In this file:


·         Carbon tax 'unfair' hit on Welsh beef cattle

·         Lapsers: Social influencers to blame as 26% plan to reduce red meat consumption

·         STAFFORD: How do cattle really impact the environment?



Carbon tax 'unfair' hit on Welsh beef cattle


By Debbie James, Western Telegraph (UK)

13th October 2020


Plans to impose a £100 carbon tax on prime beef cattle finished later than 27 months old could result in the phasing out of important traditional breeds that play an important role in managing Wales’ hills and uplands.


The industry body, the National Beef Association (NBA), is suggesting that a levy would deter producers from retaining older, slower-growing and less efficient cattle, cutting the sector’s carbon footprint and streamlining production.


It wants a change in rules that define animals as prime cattle between 12 and 30 months.


 But the proposal could impact Welsh beef producers disproportionately and, instead of achieving the desired outcome of protecting the environment, it could be harmful.


In Wales, many beef systems use regenerative farming practices and are less intensive.


Farmers’ Union of Wales (FUW) president Glyn Roberts, who runs a beef and sheep farm with his daughter Beca in Ysbyty Ifan, north Wales, says the union has received many calls from angry members since the NBA launched its proposals.


“Many highlighted the particular impact the proposal would have for traditional breeds and certain farming systems which are of particular importance to the environment,’’ he says.


He suggests the proposal is a blunt instrument for solving a problem that is not “black and white’’.


“While the carbon benefits of finishing animals more quickly are well known for certain farming systems, for other more traditional systems where animals are finished over a longer period such a black and white proposal did not make sense from an environmental perspective, including in relation to carbon,’’ says Mr Roberts.


The concerns will be raised at a joint meeting of the FUW’s livestock, wool and marts and hill farming and marginal land committees later this month.


Around 10.6 per cent of the 1.5 million prime beef cattle slaughtered each year in the UK are aged between 28 and 30 months.


Some farmers support the NBA plan...





Lapsers: Social influencers to blame as 26% plan to reduce red meat consumption


Rachel Martin, AgriLand (UK)

Oct 14, 2020


More than one in four Northern Ireland adults say they plan to eat less red meat because of social media influencers and negative media reports.


Then Livestock and Meat Commission (LMC) led consumer research found that whilst 90% of adults surveyed in Northern Ireland still eat red meat, 26% planned to eat less in the future.


36% of those surveyed said they already try to limit their red meat intake each week.


In response, working with James Devine, 2017 National Chef of the Year winner, scientists and nutritionists, the LMC has launched its new eight-week campaign ‘The Truth About Beef’ to dispel common myths about red meat.




Speaking at an online launch event on Tuesday (October 13), LMC industry development manager, Colin Smith explained such consumers had been identified as “lapsers”.


Researchers sought to delve into the psyche of ‘lapsers’ to establish what influenced them, why attitudes were changing, and importantly, how they could be encouraged to begin eating beef more regularly again.


“The campaign uses the sensory experience that comes with cooking and eating high-quality beef as a tool to engage consumers in the positive story that the beef industry has to tell in addressing global challenges such as climate change and meeting the nutritional needs of a growing population,” he said.


Key factors ...





STAFFORD: How do cattle really impact the environment?


By Carl C. Stafford, Star-Exponent (VA)

Cot 14, 2020


Finding the facts is challenging and takes time, something we are often short of. So we take the easy route—I get it.


In the world of science, decisions driven by reliable numbers will often turn out to be correct when compared to an opinion, an early lesson I learned from Farm Management Agents.


The publication Progressive Cattle offers in their October issue an article by Jaclyn Krymowski about cattle and climate. A graduate of Ohio State with a major in animal industries and minor in agriculture communications, her article, “Understanding Fact and Fiction on Beef and Climate Change,” is worth reading when seeking guidance on what to believe about this polarizing issue.


She found the book “Livestock’s Long Shadow,” by Henning Steinfeld used an apples and oranges approach in comparing livestock and transportation sectors. Economists tell us that methods used to reach conclusions must be the same, or adjust for differences to be comparable. Simply put, when the methods are different comparisons can mislead.


The big change in air quality and Green House Gases (GHG) in and around our cities over the last six months was obvious from images seen. What happened? —We traveled less and used less energy. This is a big hint in the expected difference in GHG emissions coming from transportation/energy sectors compared to beef cattle. Let us see how much.


Cattle release methane as a byproduct of digestion, they belch a lot to release this gas. It breaks down into carbon dioxide in the environment. According to the EPA, only about 2% of GHG emissions come from cattle, while transportation and electricity combined produce more than 55%. These numbers can change with improvements in efficiency.


American agriculture is constantly improving. Finished cattle today produce 50% more beef than in 1950 so it takes fewer of them if demand is the same. By weight beef cattle are more efficient. A fair comparison of GHG emissions to our food sectors would be in calories. Pounds of food, on the other hand, are not equal. A pound of lettuce and pound of beef have big differences in calorie content.


As for storing carbon, our grazing land is key...