To the editor:
These days, everyone from celebrities to journalists to politicians has an opinion about the “right” way to raise food. Often, their criticism of farmers and ranchers like my husband and myself relates to the environment: People say we aren’t doing our part to protect the planet.
In connection with Earth Day this week, I’d like to offer some food for thought. While these naysayers talk about minimizing impact on the environment, America’s cattle farmers and ranchers get up every day and do it. We care for the land because it’s our full-time job. On average, each cattleman has 13 different practices in place to accomplish environmental goals, such as nurturing wildlife, preventing erosion and conserving and protecting water.
We’re constantly creating new, innovative practices that help us do more with less. Many experts agree U.S. livestock production practices are an environmentally sustainable solution for raising food and should be considered a model for the rest of the world. The average American farmer feeds about 155 people worldwide, compared to 26 people just a few decades ago. The beef we raise today requires less land, water and energy than before, and each serving provides 10 essential nutrients to your diet. The things we do to protect and enhance the land are unique to where we’re located, but, no matter what climate or geography we live in, we are responsible and care greatly for our cattle and the environment.
Today, and every day, I’d like to extend my appreciation to my fellow Kansas farmers and ranchers, the original environmentalists.