Going Green

Friday, February 15, 2008

Green Ranchers and Agendas

There are a number of things in this article that clearly have an agenda behind them. Below, I will attempt to point out a few things that I take issue with.

Green Ranchers Buck Cattle Industry

Associated Press Writer

CATHEYS VALLEY, Calif. (AP) -- Seth Nitschke spent his early 20s working at large feed lots before he returned home to start a business raising beef cattle fed on the grasses of the Sierra Nevada foothills.

Nitschke, 31, who herds heifers through pastures near Yosemite National Park, doesn't consider himself an environmental activist, though he's planting saplings to protect nearby streams and runs a light herd to let his pastures breathe.

Unlike some of his counterparts in...(complete article here).

First quote:

"But increasingly, ranchers are buying into the idea that they have a role to play in protecting open space, be it through preserving private wildlands or promoting sustainable grazing techniques"

Increasingly? Ranchers have always known that preserving open space and wildlands was critical to their survival. Yes, it has been a battle of surviving against the forces of nature, but one in which ranchers have learned to adapt and work with what nature throws at them. It seems to me that ranchers have defended open spaces from the very beginning -- why do you think there were range wars against farmers who were ripping the sod? It was certainly based in economics, but the result was that ranchers were protecting nature.

Second quote:

"This new generation of ranchers knows they have to work on the environmental part of it to survive," said Neil McDougald, a rancher at the University of California Cooperative Extension office in Madera County. "I'll guarantee you the guys driving cows today have a better environmental conscience than the ranchers who were riding around holding up stagecoaches."

Does this guy really think it was ranchers holding up stagecoaches? There seems to be confusion over who the bad guys really are or were.

Third quote:

"Last year, 37.5 million calves were born to U.S. beef producers - the smallest herd since 1951 - a decline the National Cattlemen's Beef Association attributes partially to land loss."

Beef demand has been rising. Beef producers have been meeting that demand. They have met it through better genetics producing more beef with fewer animals. The market determines the size of the cow herd. Yes, there has been loss of prime grazing land to hunting leases and housing developments, but the beef is still being produced -- just on fewer animals.

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