Contact: R-CALF USA CEO Bill Bullard Phone: 406-252-2516; email@example.com
Opinion-Editorial by Jay Platt, Arizona Cattleman and R-CALF USA Director
Below please find an op-ed by Arizona Rancher and R-CALF USA Director Jay Platt. It is a response to the misguided though heightened focus on ranching as a threat to the environment.
During his February 5th state of the union address, the President issued a clarion call to resist socialism. Two days later, Representative Ocasio-Cortez unveiled some basics of her “green new deal.” For cattlemen, those basics–though later purged from her website—are alarming. The deleted document noted that “we aren’t sure we’ll be able to fully get rid of farting cows…that fast.” Cow riddance is to be achieved by working “with farmers and ranchers to create a sustainable, pollution and greenhouse gas free, food system….”
House Resolution 109, the current version of the green new deal, engages in climate change hysteria, and concludes that we must “achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions through a fair and just transition” which will secure “a sustainable environment.”
“Sustainable” is often repeated in HR 109. As ranchers, we’re informed that we are to work with the federal government “to remove pollution and greenhouse gas emissions” from our operations, resulting in “sustainable farming” and a “more sustainable food system.”
We’re also informed that we will have a “zero emission vehicle infrastructure.” Removal of greenhouse gases is to be accomplished “by restoring natural ecosystems through proven low-tech solutions that increase soil carbon storage, such as land preservation.” Sounds like cattle are to be replaced with a carbon storage industry.
The green new deal has over 70 co-sponsors in the House, 12 in the Senate, and is endorsed by 5 presidential candidates including Senator Corey Booker who laments animal agriculture, asserting that the planet cannot “sustain” people eating meat “because of the environmental impact.”
Back to the word “sustainable.” In 2014, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), with Beef Checkoff funds, published a “Sustainability” study. The document stated that the object is one of “meeting growing global beef demand by balancing environmental responsibility.” Noting that “defining sustainability is challenging,” the document never bothers with a precise definition.
Consider now the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB), whose members include NCBA, JBS, Marfrig (who acquired a controlling interest in National Beef Packing Co.) Cargill, National Wildlife Federation, and the World Wildlife Fund. The subsidiary U.S. Roundtable includes as its members Tyson Foods (which recently made a large investment in Future Meat Technologies to develop artificial meat) and Nature Conservancy.
GRSB “defines sustainable beef as socially responsible, environmentally sound and economically viable.” Next is a discussion of “practices designed to sustain and restore ecosystem health.” Examples are environmental babble on “biodiversity and…carbon sequestration” and other practices which will help “ecosystems to recover from extreme climate and weather events.” Listed “criteria” include minimization of “net greenhouse gas emissions….” Now we come to the core of sustainability: climate change.
GRSB member McDonalds has its own beef sustainability page, https://corporate.mcdonalds.com/corpmcd/scale-for-good/beef-sustainability.html which interestingly notes that McDonalds’ “beef sustainability work supports the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goals.” Those goals are eerily similar to Ocasio-Cortez’s green new deal.
Another member of GRSB is the Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock, http://www.livestockdialogue.org/en/, whose webpage shows it to be about climate change. Its “partners” page, http://www.livestockdialogue.org/partners/en/ is worth exploring and comparing with GRSB’s membership groups.
The global agenda was put together by the UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization and navigating around its webpage shows a climate change/sustainability agenda. http://www.fao.org/home/en/
GRSB member World Wildlife Fund has a webpage, “5 ways to shop and eat smarter for the climate.” https://www.worldwildlife.org/stories/5-ways-to-shop-and-eat-smarter-for-the-climate Item 2, entitled “consume mindfully” recommends consideration of “environmental impacts” of selected products thereby helping maintain “a more sustainable environmental footprint.”
The next item, “shop sustainably” urges the purchase of foods that are “certified” as more sustainable by independent organizations. One of the recommended organizations is GRSB member, Rainforest Alliance.
Economic Nobel Prize winner Friedrich von Hayek’s “Road to Serfdom” has a chapter entitled Economic Control and Totalitarianism. The chapter is subtitled: “The control of the production of wealth is the control of human life itself.”
Most of this nation’s land is under the ownership/control of farmers and ranchers. The sustainability/climate change crowd intends to seize control of this wealth production base under the guise of climate change/sustainability.
For cattle producers, the questions are i) why are Beef Checkoff funds used for this nonsense and ii) why is NCBA in league with the sustainability/climate change crowd?
H. Jay Platt is a 3rd generation cow-calf rancher operating ranches in Arizona and New Mexico. Previous to returning to the ranching operation in 1984, he worked in the tax department of a then “big eight” public accounting firm and later in the commercial section of a downtown Phoenix law firm. He currently serves as a director for R-CALF USA.
R-CALF USA (Ranchers-Cattlemen Action Legal Fund, United Stockgrowers of America) is the largest producer-only cattle trade association in the United States. It is a national, nonprofit organization dedicated to ensuring the continued profitability and viability of the U.S. cattle industry. For more information, visit www.r-calfusa.com or call 406-252-2516.