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Northwest Iowa Dairy Outlooks

A local discussion of current science and issues concerning dairying in northwest iowa

According to Cheryl Baldwin, vice president of science and standards and non-profit certification organization Green Seal the food industry lags all others in environmental sustainability performance.

Speaking at the Institute of Food Technologists annual meeting and Food Expo in Chicago, Baldwin suggested one way food makers could improved their scores would be to use less meat in their products.

She explained that since 50 percent of the environmental impact for food makers is the agriculture production of the foods they process, using “lower intensity agricultural products,” is one of several actions they can take.

Meatingplace reporters asked her what advice she had for meat processors. She suggested understanding the production methods used to feed and raise animals, making sure they are treated humanely and looking for ways to reduce the carbon footprint of processing methods.

She told attendees that grass-fed animals created a lower carbon footprint than those that were grain fed.

This statement points out that either researchers and commodity groups have not done their job in educating the public on the facts concerning our industry or anti-livestock groups don’t really care about the environment, just about forcing a veggie diet on the population.

Earlier this year a study by the University of New South Wales published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology indicated beef produced in feedlots had a slightly smaller carbon footprint than meat raised exclusively on pastures. And more recently, Washington State University scientists concluded that improvements in U.S. beef industry productivity have reduced the overall environmental impact of beef production over the past decade.

Armed with the science, producers and their commodity groups should go to the Institute of Food Technologists annual meeting and Food Expo organizers and demand a retraction by Baldwin. Every livestock producer needs to speak-up in their community and make such the science-based information is out there; otherwise those against us will use emotion and misinformation to change our industry and lifestyle forever.

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