. by Frank M. Mitloehner, The Conversation. He is a molecular biologist in CFAES and is working to reduce the amount of methane cattle give off by improving their digestion. And it will make you healthier. The environmental impact of meat production varies because of the wide variety of agricultural practices employed around the world. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. The latest research shows that the U.S. dairy industry accounts for only about 2 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. CFAES COVID-19 Resources: Safe and Healthy Buckeyes | COVID-19 Hub | CFAES Calendar, College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences. Cows vs Cars According to the United Nations, agriculture is responsible for 18% of the total release of greenhouse gases and cattle are a major contributor to this figure. This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Yu’s current research examines how natural compounds can reduce the number of protozoa in a cow’s stomach, thus decreasing the amount of methane and nitrogen a cow expels. “Cattle are releasing methane by burping almost every minute,” Lee said. Different compounds can reduce the methane generated in a cow’s gut. Raising livestock also offers much-needed income for small-scale farmers in developing nations. Using solar power, cattle convert grass to high-quality protein, beef! Reducing the methane gas cattle generate not only cuts greenhouse gas emissions but potentially allows more of the feed cattle consume to be directed to their body and production. All of animal agriculture contributes less than half of this amount, representing 3.9% of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions. That’s very different from claiming livestock represents as much or more than transportation.”, Move over Meatless Mondays and plant-based idealists. Some farmers feed their animals more phosphorus than the requirements call for, in hopes of boosting the cows’ production levels. Across the globe, livestock spew 14.5 percent of all greenhouse gases (methane, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and fluorinated gases) released in the environment, and over half that comes … October 2006 Does pasture management affect the environment? Two previous studies conducted by Worldwatch Institute and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) erroneously claimed that livestock production was more harmful to the environment than all modes of transportation. Mitloehner writes, “The technological, genetic and management changes that have taken place in U.S. agriculture over the past 70 years have made livestock production more efficient and less greenhouse gas-intensive. If you have a disability and experience difficulty accessing this content request accommodation here. Here are four tidbits worth sharing with naysayers. When weighing food choices and the environmental impact, consider more than greenhouse gases, such as nutrition, biodiversity, land use and other factors. All food that is grown has an impact on the environment. That’s not the way to reduce emissions and preserve natural resources. COLUMBUS, Ohio — No disrespect to cows, but they produce a lot of gas. But even after that happens, there’s an opportunity to reduce the environmental effects of that waste. Worldwide, livestock provides a livelihood for 1 billion people.”. Cutting Nitrogen and Phosphorous in Cattle Waste. Besides cow’s gas, their manure can be problematic. However, Mitloehner says it’s hard to “unring the bell” due to the widespread media coverage following both of these reports.