Reaction was quick and clear from Nebraska beef interests after a Congressional effort was introduced that would attempt to totally end cattle production.

“Yesterday’s announced ‘Green New Deal’ is totally unrealistic,” said Steve Nelson, Nebraska Farm Bureau president. “It is clear its authors and supporters have spent no time in rural areas or even have a basic understanding of how food is produced. The proposal is a blatant and unscientific attack on livestock production as well an assault on Nebraska’s agricultural economy due to our sensitivity to even slight energy price increases.”

Gov. Pete Ricketts issued a statement following news that New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democrat who represents the Bronx in New York City, had proposed a “Green New Deal.”

“As the governor of the Beef State, this announcement is shockingly ignorant.  Congresswoman Ocasio-Cortez’s plan to end cattle production would kill our state’s number one industry, and destroy countless middle class jobs and family businesses.  I urge congressional leaders to kill this resolution swiftly and decisively to send a message to anti-agriculture socialists that we will fight for our way of life.”

Supporters of the effort released a FAQ sheet. In one section asking about the difference between the goal of going “100% clean and renewable” versus “100% renewable” there is a call out about methane emissions in cattle.

“We set a goal to get to net-zero, rather than zero emissions, in 10 years because we aren’t sure that we’ll be able to fully get rid of farting cows and airplanes that fast, but we think we can ramp up renewable manufacturing and power production, retrofit every building in America, build the smart grid, overhaul transportation and agriculture, plant lots of trees and restore our ecosystem to get to net-zero.”

According to, the mention of “farting cows” drew concerns from groups representing agriculture and farmers on social media.

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) has been working to address sustainability through efforts like the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB). Also, NCBA recently released a Cost/Benefit Principles that serves as a guide for decision-making on various policy proposals regarding climate change.

“Despite all the progress we’ve made on the environmental front in recent decades, some policymakers still seem to think targeting U.S. beef producers and consumers will make a huge impact on global emissions,” says Colin Woodall, NCBA senior vice president of government affairs.

Farm Bureau’s Nelson added, When the House of Representatives attacked agriculture in 2009 with ‘Cap and Trade,’ Nebraska’s farmers and ranchers fought back. We intend to do the same thing again.”

Field editor for the Midwest Messenger.