South Dakota cattleman says beef is a climate change solution

South Dakota cattleman says beef is a climate change solution

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Todd Wilkinson, a cattle producer from South Dakota, believes that contrary to what environment activists say beef production can be a climate change solution. 

Wilkinson brought his ideas to Washington D.C. Thursday when he testified in front of the U.S. Senate's Environment and Public Works Subcommittee on Clean Air and Nuclear Safety.

"Climate policies that unfairly target cattle producers fail to recognize the positive role of cattle and beef in a healthy, sustainable food system," Wilkinson he told the subcommittee. "Rather than adopting misguided policies that threaten the viability of farmers and ranchers, we want to shift the conversation."

According to a release from the National Cattleman's Beef Association, Wilkinson discussed how grazing has environmental benefits and discussed myths about how methane impacts the global climate. He also called the cattle industry stewards of our nation's natural resources and America's original conservationists.  

"(Grazing) naturally sequesters carbon, a benefit compounded by ruminant grazing," Wilkinson said. "Grazing builds deep root systems in prairie grasses, which improve soil health. Healthy soils retain more water, sequester more carbon, and increase the resiliency of our ranches."

"Methane emissions from cattle are part of the natural methane cycle," Wilkinson continued. "Within 10 years, more than 90 percent of that methane combines with oxygen in the atmosphere and converts to CO2. Methane has no long-term impact on climate when emissions and oxidation are in balance. And this balance has been maintained for centuries."

Wilkinson is the co-owner and operator of a feeding business in De Smet, South Dakota. 

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