Cattle in a Feedlot
When an animal is fed in a confinement situation its food must be harvested, dried, shipped, and fed to the animal. All these feeding activities burn large amounts of fossil fuels. Then after the animals consume the feed, all of their waste needs to be removed. In feed lots and barns the manure builds up and the fumes and bacteria stress and sicken the animals. To get rid of this excess manure, it is shipped to crop fields where is spread, but because the fields are bare dirt, the manure runs off and pollutes our waters.
- Grass fed beef requires about one calorie of fossil fuels to produce two calories food. In comparison, conventionally raised grain fed beef requires up to 35 calories of fossil fuel to produce one calorie of food. Many grain and vegetable crops require five to ten calories of fossil fuel for every calorie of food or fiber produced.
- Grazing cattle on pastures helps remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Pasture land in the Great Plains region contains 40 tons of carbon per acre compared to 26 tons per acre in cultivated soils.
- Reduced tillage helps to naturally improve soil health and quality.
- Proper grazing improves the water cycle by improving water infiltration into the soil and reducing runoff.