Earth Day is April 22. It’s a day when economic growth and sustainability join hands. American farmers and ranchers have embraced the values of this annual environmental celebration for generations. In fact, as long as cattle have been produced on land, American farm families have been working to protect and preserve natural resources.

Farm and ranching families walk the same land, breathe the same air and drink the same water as you and your family. They are committed to protecting the world we live in while continuing to improve beef production and sustainability practices. To cattlemen, sustainability means balancing environmental responsibility, social diligence and economic opportunity while meeting the growing demand for beef.

Beef and sustainability

In honor of Earth Day, I’m sharing a few of the many ways raising cattle contribute to environmental sustainability as well as a few facts about the important nutrients beef provides to help people sustain health and well-being. A few highlights include:

  • About two-thirds of cattle farms and ranches have been in the same family for two or more generations.
  • One American farmer feeds about 155 people. Experts estimate global food production will need to increase 70 percent by 2050 to feed a growing world population.
  • Cattlemen are recyclers, raising their animals on the abundant source of grains available in this country and turning their manure into natural fertilizers.
  • The beef community has improved its sustainability by 5% in just 6 years and continues to find ways to raise beef responsibly.
  • Beef is both environmentally and nutritionally efficient – cattle farming requires less land, water and energy than in the past and beef provides 10 essential nutrients like zinc, iron, protein and B-vitamins for about 150 calories per 3-ounce serving.
  • Beef is an excellent source of vitamin B12, an essential nutrient that is not naturally available in plant proteins.
  • Iron deficiency is the most common nutritional deficiency in the world. Beef provides the most readily available and easily absorbed dietary source of iron.

For more information on this topic, visit Facts about Beef.

South Dakota cattle producers live and work on the land. For cattlemen and women, protecting the environment isn’t a choice; it’s essential to their survival and the success of future generations. Be sure to thank local farmers and ranchers in your area for the superior work they do.

Saucy beef wrap recipe

For some springtime fun, have a picnic on Earth Day and create this great-tasting Saucy beef wraps recipe. It’s a unique and flavorful wrap that your family will enjoy.