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Northwest Iowa Dairy Outlooks

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

Gary Truitt with Hooiser Ag Today reports theNational Cattleman’s Beef Association has launched a series of blistering allegations against the Environmental Protection Agency. Last week EPA administrator Lisa Jackson testified before the Senate Ag Committee that her agency is not out to get American agriculture. But, this week National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Chief Environmental Counsel Tamara Thies accused the agency of trying to put the cattle industry out of business, “It is ironic that as we strive to become less dependent on imported oil the policies of the Obama administration are likely to make us more dependent on imported beef.” She accused the EPA of waging a war to bring an end to production agriculture, “EPA exhibits reckless indifference to scientific fact, and instead imposes stringent regulations based on nothing more than its biased, anti-animal agriculture agenda that will leave many cattle operations with no recourse but to shut down.”

Speaking on Wednesday at a forum focused on the impact of EPA regulations on job creation and economic growth in the nation’s rural communities, Thies told members of the Rural America Solutions Group that EPA’s regulations will result in a loss of jobs, just the opposite of what the White House says they want to do. She said EPA regulations are causing economic uncertainty in the cattle industry and throughout rural American because they are “vague, overreaching, costly, unnecessarily burdensome, ludicrous, and sometimes illegal.”

Thies offered several examples of EPA regulations that could potentially stifle the U.S. cattle industry – including dust regulation. She said the EPA has laid the foundation to impose the most stringent regulation of dust in U.S. history. Thies said she could continue with more examples and explained that this vast array of new regulatory requirements will add to the cost of doing business – making it harder to pay bills, pay workers, expand, compete in the world marketplace, and satisfy America’s demand for safe, affordable beef.
Thies said cattle producers have made progress in decreasing the industry’s environmental footprint. In 2007, she says 13% fewer cattle were slaughtered than in 1977 but that those animals produced 13% more beef. By producing more beef with fewer resources, she said the total carbon footprint for beef production was reduced from 1977 to 2007 by 18%. On top of that, when compared to beef production in 1977, she said each pound of beef produced in modern systems use: 20% fewer feedstuffs, 30% less land, 14% less water and 9% less fossil fuel energy.

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