First of all, I would like to thank each of you for your prayers, cards and calls during Jim’s recent surgery. He is recuperating beautifully and well on the road to a full recovery. That being said, I was not able to cover the news beat this past week. I do, however, have a couple of interesting stories I would like to share with you.
April 22nd marks the 43rd anniversary of Earth Day. Earth Day was started by Wisconsin Sen. Gaylord. Today, Earth Day is celebrated in over 100 countries worldwide. Since cattle are one of Osage County’s main industries, I thought it would be interesting to see what our cattle producers are doing to protect our environment and how they observe the three Rs of Conservation - Reduce, Reuse, & Recycle.
Oklahoma farmers and ranchers are some of our most dedicated stewards of our land. They have to be. Land is their livelihood. If they don’t take care of it, they would be out of business. Land is particularly important to cattle ranchers because cattle need plenty of land for grazing. Cattle are perfect examples of the three Rs of Conservation. By their very nature, they are reducers, reusers and recyclers.
Grazing cattle on land that is not farmable nearly doubles the U.S. food supply. Cattle are ruminants (they have four-part stomachs that can digest plant cell carbohydrates that humans can’t digest) and are able to eat grass and hay and turn them into a high-quality complete protein that is very nutritious for human beings. Cattle are recyclers because they eat by-products that would otherwise end up in landfills, such as citrus and potato peelings, soybean hulls, beet pulp, rice hulls, etc. Cattle’s grazing improves the environment, promotes the growth of good grasses and protects against erosion and forest fires. The same land that provides food and open space for raising cattle also offers a home for many types of wildlife. This includes threatened and endangered species of fish, mammals, birds and plants.
Osage County ranchers contribute to America’s uniqueness. Our ranchers are part of the 2 percent that feeds the nation’s population, produces substantial surpluses for export while keeping food costs, as a percentage of disposable income, at the lowest level in the world.
Cattle produce these products: butter, cheese, hamburgers, hot dogs, ice cream, milk, roast beef and steaks. In addition, cattle produce these byproducts: cosmetics, glue, leather, shoes, gloves, coats, some medicines, soap, sports equipment, pet foods, fertilizer, shaving cream, WD40, and cake mixes.