Helping Consumers Understand About Ag

Livestock Industry Contributes Very Little to Greenhouse Gasses

By Patrick Cavanaugh

Sarah Klopatek is passionate about the cattle industry and her academic research, particularly working with greenhouse gasses, air emissions, water quality, water quantity, and how we can turn that into a lifecycle assessment.

Klopatek understands that agriculture is an unknown science to many, so she seeks to convey this message of sustainable practices in the cattle industry to the public. “I want to talk to our consumers and say, ‘Yes, we are living in a sustainable industry.’”

Sarah Klopatek

Sarah Klopatek

“With only one percent of Americans in agriculture,” said Klopatek, “and 99 percent of them not in agriculture, it’s not their fault that they don’t know what’s going on. Plus, consumers are continuously bombarded with negativity about our industry, so it is our role as scientists to communicate the science of agriculture to both the producers and consumers. That is the only way the sustainability of our industry will continue.”

Klopatek explained, “When I discuss greenhouse gasses, I’m discussing the cow/calf in the beef sector, feedlots in the beef sector, as well as, cattle in the dairy sector. But, notably, when it comes to greenhouse gas production, the dairy and beef industries are far down the list.”

“Look at our nations transportation sector—which contributes 27 percent of greenhouse gasses and our energy sector—which is 32 percent of greenhouse gasses. By comparison, is the beef cattle industry—which is 2.2 percent, a problem? Well, I would have to say that we can always improve, and that we always improve.”

“In addition, we have already made vast, vast improvements. Today, we are able to produce more beef with fewer animals, while releasing fewer greenhouse gas emissions per kilogram of beef. Likewise, we produce more milk with fewer animals, while releasing fewer greenhouse gas emissions per kilogram of milk,” noted Klopatek.

“We want to always go back to the primitive beautiful red barn scenario, but we are going to have close to 10 billion people in 2050. We cannot have that [sustain our growing population] with two cows per small plot of land. So, we must convey to the world that it is going to be difficult to feed all of these people, and it’s going to be difficult to feed them with fewer and fewer resources. So that’s my goal,” she said.

Memorial Day: To Honor, To Reflect, To Remember

Farmer Veteran Coalition Offers Veterans New Sense of Purpose

By Patrick Cavanaugh

Memorial Day is a day of solemn remembrance of those in the U.S. military who have been killed in the line of duty. We at American Cattle News have heavy hearts for the individuals and families who have suffered losses for all of us. We also want to convey appreciation for our nation’s veterans and current service members.

We also take this Memorial Day opportunity to focus on those veterans who have returned home and embraced the farming industry by reporting on the Farmer Veteran Coalition (FVC). Evan Eagan, communications specialist for the FVC and veteran Marine Corps combat correspondent (2003 to 2007), said, “There have been thousands of veterans that have returned to family farms and ranching operations throughout the country.”

“Typically, [veterans] reach out to us either through our website or they give us a call and we assess where they are,” in terms of farming experience. “Either they have returned to a family farm or they are looking for training to get into the business,” said Eagan. “They may also be looking for some sort of loan assistance. They are in our database and we follow up with them on whatever they are seeking—whether it be urban gardening, hydroponics, aquaponics or even large-scale crop farming. Returning veterans are engaged in farming throughout California,” he said.FLAG

FVC also provides veterans with information on crop loans, as well as other funding sources such as micro-loan agencies. “We are able to endorse loans up to about $10,000,” said Eagan.

“Additionally, we have the Farmer Veteran Fellowship Fund which opens once a year and rewards up to $5,000 per farmer veteran,” said Eagan. And that’s not a loan; it is a grant they do not have to pay back. Traditionally, we award it to veterans who already come from farm families and who have done something to establish some sort of operation. We try to give them critical items to give them a boost in the early stages of their farming endeavors.”

Some veterans may not have a farm to come back to, so they will need land to get started. Egan noted that new farmers find the land costs too high in California to get started, but other areas of the country, such as the South and the Midwest are more affordable.

FVC staff makes themselves available to any returning veteran seeking work in farming. We have outreach personnel standing by Monday through Friday to take calls and field emails to assist anybody who hears about us. Reaching out to veterans is one of our main focuses right now—to let more and more veterans know that these services are available to them. We’re here, ready to help them get into farming, to discover if it is something for them.”

Many veterans who get into farming report a bonus therapeutic effect. Current research studies that we’re involved with, in coordination with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, are quantifying the therapeutic effects of farming on veterans. R Reportedly, farming has helped alleviate PTSD symptoms for some veterans and gives them a sense of purpose.

“Once you’re in the military and you’ve been serving on a mission, you really get behind what you’re doing. Once you get out, many veterans lose that sense of identity and purpose. The military is such a close-knit community; you have a network of people who are in the same battle with you. Then you get out and you end up in a rural area where there are not many resources or people. Farming may fill that void and give veterans a real sense of purpose while also fulfilling a real need.”

“FVC also manages the Homegrown by Heroes Program, a crop labeling program that gives consumers a tangible way to support veterans. The Homegrown Heroes program is currently endorsed by 15 state department of agriculture and has More than 600 participants in 48 states, plus Puerto Rico. Furthermore, Homegrown by Heroes sales exceed $50 million each year.”

Farmer Veteran Coalition

Homegrown by Heroes

Ranchers Testify In D.C.

