The celebration of June Dairy Month will continue into July as Wisconsin cattle producers celebrate Beef Month. Wisconsin Beef Council (WBC) Director John Freitag says that, for beef farmers, sustainability means not only preservation of the environment but being able to continually produce beef efficiently.
"America's cattle farmers and ranchers have continuously improved the way we raise cattle," Freitag says. "Environmental sustainability of beef production has improved considerably over the last 30 years."
He says new research shows that the way cattle were raised and fed in the U.S. between 1977 and 2007 yielded 13% more total beef from 30% fewer animals. When compared to beef production in 1977, each pound of beef produced in modern systems used 33% less land, 12% less water, 19 % less feed and 9% less fossil fuel energy than equivalent beef production in 1977. Waste outputs were similarly reduced, shrinking the carbon footprint of beef by 16.3% in 30 years.
The WBC says cattle are produced in all 50 states by nearly a million different cattlemen, who raise about 33 million head of animals. Wisconsin has slightly more beef producers than dairy producers.