Editor’s note: Wausau Pilot & Review gladly publishes commentary from readers, residents and candidates for local offices. The views of readers and columnists are independent of this newspaper and do not necessarily reflect the views of Wausau Pilot & Review. To submit, email editor@wausaupilotandreview.com or mail to 500 N. Third St., Suite 208-8, Wausau, Wis. 54403.

Dear editor,

Cattle farmers, like my family and I, are dedicated to caring for our animals and the land every day of the year. Our continual focus on sustainability is often overshadowed by misinformation regarding beef’s contribution to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.  

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), GHG from beef cattle only represents 2% of emissions in the U.S. Between 1961 and 2018, U.S. cattle farmers decreased emissions per pound of beef by 40%, while producing 60% more beef per animal. 

Cattle expel methane which only remains in the environment for 9-12 years before mother nature recycles it through plants, cattle, and the atmosphere. Cattle grazing accelerates the process of storing carbon in the soil. In contrast, carbon dioxide, produced from burning of fossil fuels, remains in the atmosphere for several hundred years. 

Transportation accounts for 29% of GHG emissions, and electricity accounts for nearly 25% of emissions in the U.S. If all livestock in the U.S. were eliminated and every American followed a vegan diet, GHG emissions would only be reduced by 0.36% globally. Reducing car trips and electricity use are significantly more impactful to achieve climate neutrality than adopting a meatless diet. 

Consumers should feel good about eating beef, knowing it’s produced on farms like ours, by people like us, across America. Beef farmers are committed to further increasing our sustainability and investing in future-focused solutions. Your choice of beef supports local farmers, who re-invest those dollars in the local economy, all while caring for our natural resources. 

Brady Zuck, Ladysmith