Letters to the Editor

Love of the land

April 14, 2009


To the editor:

We have recently been reading a lot of misinformation about the cattle industry and its effects on the environment. With Earth Day approaching, we felt compelled to explain that we feel beef producers are some of the original environmentalists. Our family has been raising cattle in western Douglas County for nearly a century. Our grassland is our livelihood, and grazing this land helps to keep it healthy and vibrant. Well-maintained pastures can help control runoff and erosion, lower the risk of uncontrollable fires and maintain open space and wildlife habitat.

Ranchers across the United States raise cattle on the millions of acres that are unsuitable for growing tillable crops. Cattle are one of the few domesticated animals that can convert grass into protein, which can help to nourish people throughout the world. This allows agricultural producers to more than double the amount of land that can be used to produce food.

We choose this profession because it allows us to spend our time working outside and on the land that we love. We feel a connection with the land that surrounds us and hope to pass it down to our children and grandchildren. We hope that they too will feel this connection and will be environmental stewards like their ranching ancestors before them. So next time you look out your window, please take a moment to consider this: there’s a pretty good chance that a cow once grazed there before that land was developed!

The Wulfkuhles are from Berryton


lounger 9 years, 2 months ago

How much water is being used for your cattle? Is it Native Prairie that they chomp on? Are your cows considered Organic Beef? Have you ever considered Raising Bison?

Not developing land and keeping it in pasture is Better than another suburb for sure and I applaud you for it. But If the questions above have not been addressed then you are not as green as you think. Thanks for your effort and maybe some of these things Should be talked about more in the future....

KayCee 9 years, 2 months ago

I'll bet their water is from ponds, and maybe a well or two. Native prairie is fine , but doesn't produce as much brome, plus they need lots of hay. 'Organic Beef' is just another political correct issue today. You are a little 'GREEN' in your understanding of agriculture.

Ken Lassman 9 years, 2 months ago

Thank goodness for the ranchers in our county, where most of the native prairies and woods have disappeared over the years. Ranchers can indeed be some of the best environmental stewards around, and more than just about anyone else, it raises kids outdoors where they should be.

Lounger, you might try to become an ally and a supporter of these folks before you try to push your agenda--you'll get a lot further and you might learn a little bit in the process.

Leslie Swearingen 9 years, 2 months ago

I think you folks are doing a wonderful job and I applaud you for doing it. I think it is wonderful that your family has that strength, solidity and continuity. I happen to be a vegan, well, I am working on it. But I have respect for the choices that others make for their lives. When I was growing up in the Ozarks my family raised, killed and kept the meat in a smoke house. They also hunted in the woods and I will never forget how my grandmother hated possum. People that can afford to criticize your way of life are those who can shop "green". Keep on keeping on, that's all we can do.

funkdog1 9 years, 2 months ago

lounger: Before there were cattle, there were millions of bison chomping on prairies. Cattle are simply filing the role of bison. And KayCee is correct; no one is trucking in water to cattle. Water is procured via ponds and wells.

It's cattle raised in feedlots that are hard on the environment.

seriouscat 9 years, 2 months ago

Family farms that raise their animals in a humane manner and for whom stewardship of the land is a built-in part of their business get my full support and my consumer dollar. Buying good meat from people like that may mean that, due to cost, I and my family will consume less meat than we would otherwise, and it is a trade off I am only too happy to make and healthier to boot!

divingdiva 9 years, 2 months ago

The problem though, that no one is addressing is the billions of people on this planet that want to eat meat. The whole reason we have "factory farming" in the first place is because of the sheer volume of meat that has to be produced to feed everyone. I would love to get back to the days of the small local farmer feeding everyone, and maybe in Douglas County, KS, that is the case. But with the amount of people on this planet now, that just isn't possible. So the reality of meat for most people in this country or the world for that matter is factory farmed meat. When you eat at a restaurant (unless it's Local Burger), you're supporting factory farmed meat. I think that's why so many people just give up on the whole "humane meat" thing and go veg. Because really, there's no such thing anyway.

EatLocal 9 years, 2 months ago

We make choices everyday, what we buy and what we eat are just 2 of them. If you went around your house how many things were made in the USA? I can't think of anything that makes more sense for a celebration of Earth Day than making choices to buy products made/produced here in the USA. Knowing where your food comes from should matter to all of us, unfortunately the all mighty $ tends to play a factor. Consumers and Producers should have more open conversations about our food supply. Then myths and gossip could be dispelled and fears on both sides could be addressed. A good place to start talking is at the Farmers' Markets most producers there are ready and willing to have open conversations about food, as long as you buy a little while your there! ;-) Happy Earth Day Everyone, don't just talk about, do it!

NDRancher 9 years, 2 months ago

Divingdiva - just wanted to clear up a myth you have. Over 90% of US cattle ranches are family-owned and operated and ours happens to be just one of the many (not factorty-owned like many suspect!). Approximately 2/3 have been under the same family ownership for two generations or more. I am a 4th generation female rancher myself and only 22 years old. I hope to take over the ranch someday and I know it will be possible because my family has worked hard to preserve the land where we keep our cattle. Great story Wulfkuhles! We enjoy beef everyday, too - not just Earth Day!

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