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Eliminate the Footprint!

January 21, 2019

What do you do when someone challenges something that you feel pretty strongly about?  Do you sit still passively hoping that they change their mind?  Do you brood in your own mind what you would like to say (only positive, I’m sure????)?  Or do you sit with it awhile and see what the facts are according to a more credible source?  I have to admit that I had to do that today, though it was not my first instinct.  Sadly, I wanted to say a few choice words to a writer from the Huffington Post for a search result.

I simply typed our new business slogan, “Eliminate the Footprint,” into the search bar.  The very first article that came up was from the Huffington Post, titled “7 Instant Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint.”  And #1 on their list was to “Stop Eating (or Eat Less) Meat”.  You can about imagine my reaction as a regenerative farmer to the search for our slogan.  “Eliminate the Footprint” loses all credibility if what is said in this article is true.  And unfortunately, its the first thing that came up today.

The author simply has two premises to base this “advice” on:  1) Greenhouse gas emissions from agribusiness are a bigger problem than fossil fuels and 2) 5000 gallons of water are required to produce one pound of beef.

The first premise is easy to refute as it is a broad, all inclusive and non-quantitative statement, making for a weak argument, along the lines of a simple opinion by a non-expert.

The second premise did give me pause.  5000 gallons per pound, or around 1,625,000 gallons per animal harvested is A LOT of water.  This seemed a little high even for a conventionally raised grain fed calf, so I looked for a study that looked at this.  Thankfully, did a study and found that on average, a conventionally raised calf required approximately 441 gallons per pound of meat produced.  That is rather high compared to the amount required for a grass fed, grass finished calf at only 122 gallons of water per pound of meat according to Epic Land and Livestock, who are leading experts in the grass- fed regenerative model.

But here’s the really cool part about eating grass fed, grass finished meat from a regenerative model:  It improves the water cycle!  The water is redeposited into a grassy carpet and soaked back into the soil from which it came after the animal uses it instead of on bare dirt or in a slurry to be spread miles away on crops.  On top of that, the grass then uses it and we have more cow food or grass, you may call it.  And as far as greenhouse gasses go, the sequestration of carbon through photosynthesis of grass helps to combat any or all (or more than, according to Alan Savory, a leading holistic graze expert) of the methane produced by the animal, therefore fulfilling the regenerative cycle.  You see, in this way we are more sustainable than a conventional model.

Obviously, the Huffington Post was not interested in regeneratively raised grass fed, grass finished cattle in this article or I would like to think that they would not give such outrageous advice.  Maybe next time they will write a piece titled “Eliminate the Footprint” telling their readers to go find some regeneratively raised grass fed, grass finished beef in order to help eliminate greenhouse gasses.

“Eliminate the Footprint” stays.  We are doing the right things, and if we’re not, its because we haven’t learned a better way yet.  Feel good about the food that you are eating.  You’ve made a great and tasty choice.  Be proud of that and what it represents:  Eliminating the Footprint! You can start here:  ELIMINATE THE FOOTPRINT

Jamie Bierman
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