Cattle also play a positive role in sustaining our prairie grassland ecosystems. By utilizing forages to produce high-quality protein on lands not suited for farming, cattle reduce soil erosion and contribute to enhanced soil carbon storage. They’re grazing presence on the state’s grasslands also contributes to the stimulation of healthy grass growth and overall range quality.

Warren Zenker

North Dakota Stockmen’s Association

Letter: Ranchers value the earth, sustainability

For North Dakota ranchers, every day is Earth Day. Many family ranching operations in the state can trace the sustainable growth of their businesses back four or more generations. As ranchers, our livelihood is directly tied to the health of the land that our families worked to sustain.

That multi-generational sustainability is a balancing act that requires careful attention to environmental responsibility, social diligence and the consideration of economic opportunity. The end goal is to meet the world’s growing demand for beef while sustaining our families and caring for the land that provides our living.

Further enhancing the sustainable production of beef is important to ranchers in North Dakota and beyond. That work never ceases as we continue to develop new management practices that enhance the industry throughout the sector.

I’m proud of our industry’s progress. A recent life cycle assessment completed by the industry and certified by NSF International confirms that beef producers are on the right path in maintaining a sustainable product.

After two years of research, the assessment found a 7 percent improvement in environmental and social sustainability from 2005 to 2011; a 10 percent improvement in water quality; a 7 percent reduction in landfill contributions; a 3 percent reduction in water use; and a 2 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

These days, cattle are often cited as a leading contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.

But according to the EPA, they contribute less than 2 percent of the total GHG emissions in the country.

Cattle also play a positive role in sustaining our prairie grassland ecosystems. By utilizing forages to produce high-quality protein on lands not suited for farming, cattle reduce soil erosion and contribute to enhanced soil carbon storage. They’re grazing presence on the state’s grasslands also contributes to the stimulation of healthy grass growth and overall range quality.

This Earth Day and every day remember that ranchers are working to provide the highest quality protein product in the world and to sustain their land and livestock for the future of North Dakota and our country.

Zenker, Gackle, N.D., is president of the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association.

Free Range Report

Comments

  1. I grew up in a ranching family and I totally agree with the ethic of most ranchers as mentioned in this article. But I have known ranchers that do not follow this ethic and I have seen places on public and private land where cattle grazing has done irreparable damage. Apparently some individual ranchers don’t care about sustainability.

    Is the Bunkerville Bundy family in that group? The Dakotas are very different from southern Nevada as far as cattle production is concerned. I’ve heard and read about how the Bundys caused a lot of their own problems by overgrazing an area that is very marginal for grazing in the first place. Maybe it was not the current members of the Bundy family but their ancestors that first over grazed the land. Considering the current long term drought in that area it might be understandable that the BLM wanted the Bundys to remove their cattle from their grazing allotment. That would have been a good move for their own sake and the sake of the grandchildren who might one day inherit that ranching operation.

  2. There were politicians, namely, Former Senator Harry Reid and his son, involved in the BLM wanting to remove Mr. Bundy’s cattle from his land. Harry Reid appointed a former intern of his as head of the BLM, Neil Kornze. He didn’t know one end of a cow from the other. Reid’s son was also involved in this illegal taking of Bundy cattle. Along with a corrupt agent of the BLM, Dan P. Love (google Dan P. Love)! Reid wanted the ranch because he had already sold it to China (someone correct me if I’m wrong), but pretty close to that, and he had to get Mr. Bundy’s cattle gone! Reid wanted to make it a solar panel energy land use. So Mr. Ellison, there was and is a lot of underhanded political moves that were in play here. The government were able to eliminate 50 other ranchers and Mr. Bundy was the last one to stand in the way of corruption of former Senator Harry Reid. The BLM needs to be done away with!

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