Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Livestock Myths Debunked

Submitted by Shawna Newsome, National Cattlemen's Beef Association

It’s easy for Americans to become swept away by a wave of Anti-Agriculture propaganda. But the real truth about cattle production is simple: It’s a family affair and ranchers love their animals. This fundamental idea can be explained by debunking one of the most common cattle myths: The majority of cattle are raised in large, commercial operations.

The truth is, of the 729,000 beef cow operations and the 915,000 cow/calf operations, less than 10% have more than 100 head of cattle. And 97% of cattle operations are family owned. America has a rich history of ranching. Even here in D.C., the White House lawn served as home for an assortment of livestock, including the notorious Pauline Wayne, the last cow to graze the lawn.

At the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, our job is to bring cattle back to the Capitol. No, we will never see cattle grazing at the White House again, but we can remind our Congress why the cattle industry is vital to our economy. 

As family farmers and ranchers, cattlemen have a vested interest in protecting the environment. As responsive producers, they share an interest in meeting the needs of consumers worldwide by providing high-quality, nutritious beef, while setting higher quality and safety standards than those required by the government. As individual entrepreneurs, cattlemen raise livestock in more states than any other commodity, helping sustain a way of life in thousands of rural communities.