Last month the New York Times ran an opinion piece entitled, Meet the People Getting Paid to Kill Our Planet, which targeted livestock producers and the cattle industry.
Farmers and ranchers nationwide criticized the piece as being riddled with misinformation and lacking credible sources.
Cameron Mulrony, Executive Vice President of the Idaho Cattle Association, says the goal of every cattle producer is to have green grass and clean water for their cows. “Those cattle provide a service to the ecosystem. We cycle carbon, there is a carbon cycle, and methane is part of that cycle, and that’s where that misinformation sometimes gets out there. Yes, cattle do omit methane, it’s a very small faction of the total greenhouse gasses, but it is part of a cycle.”
Mulrony noted that for vegetation left in forest for rangeland areas, the only other option for the carbon cycle is fire. He adds the environment needs that growing plant for soil health, air quality and clean water. “Cattle grazing provides more growth. If we never mowed our lawns and we let it grow one time a year and then let it turn brown, we wouldn’t have the volume that we get every year where we mow that yard on a daily or weekly basis, whatever your system is. And the cattle provide that same service.”
Mulrony adds when cattle graze responsibly, it’s good for the entire ecosystem.
According to the EPA, beef cattle are responsible two percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the United States.