PHOENIX, July 17, 2012 — New research presented at the 2012 American Society of Animal Science meeting provided insight into the consequences if U.S. farmers and ranchers no longer used productivity-enhancing technologies to raise beef cattle. If technologies were withdrawn, 17 million more acres of land and 138 billion more gallons of water would be required to produce the same total amount of beef. At the same time, 18 million extra metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2eq) would be released in the United States alone and 16.9 million acres of forests would be destroyed in other countries. Overall, the U.S. beef supply would decrease 17 percent, stimulating more beef production in other countries.
“Global demand for safe, affordable beef has increased during the last 50 years, and U.S. producers have responded by adopting innovative products and management practices that help them produce more lean beef,” says Jude Capper, Ph.D., adjunct professor at Washington State University and author of this peer-reviewed study. “If use of these scientifically proven, U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved technologies were discontinued, our research shows the end result would be sobering: more cattle, more land and more water needed to produce the same amount of beef, and more CO2eq released into the atmosphere.”