You are here: home   Issues   Home   Beef: It (should be) what's for dinner
Topic: Mining & Agriculture     Department: Letters

Beef: It (should be) what's for dinner

Document Actions

The reference in Andrea Appleton's review of Righteous Porkchop: Finding a Life and Good Food Beyond Factory Farms (HCN, 8/03/09) to the "soil erosion and desertification intensive grazing can cause" is technically and ecologically incorrect. Modern, progressive ranchers follow a management scheme called intensive grazing that results in increasing the organic content of the soil, increasing the plant cover, and the diversity of the plant and animal community while decreasing erosion. This is accomplished by controlling the cattle and monitoring the land.

Next, I would take issue with her implication of the obviously superior environmental benefits of "eating low on the food chain." Intensive grazing allows us to produce high-quality food for humans by capturing solar energy and converting it (via photosynthesis) into red meat. This is accomplished with no tillage, fertilizer, spray, irrigation or petroleum-burning equipment. Meat may in fact be higher on the food chain than veggies and rice, but I doubt many items in the organic produce aisle are grown with as little environmental impact as our beef.

If the public really wants to support agriculture that is low-impact and sustainable, perhaps they should go out and order a grass-fed steak.
John Marble, Heart Z Ranch
Crawfordsville, Oregon

Email Newsletter

The West in your Inbox

Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook! Follow us on Twitter! Follow our RSS feeds!
  1. Idaho’s sewer system is the Snake River | As Big Ag flourishes, this massive waterway suffer...
  2. The Latest: Wild Mexican wolf pups born in Sierra Madre | The species still struggles on both sides of the b...
  3. Recreation-related death toll soars this summer |
  4. Summer swimming in a Washington lake | A writer takes the plunge in frigid water.
  5. Colorado water users gird for first statewide plan |
  1. The death of backpacking? | Younger people don’t seem interested in this out...
  2. Idaho’s sewer system is the Snake River | As Big Ag flourishes, this massive waterway suffer...
  3. A graceful gazelle becomes a pest | Inrroducing an African gazelle called the oryx for...
  4. Illegal immigrants take jobs from Americans | A native-born New Mexico Hispanic points out that ...
  5. Plains sense | Ten years after Frank and Deborah Popper first pro...
HCN Classifieds
Subscriber Alert
© 2014 High Country News, all rights reserved. | privacy policy | terms of use | powered by Plone