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Beef Buzz News


NCBA's Colin Woodall and Scott Yager on Cattle Industry's Sustainability Goals

Fri, 05 Nov 2021 09:52:56 CDT

NCBA's Colin Woodall and Scott Yager on Cattle Industry's Sustainability Goals Right now, Scotland is hosting the COP26 summit to “unite the world to tackle climate change.” Although the focus in the cattle industry has been on inflation and price discovery lately, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association is always thinking about the industry’s role in fighting global climate change.

This summer, in the same week the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a brand-new climate change report, the NCBA announced their goal for the cattle industry: to become climate neutral by 2040.

NCBA CEO Colin Woodall told Ron Hays, director of Radio Oklahoma Ag Network, sustainability is here to stay.

“Sustainability is here, so we had to step and back and think, ‘what does it mean to us,’” Woodall said. “We don’t want more rules and regulations, we don’t want the government to tell us what we have to do in terms of sustainability.”

To prevent that from happening, Woodall said the NCBA is at the forefront of developing sustainable practices for cattle producers and working with the Biden administration to guide legislation in “the right way” for the cattle industry. In a big win for the cattle industry, the IPCC report showed the long-term impact methane has on climate change is significantly lower than previously thought.

“We can now show quite clearly that we are part of the solution - not part of the problem,” Woodall said. “Our grazing lands can absorb that methane - grow good grass, our cattle can graze that grass and put a high-quality protein on the plate for consumers.”

That is a win for producers, consumers and the government, Woodall said.

Scott Yager, chief environmental council for the NCBA, said although cattle do produce methane, the IPCC report now classifies methane as a Short-Lived Climate Forcer (SLCF).

“The UN is recognizing something that’s called GWP*, which is basically a new measurement that accounts for the fact that methane is a short-lived gas,” Yager said. “This is important for the cattle industry because as you know, cattle emit methane - that’s what we (in the cattle industry) get beat over our heads with all the time by activist groups, but now if we incorporate the use of this new GWP* metric, we will begin to see that the greenhouse gas impact from cattle is much smaller than we previously believed.”

Historically, methane has been counted as a 25-multiplier of a carbon equivalent, which was then being multiplied by 100 years - which is wrong, Yager said.

“After 10 years, methane breaks down in the atmosphere,” Yager said. “Now we know it should only be counted for 10 years.”

It is important for the cattle industry to realize that the new greenhouse gas measurement information is vital in enabling the industry to justify good policy decisions, according to Yager.

Click on the LISTEN BAR below to hear more from Ron Hays, Colin Woodall and Scott Yager as they talk about the beef cattle industry’s sustainability goals and more.

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.

   

   

Listen to Ron's conversation with Colin and Scott here.
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