insights -- Feburary 2018 - 6

as 100-year CO2 equivalents. A previous
widely cited FAO report using somewhat
more comprehensive analysis had estimated
18%. But the higher emission percentage
included contributions associated with
livestock used for the production of
draft (animal) power, eggs, wool and
dairy products. So the percentage
attributable to meat production alone
was significantly lower. Another report
said that in the U.S., methane emissions
associated with ruminant livestock were
estimated to have declined by about 17%
from 1980 through 2012. The FAO and
others also claimed that that it took as
much as 1,600 gallons of water to produce
one pound of beef in the U.S.
Such reports and subsequent publicity propelled the
U.S. meat and poultry industry and the global beef
industry to mount a massive response that continues
to this day. The single most important initiative was the
development of the Global Roundtable for Sustainable
Beef (GRSB). It is a multi-stakeholder initiative
developed to advance continuous improvement in the
sustainability of the global beef value chain, it says.
The U.S. beef industry also produced its own studies
on water usage, greenhouse gas emissions and the
impact of beef production on the environment. The most
effective industry response about the third topic came
from Dr. Jude Capper of Washington State University.
She analyzed extensive production data to show that
modern beef production uses far fewer resources
than in the 1970s and is far more efficient, therefore
more environmentally friendly. Other scientists and
economists at other universities also conducted studies
into beef production. A study by the University of
California at Davis said it takes just 441 gallons of water
to produce one pound of boneless beef, or about 110
gallons for a quarter-pound hamburger.

7. CONCLUSION
The U.S. meat and poultry industry is well-positioned
to supply an ever-increasing quantity of high-quality,
traditional protein to meet a growing global demand for
protein. It is also investing in, and will do so more heavily
in the coming years, alternative protein sources, notably

6

lab-grown meats. It sees them as an important part of
its future, not as a threat. The industry will continue to
enjoy a high level of profitability for some years to come,
barring unforeseen circumstances such as an animal
disease crisis.
- Steve Kay
Editor & Publisher Cattle Buyers Weekly
Petaluma, Calif.
Sponsored by

www.intlfcstone.com
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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of insights -- Feburary 2018

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