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By Gary Truitt, Ag Hoosier Today sent via

Did you ever wonder what radical environmentalists and opponents of modern agriculture do when credible scientific facts are presented that dash their assumptions and undermine their positions?

They simply ignore them; and, with the help of their sycophants in the media, they make sure no one ever hears the truth. If you think I am exaggerating, let me show you the most recent example of how proponents of climate change and organic farming refused to acknowledge the existence of groundbreaking research that contradicted their long held beliefs.

"Pound-for-pound, beef produced with grains and growth hormones produces 40% less greenhouse gas emissions and saves two-thirds more land for nature compared to organic grass-fed beef."

This was the conclusion of a research report published by the prestigious Center For Global Food Issues, a division of the Hudson Institute. To reach these startling conclusions, analysts used beef production models from Iowa State University's Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture and greenhouse gas emissions estimates from the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (UN IPCC). The data showed major environmental benefits of this production system: Saving 2/3rds more land for nature and producing 40% fewer greenhouse gas emissions per pound of beef produced.

For the first time, this study compared the land costs and greenhouse gas emissions of organic grass-based beef with conventional grain-finished beef. To be specific, grass-based organic beef requires more than 5 acre-days to produce a pound of beef, less than 1.7 acre-days are needed in a grain-fed feedlot system using growth hormones.

As report author Alex Avery put it, "Environmentally conscious consumers who have been told that grass-raised beef is more environmentally sensitive and sustainable should rethink their beef purchases in light of our findings,"

Given the current public interest in global climate change, you would think this would be big news. But it hardly made a ripple in the environmental community or the mass media. A search of the CNN, USA Today, and New York Times web sites turned up no references to this report. A Google search found only 640 web sites that referenced the story. A brief review of the sites that did carry the story revealed primarily agricultural, business, and PR web sites. A search of the Grist environmental web site revealed 640 stories on greenhouse gases but no mention of the CGFI report.

When some crackpot says there is a way to reduce greenhouse gasses by cutting back on something, doing way with something, regulating something, or outright banning something, the media is at the head of the pack cheering on the new way to save the earth. But let respectable scientists suggest we can reduce greenhouse gasses and use our limited land resources more efficiently, by using technology and modern production practices and know body seems to care.

So next time someone tries to make you feel guilty about greenhouse gas emissions, ask them to help you save the planet by taking you out for a grain-fed steak dinner.

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