I quit reading The Economist several years ago, but this week a friend sent me an article from this magazine called “Beef with Beef – Treating Beef Like Coal Would Make a Big Cut in the Shows greenhouse gases ”(October 2, 2021). As the headline referred to two industries I have ties to, I read the entire article and although it was pretty much the same litany against beef production, I was struck. by the idea that this discussion is gaining momentum.
The article completely “roasted” the beef industry when it comes to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and climate change and presented the conclusion that beef production is a bigger producer of emissions. greenhouse gases among all food productions than the combustion of coal as a source of electricity production. The coal industry certainly got a reprieve with this fact! In addition, according to the article and its studies cited, it is the result of the emission of a large volume of methane by livestock when they graze large pastures created by deforestation. WOW!
None of these discussions are new, but what worries me is that we are quickly approaching the point where we may soon be discussing the livestock cycle in terms of GHGs rather than feed supply and producer profits. . But more importantly, as energy prices rise due to damaging energy policy and food prices rise, what will the end result be with American consumers? Will demand for beef be seriously and negatively affected by reduced consumption of beef by consumers, either because of high prices or as advocated by the cited article – climate change.
Overall, activism against climate change to dramatically reduce cattle numbers and raise feed prices is not favorable to the US beef industry. I reiterate that I am optimistic for prices and ranchers’ yields over the next 2-3 years, but at the same time, the whole industry economy may face a bigger challenge than expected.