BEEF Daily

5 Ways Cattle Help The Environment


A recent article suggests that going meatless will help the planet. However, this myth doesn’t have much meat on its bones. Cattle can help improve the planet in many ways. Here are five resources that prove cattle were “green” long before green was cool.

I recently read an article entitled, “10 things you need to know about sustainable agriculture,” which was featured in The Guardian. The article featured experts who discussed sustainable agriculture and feeding a growing population. Of particular interest in this top 10 list of ways to improve our sustainability was point eight, which suggests that meat should go off the menu.

According to the article, “Meat is off the menu. Achieving replacement level fertility, reducing food loss and waste, reducing biofuel demand for food crops and shifting our diets, will all go some way to closing the gap between food available and food required. Any meaningful change to consumption patterns and the environmental impacts of food production though, will have to involve knocking animal products off the menu, especially beef. Chris Hunt, director of GRACE's food program, points to consumer campaigns like Meatless Monday as evidence of trending in the right direction.”


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This isn’t the first time meat production and the environment have been discussed on the blog this week. Check out Monday’s blog, “Why Ranchers Should Care About The Documentary, Cowspiracy.”

The article suggested that giving up beef will help the planet. We know that cattle benefit the land in many ways, such as aerating the soil with their hooves, preventing wildfires through grazing, and utilizing land that is too steep or rocky for farming. For more information on this topic, I’ve rounded up five great resources and past blog posts that show cattle actually help the environment:

1. Meatless Monday Not Better For Health, Environment

2. VIDEO: Consider Both Consumer & Environment In Sustainability

3. Clearing The Air On Cattle And The Environment

4. Conventional Production Best For The Environment

5. Tofu Can Harm Environment More Than Meat, Finds WWF Study

How should the industry respond to claims like the ones made in this article and the documentary, Cowspiracy? Share your thoughts in the comments section below. And be sure to pass along some of these resources to help start the conversation about the positive effects of cattle and the environment.

The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of or the Penton Farm Progress Group.


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Discuss this Blog Entry 6

on Jul 24, 2014

Judge the content of the movie for personality type appeal and match it. Also video is more powerful than the written word most of the time. Video that evokes emotion is more powerful to more people than only a logical approach. I like the video of the man who helped reestablish desert areas using cattle grazing & rotation. It is logical however, perhaps emotion can be evoked by bringing in how it affects those that are benefited. I'll see if I can find a link.

on Jul 25, 2014

See my post below for a detailed "how to."

WilliamC (not verified)
on Jul 24, 2014

If cattle are so bad how did the plains survive with millions of buffalo gazing on it?

on Jul 25, 2014

Savory first developed his ideas by watching how large bodied herbivores behave in the presence of predators. The problem on America's grasslands was (and still, for the most part still is) too few cattle on too much land--fixed rate stocking with year-long grazing. The solution is to make domestic animals behave the same way. The answers are readily available (see below) and the principles are universally applicable. In Alan Savory's own words: "There are only two places it won't work. One is on a cliff so sheer that even a goat can't get a footing and the other is underwater. (See my post below)

on Jul 25, 2014

If this sounds like a blatant plug for a book, that is because it is. But more than that, it is directly pertinent to the issue as it explains in detail the answer to the question at hand. It describes in detail how cattle can be the salvation of the environment by improving water and mineral cycling, energy flow and community dynamics.

And yes, the method even sequesters carbon (important to those who believe the myth of global climate change) while increasing ranch cash flows and accumulating wealth.

It explains in detail Alan Savory and Stan Parson's method for "greening the world's deserts and includes a step by step "how to: See a detail description at:

maxine jones (not verified)
on Aug 6, 2014

This is an interesting subject a s my family has been raising cattle on mostly virgin native grass prairies in arid western SD since 1892. Quite a few years ago, we heard Mr. Savory speak. It seemed, and still does, that there was too little information, particularly about climate of area where the system was being used. That continues in most articles about grazing, in my opinion, unless I'm missing it somehow. The post commenting on "year round grazing" seems to assume the practice still continues. Perhaps it does in some areas, but my memory of ranching goes back more than 60 years, and even on my families' quite small ranch, we had pastures for at least three seasons of the year. Today, on our ranch, we break it down into calving pastures; later spring/early summer; late summer into early winter; winter to calving time. And use some variation according to moisture received. We are quite protective of our grass, yet our five families working this ranch have to make a living in order for us to continue protecting the environment we enjoy so much.

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What's BEEF Daily?

BEEF Daily Blog is produced by rancher Amanda Radke, one of the U.S. beef industry’s top social media “agvocates.”


Amanda Radke

Amanda Radke is a fifth generation rancher from Mitchell, S.D., who has dedicated her career to serving as a voice for the nation’s beef producers. A 2009 graduate of South Dakota State...

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