By Sydnee Shive on June 10, 2021

Fun Facts About US Beef Sustainability

Cow and Calf

Cows go beyond beef 

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.  

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. 

Cattle account for only 3.3 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions 

Cattle sometimes get a bad rap. They burp—and that only accounts for less than 4 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. The agriculture sector makes up 10 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. 

When you compare 2021 to 1977, farmers and ranchers produce the same amount of beef with two-thirds of the cattle 

There’s no doubt things have changed since 1977. Beef producers have also changed, and they better utilize their resources to feed the world.  

Beef’s carbon footprint is decreasing 

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.  

More than 99 percent of the cow is used 

No waste here! Those byproducts we mentioned earlier. Yeah, there’s a lot of those. On average, about 65 percent of the animal is actually used for beef. 

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. 

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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