environmental sustainability is at the forefront of their daily decisions on the ranch; if they don’t continuously consider factors like soil health and carbon sequestration, water and runoff management, dust control and methane capture, then they will not be able to raise healthy animals and stay in business.”  

– Marty Smith, Chair of NCBA’s Sustainability Goals Task Force 

Here are just a few ways American cattle ranchers have taken steps to protect the environment: 

Protecting the Land with Grazing

Through innovative agriculture techniques, the American cattle industry has not only minimized its carbon footprint but is actively contributing to mitigating the effects of climate change on our environment. One such regenerative practice is rotational grazing. When cattle graze on pastureland, it improves soil health by preventing erosion, improving carbon storage, and promoting biodiversity.  

“A lot of people are worried about carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Grazing provides storage – it stores the carbon in the soil.” 

 – Mike Williams, California Rancher 

In addition to supporting healthy soil, grazing also prevents wildfires. The combined benefits of grazing make it a powerful technique with bountiful impacts.  

“Today’s cattle producer may ride a horse – but they have a tablet in their saddlebag, leveraging precision agricultural technology to reduce environmental impact and maintain the highest quality in our product. The American beef industry is sustainable – but the current lack of dialogue and understanding between cattle producers and policymakers is not.”  

 – Marty Smith, Chair of NCBA’s Sustainability Goals Task Force  

AgAmerica Is a Proud Supporter of American Cattle Ranchers

Rooted in American agriculture, we understand the unique needs of farmers and ranchers nationwide. With volatile commodity pricing and shifting market demand, it can be challenging to support a successful operation. Our flexible financing equips cattle ranchers with the necessary capital to build and support an environmentally and economically sustainable operation. 

If you are interested in learning more about AgAmerica and how we can serve you, explore our financing solutions such as our operating lines of credit. 

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