New USDA Beef Lifecycle Assessment Finds Environmental Impacts Lower Than Perceived

    A new study, recently published in the journal Agricultural Systems, is the most comprehensive beef cattle lifecycle assessment ever completed. In the report, titled Environmental Footprints of Beef Cattle Production in the United States, the researchers found widely accepted measures related to beef cattle's impact in the U.S. are often overestimated. The comprehensive lifecycle assessment, conducted by the USDA's Agricultural Research Service and The Beef Checkoff, was designed to scientifically quantify the sustainability of U.S. beef production. This was accomplished by collecting and examining feed and cattle production-related data from more than 2,200 cattle producers in seven regional production areas. Conclusions were derived using a simulation model and the regional production data to estimate national impacts in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, fossil energy use, blue water consumption and reactive nitrogen loss.

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