The opinions expressed in this commentary are those of John Nalivka, president of Sterling Marketing, Inc.
Have we all read enough articles about climate change legislation to “save the planet?” After the last couple of weeks, I could write enough opinion on that topic to have articles for this page for the remainder of 2019! However, I won’t but instead I thought I would a make a point that seems to stand out – that is the rather obscure connection between climate change legislation and sustainability.
A well-discussed topic at many conferences over the last 10 years has been sustainable food production to feed the world’s growing population. I think most of us agree that the United States will play an important role in accomplishing this undertaking in both meat protein and crops. I probably say more often than some people want to hear, but we are the most efficient producer of food and agricultural products in the world – hands down and I don’t mind repeating it. Furthermore, we have the expertise to pass that knowledge on to other countries. With technology and our spirit of “get it done,” I have little apprehension that we can feed the world’s growing population and the systems will be sustainable.
So, now we throw in a sharply accelerated discussion of greenhouse gases and climate change. One might say it is not only fashionable conversation for politicians, but perhaps, even required. And no, I am not trying to be funny. I don’t find anything funny about what has been said and written over the past several weeks. As I wrote in my comments to the Oregon State Legislature – this is serious, particularly when the comment is made that we shouldn’t have cows if we want to reduce greenhouse gases! My first reaction to that comment brings the conversation full circle back to the much discussed topic of sustainability. How can cattlemen be sustainable and feed the people on this planet if someone thinks they don’t even need to exist? Sounds like when it was said we don’t need to produce cars in the U.S. or we don’t need sawmills in Oregon. It was not idle conversation on those accounts and it isn’t idle conversation when someone says we don’t need cows on the planet earth. This is a much accelerated one-sided discussion that may surpass many threats to cattlemen in the past – gray wolves, wild horses, spotted owls!
There are distinct and proven benefits to the environment accruing to cattle production and yes, it is sustainable. U.S. agriculture feeds 327 million Americans and people across the globe. It is nothing more than sheer hypocrisy when the climate change hysteria includes sustainability and taking the cows off the planet in the same sentence! I am not laughing!