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Cattle industry commits to climate neutrality by 2040

Cattle industry commits to climate neutrality by 2040

Beef cattle on range

Two-thirds of rangeland is privately owned, mainly by ranchers who graze their livestock in the open country of the American West.

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) solidified U.S. cattle ranchers’ commitment to environmental, economic and social sustainability in its new U.S. cattle industry sustainability goals, released Aug. 12 during the organization’s convention in Nashville.

Setting goals will further enhance the sustainability of the U.S. system and set targets that demonstrate to the world that producers are committed to continued improvement, according to a news release from NCBA. The goals for the U.S. cattle industry include:

  • Demonstrate climate neutrality of U.S. cattle production by 2040.
  • Create and enhance opportunities that result in a quantifiable increase in producer profitability and economic sustainability by 2025.
  • Enhance trust in cattle producers as responsible stewards of their animals and resources by expanding educational opportunities in animal care and handling programs to further improve animal well-being.
  • Continuously improve our industry's workforce safety and well-being.
Marty Smith

Marty Smith

“Cattlemen and women have demonstrated their commitment to sustainability for generations. They work tirelessly to protect the land, water and air resources in their care. Through countless improvements in genetics, grazing management, manure handling and the adoption of many other technologies, this is just the next step on our industry’s path,” said Marty Smith, a Florida cattleman and NCBA past president. “Producers deserve recognition for their use of cutting-edge practices and technologies that minimize environmental impact. By setting goals, we’re publicly committing to continuous improvement and setting targets that allow us to measure and document those efforts.”

These goals are the culmination of a grassroots, rancher-led process. The Sustainability Goals Task Force was formed in 2021 to evaluate the current state of U.S. beef cattle sustainability, determine which improvements are most critical and help share the story of progress. Members of this working group – cattle farmers and ranchers from across the U.S. – led the process and made all decisions, including setting the sustainability goals.

“Sustainability is, and will continue to be, an incredibly important part of what we do, and I’m proud that my fellow leaders across the cattle industry have taken these important steps,” Smith said. “As our country and the world examine risks associated with climate change and other sustainability challenges, our commitment to sustainability positions us to play an even bigger role in mitigating these risks in the future.”

More on the cattle industry’s sustainability goals can be found at ncba.org/sustainability.

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