Federal regulations and litigation are two key issues being discussed in Washington, D.C. this week. Ethan_Lane_PLC

Ethan Lane is the Executive Director of the Public Lands Council and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Federal Lands.  A 5th generation Arizonan with 18 years experience in natural resources and land use issues. He tells us more here:

Cattle Grazing on Federal Lands Is Critical to Reduce Fire Damage

By Patrick Cavanaugh, ACN Broadcaster

Because wildfires on BLM and Forest Service land in the west can change the entire ecosystem, it’s critical to minimize the change by the grazing of cattle.

“What we know about the West is that the BLM and the Forest Service have an incredible, huge portfolio of property that they have to manage,” said Ethan Lane, the Executive Director of the Public Lands Council and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association Federal Lands.Cattle grazing in California

“We’re talking about hundreds of millions of acres of federal land that’s open for grazing across the West and after years of grazing this land and managing these ecosystems, what we know is that there’s a fire cycle that can develop if we don’t keep fuel load on these grasslands in check. Once that fire cycle takes over, it can actually change the entire ecosystem fire after fires,” said Lane.

But the mere fact that cattle is grazing on that land can be a major benefit on minimizing the fire. “So that an incredibly important habitat that is sort of a benefit on grazing on these landscapes, that creates places for sage grouse and elk and deer and all different kinds of species to thrive alongside grazing can actually disappear because we’re not grazing enough,” said Lane.

“If cattle cannot graze and keep those fuel loads down, particularly in a year like this, where we’ve seen an incredible amount of moisture and snow pack around most of the West. I was out in Nevada week before last, and in northern Nevada, the rivers are running so high and fast due to a very deep snowpack, it’s just unbelievable,” Lane said.

“This means more feed and that means that we’re bouncing back from that drought in many areas, but it does mean we have an additional responsibility to manage that grass and what we know is, if cattle are in there responsibly grazing not only do we manage the fuel load, but we get a healthier rebound in that forage next year and the year after that, too,” said Lane.

“So the perennial grasses that we’re looking for, that prevent erosion and allow that habitat to really flourish, only really works if we have grazing in there as a primary tool, so we’re trying to get the word out on that and help people to understand not just where we can help but where we’re being prevented from helping now,” he noted.

For more information click here:

Grazing Decreases Wildfires

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association has kicked off a media and advertising campaign to shine a spotlight on how cattle grazing on public land, helps to mitigate the risk of catastrophic wildfires in the west.

Even though the season brought more rain, it has produced tremendous grass growth and that grass can dry out quickly during the summer and all it takes is one lightning strike to set it all ablaze.

Of course, cattle grazing manages fuel loads and decreases wildfire’s chances. More information at

Oklahoma Cattlemen Deliver Message

The President of the Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association (OCA), Charlie Swanson delivered 480 petitions today to the Oklahoma Department of Agriculture to begin the process of planning a state referendum vote for a Oklahoma state beef checkoff.

The petitions represent more than 5,150 signatures by beef cattle ranchers and farmers calling for the opportunity to vote on creating a state based beef checkoff.

Oklahoma state law requires that a successful petition be signed by 10% of beef cattle ranchers and farmers. According to the most recent National Agriculture Statistics Service survey done in 2012, that number in Oklahoma is approximately 51,000 beef cattle farmers and ranchers.

The next step in the process is for the Secretary of Agriculture to schedule a public hearing to consider the petition. The additional revenue generated by the checkoff will help promote beef to consumers and nutrition advisors.

“Now more than ever, cattle producers must band together to promote beef. Our consumers want to know more information about beef and how we raise it. We have a great story to tell and we need to tell them,” said Charlie Swanson, OCA President. Additionally, the checkoff can support promotion of US beef in foreign markets.

“Thanks to President Trump, US beef will be back in China in mid-July. We need to fund promotion and advertising strategies there to make sure they know how great our beef is,” Swanson added.

The Oklahoma Cattlemen’s Association is the trusted voice of the Oklahoma cattle industry and exists to support and defend the state and nation’s beef cattle industry.

The OCA officers, board of directors and membership encourages you to join us in our advocacy efforts to ensure less government intervention, lower taxes and a better bottom line. For more information about OCA membership or activities visit

Driving Beef Demand in Missouri

Driving demand for high quality and safe beef is the work of the Missouri Beef Council.


Mark Russell

“We try to target more into urban areas where we can do education efforts with schools,” says executive director Mark Russell. “We also work with influence groups like dietitians, nutritionists, physician and nurse groups.”

He says it’s all part of the efforts of the beef checkoff to get the facts and the truth out about beef and representing cattlemen driving their product. Here more from Mark Russell here:

Ranchers Recovering From Late Spring Blizzards

Mother Nature continues to take its toll on the cattle industry. Farmers and ranchers in parts of Colorado, Kansas, Texas, and Oklahoma are now recovering from the aftermath FEMAof late spring blizzards.

Staggering losses are being recorded after seven foot high snow drifts in Prowers and Baca counties. It’s estimShawnMartiniated thousands of cattle were killed.

Affected ranchers may be able to recoup some of their losses through USDA’s Livestock Indemnity Program (LIP) 

American Cattle News’ Patrick Cavanaugh spoke with Shawn Martini, VP of Advocacy at the Colorado State Farm Bureau: