Conventional beef production is eco-friendly and eco-nomical
U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved conventional beef-production technologies are more important than ever to the livelihood of the U.S. beef industry. They help the industry produce more beef, more efficiently, making beef more affordable for consumers with less impact on the environment.
Conventional beef-production technologies contribute to an affordable food supply
Conventional beef-production technologies — growth-promoting implants, ionophores and beta-agonists — play a critical role in U.S. beef production. They significantly increase the volume of beef produced while conserving natural resources and reducing production costs across all segments of the industry. The result is more affordable beef for consumers and increased consumer demand.
A recently completed economic
analysis1 of the impact of these
technologies on U.S. beef production using 2007 cattle prices and input costs showed that if the
use of growth-enhancing technologies were discontinued, there would be:
18% less beef produced
11% increase in retail beef prices
8.5% decrease in per-capita consumption of beef
Conventional beef-production technologies improve land-use efficiency
An Iowa State University
study2 shows that beef animals
finished in a conventional feedyard using grain-based rations and growth-enhancing technologies
are three times more land efficient than organic or grass-fed beef animals.
Land area (acre-days) needed to produce
1 pound of beef during the finishing phase
|Organic grass-fed||Grain-fed without growth-enhancing technologies||Grain-fed with growth-enhancing technologies|
Conventional feedyard-production technologies make the most efficient use of total farmland resources. This is particularly important as we consider:
- The world population is estimated to reach 9 billion by the middle of the 21st century
- The global demand for food will double by 2050 and there will continue to be increased per-capita demand for beef and other high-quality animal protein
- Worldwide, we have a limited land area on which to produce food, feed and fiber
- It is critical that we continue to conserve natural and biodiverse natural habitats
Conventional beef-production technologies reduce greenhouse gas emissions
Conventional grain-based beef-production systems reduce greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions by 40 percent compared to grass-only finishing programs2. Growth-promoting technologies account for 25 percent of this reduction. Overall, beef production contributes only 2 percent of the GHG emissions in the U.S. compared to 80 percent from fossil-fuel combustion.
1Lawrence, J.D. and M. Ibarburu. 2009. Economic Analysis of Pharmaceutical Technologies in Modern Beef Production in a Bioeconomy Era. Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. http://econ2.econ.iastate.edu/faculty/lawrence/pharma%202007%20update.pdf. Accessed July 22, 2010.
2Avery, A. and D. Avery. 2007. The Environmental Safety and Benefits of Pharmaceutical Technologies in Beef Production. Center for Global Food Issues, Churchill, VA. http://www.cgfi.org/pdfs/nofollow/beef-eco-benefits-paper.pdf. Accessed July 22, 2010.