Global warming, climate change — whatever you want to call it, alarmists love to blame cattle for every environmental challenge our planet faces. Forget transportation, electricity and other consumable goods we use every day, it’s the cows and their belching that are to blame for everything!
What’s worse is there are some individuals within our own industry who would love to see the cow-calf producer become extinct in favor of a more vertically-integrated beef system that looks more like the poultry and hog industries. Only then, they claim, could the beef industry be considered “sustainable."
These arguments ignore one critical thing — that cattle grazing plays a critical role in range management. Cattle often graze on land that is too steep, hilly, rocky or rough for modernizing or farming, and they efficiently convert solar energy and forages into nutritious beef and by-products that enrich our lives.
If we were to eliminate cattle grazing, it would promote desertification of the soil. We would lose beneficial carbon storage, regenerative grazing, wildfire prevention and natural fertilizer, just to name a few.
The benefits of cattle grazing will be highlighted in a new short film titled, “A Common Ground.” Produced by Chris Malloy for the California Rangeland Trust, the film was created in honor of the organization’s 20th anniversary.
How exactly do rangelands heal our planet? That’s the question the film aims to answer.
“Rangelands are critical habitat for clean air and water, plants, and wildlife,” said Nita Vail, California Rangeland Trust CEO. “Conserving working rangelands is not just for ranchers, it’s not just for people in rural communities. It’s for all of us in California. It’s bigger than all of us. This is about healing our planet.”
According to the press release, “Malloy and his team at Farm League partnered with California Rangeland Trust to create the film. Chris is also a Santa Barbara rancher and world-class surfer who has been an ambassador, director, and creative strategist for the Patagonia brand for the last 14 years. Chris' films include 180° South, The Fisherman’s Son, and Thicker Than Water. He has directed global ad campaigns for Ford, Jeep, RAM, Coors, and Yeti.”
“I have sought to tell ranchers’ stories demonstrating how this historic stewardship is still essential to our shared future,” said Malloy. “California Rangeland Trust communicates the harmony between environmental goals and the value of working landscapes. I am proud to stand beside them in sharing how ranchers serve as exemplary stewards of California’s natural resources.”
This film is particularly important for California, where private rangeland accounts for 62% of the state’s undeveloped land. The filmmakers add that 67% of threatened or endangered species spend part of their lives on open ranch land, and over 85% of California’s fresh water runs over ranches.”
By understanding how ranchers help to conserve these open spaces and natural habitats through environmental stewardship practices and responsible cattle grazing, consumers will walk away from this film with a better appreciation for our nation’s beef producers.
The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Farm Progress.