South Dakota Rancher Todd Wilkinson Tells EPW, Cattlemen Part of the Solution to Climate ChangeTue, 22 Oct 2019 07:53:47 CDT
South Dakota rancher Todd Wilkinson testified before the Environment & Public Works Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety during a hearing held this past week on reducing emissions while driving economic growth and industry led initiatives. It was a chance he said, for members of the cattle industry to beat their chest and let people know that they are not part of the problem when it comes to climate change, but rather part of the solution.
“The most glaring statistic that producers need to talk about it the fact that in the 1970s, we had a third more cows than we do now and yet today, we’re producing as much beef as we did then. That certainly is changing our footprint on American in a positive way,” he said. “America’s beef production is ten to fifty times less carbon-intensive than the rest of the world. So, we’ve got a message we can say to those that are looking at the carbon issue.”
Wilkinson, who serves as the vice chairman of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Policy Division, used his opportunity to offer the Senators testimony as a chance to correct the misconceptions people are being told about beef production and its environmental impact. Despite what some would have you believe about the industry, beef production in the US is actually as actually about as close to mimicking nature as you can get, he said comparing today’s cattle herd to the buffalo herd that used to roam the Great Plains.
“We’re the Circle of Life. The cows eat the grass. They produce methane and that methane, over a ten-year period is largely oxidized back to carbon,” he explained. “That carbon then goes back into the soil and the root systems of the grasses and the whole cycle keeps repeating itself.”
Though he admits it is sometimes hard for producers to pull themselves away from the work in front of them, this is one issue he asserts that all cattlemen should pay attention to, insisting that this is an opportunity for them to “wear the white hat,” tell that good story they have to tell and advocate for their industry.
Listen to Wilkinson talk more about his experience testifying before the EPW, with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays on today’s Beef Buzz.
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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