By Sydnee Shive on June 10, 2021

Fun Facts About US Beef Sustainability

Trivia about beef sustainability

How much beef does the United States produce?

The U.S. produces 18 percent of the world’s beef with only 8 percent of the world’s cattle 

We’re efficient! The U.S. exported $6.9 billion worth of beef in 2019. 

How much CO2 do cows produce?

Beef cattle sometimes get a bad rap. They burp—and that only accounts for less than 4 percent (3.3 percent, to be precise) of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. The agriculture sector makes up 10 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. 

Is cattle ranching sustainable?

Farmers and ranchers are constantly working to make agriculture more sustainable. When you compare 2021 to 1977, farmers and ranchers produce the same amount of beef with two-thirds of the cattle 

Beef producers have also changed, and they better utilize their resources to feed the world.  Producers are always looking for ways to reduce their environmental impact, whether it’s saving energy or utilizing new practices. Carbon sequestering is becoming increasingly common, and it’s the long-term storage of carbon from the atmosphere in plants and soil. Find a detailed description of carbon sequestering here.  

Besides beef, what can cattle be used for?

Cows are more than hamburger! Beef byproducts can be found in many different things like ointments, car tires and baseball gloves. Leather is also a common, long-lasting, sustainable beef byproduct.  

Is cattle ranching wasteful?

No waste here! More than 99 percent of the cow is used. On average, about 65 percent of the animal is actually used for beef. The rest is used to create those byproducts we mentioned earlier. 

Around 85 percent of grazing lands are unsuitable for crop production. If cattle were not grazing it, something else would graze it. Or the land wouldn’t be used. Putting usable land out of commission isn’t good for the consumer, producer or environment. Plus, cows eat food we can’t, and they turn it into edible protein. It is no secret humans can’t eat grass or hay. Cows turn that inedible food into protein and other products we are capable of consuming or using! 

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