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!