What is a rancher???
Before we get too far, let’s discuss the difference between a farmer and a rancher. Typically, farmers are those who grow crops but chicken, turkey, egg, pig and dairy producers are also commonly called farmers. Those who raise sheep and cattle are often called ranchers. Make sense?
More than 97 percent of beef cattle ranches are family owned!
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and their National Agricultural Statistics Service, 97 percent of all beef cattle ranches in the United States are family owned. Some ranches may be big and others may be small, but they all share the same passion in raising cattle and commitment to animal care.
Cattle ranchers care for their cattle by providing a nutritious diet, good medical care and healthy living conditions. Here are a three ways cattle ranchers care for their cattle:
- Cattle ranchers work closely with veterinarians to keep their cattle healthy.
- Professional animal nutritionists help ranchers develop a balanced and nutritious diet for their cattle.
- The Beef Quality Assurance program assists ranchers by providing information about science-based husbandry techniques to help ranchers care for their cattle.
Beef cattle ranchers are committed to continuous improvement and strive to take care of the land on which they raise their cattle. In fact, the ranchers often live and raise their families on the land as well and work hard to ensure they are providing for the future generation of cattle ranchers. Between 1997 and 2007, the beef community produced each pound of beef using 19 percent less feed, 33 percent less land, 12 percent less water and 9 percent less fossil fuels.
In a recent report released by the USDA, all of agriculture was reported to be responsible for only 10 percent of total green house gas emissions in 2014 while transportation accounted for 26 percent.
It’s not just beef!
Although most Americans love a grilled steak at a summer cookout or a big bowl of spicy chili when it’s cold outside, beef cattle yield more than just beef! Did you know baseball gloves, lipstick, tires, soap, asphalt, piano keys, photo film and much more also come from cattle!
Now you know a little bit more about beef cattle – Happy Beef Month!
About the author:
I didn’t grow up on farm, but as soon as I met a farmer I knew I wanted to help tell their story. I am the communications coordinator at the Animal Agriculture Alliance responsible for social media, website management and member resources, bridging the communication gap between farm and fork and telling farmers’ stories every day.