Beef Buzz News
Curbing Methane Outputs Could Be a Win for Producers and Consumers
Mon, 18 Oct 2021 21:30:20 CDT
Everyone is talking about climate and the cattle industry is no exception. As consumers demand more sustainably produced products, the beef cattle industry has been working hard to communicate U.S. beef production is just that: sustainable. After years of cattle production getting a bad rap for methane output, the latest IPCC report recategorized methane as a short-lived climate forcer (SLCF). Dr. Sara Place, technical consultant in sustainability at Elanco, told Radio Oklahoma’s Ron Hays the cattle industry has a great sustainability story when it comes to methane.
Listen to Ron's conversation with Sara here.
“That is important for the cattle industry because that is the main gas that comes from beef cattle production,” Place said. “(Methane production) does not have to go to zero to stop all these impacts of climate change.”
Methane being an SLCF means it breaks down much quicker in the atmosphere, sticking around for about 10 years, compared to carbon dioxide which can stay in the atmosphere for hundreds of years. This classification change for methane means the cattle industry can focus on decreasing methane production instead of depurating the industry, Place said.
“That clarifies what our goals should be,” Place said. “We should frame our goals around temperature change … and say, ‘what can we do as an industry to demonstrate what we think we can achieve,’ which is not adding more (methane).”
The change makes the challenge much easier for the cattle industry to tackle, Place said. New technology and management practices can be developed to help curb methane outputs among cattle, she added.
“I think that is what is exciting going forward,” Place said. “We have a lot of opportunities from the science side, whether it is through different ways of feeding cattle, feed ingredients, new technologies and genetics.”
Curbing methane will open other opportunities for the cattle industry, Place believes. At the same time beef becomes more sustainable, consumers can feel good about eating beef, Place said.
Click on the LISTEN BAR below to hear more from Ron Hays and Dr. Sara Place as they talk about the sustainability of the U.S. beef cattle industry.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today’s show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.
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