Opening Statement: Republican Leader Dusty Johnson Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Subcommittee Hearing: "Sustainability in the Livestock Sector: Environmental Gain and Economic Viability"
Washington, February 3, 2022
Remarks as prepared for delivery:
Thank you, Mr. Chairman, and thank you to all the witnesses for being here today. I’m looking forward to hearing from these knowledgeable, solutions-focused leaders.
Unfortunately, there are others who are less knowledgeable and less solutions-focused sharing their views in other venues. Earlier this week, the NYT had an opinion piece entitled “Meet the People Getting Paid to Kill Our Planet.” The piece made sweeping and inaccurate accusations about American agriculture and was oblivious to the incredible progress we are making. The piece was terrible, and was made worse because members of Congress, including Senator Cory Booker, cooperated with this project.
Here are the real facts. In recent decades, the U.S. beef industry has reduced net emissions by more than 40%, making net emissions from U.S. beef production 10 times lower than other regions around the world. Additionally, U.S. ranchers are producing the same amount of beef today as they did in 1977 with 33 percent fewer animals and in turn, less land. Farm productivity was 287 percent greater in 2017 than in 1948.
The American farmer, the America rancher are producing more with less, making the United States the most efficient producer of food and fiber in the world, and, Mr. Chairman, the progress will continue because of solutions being worked on by our witnesses and others.
Solutions like the precision ranching technologies being developed by South Dakota State University and West River Research and Extension. They are deploying a series of new precision measuring technologies in Philip, South Dakota.
These tools are using precision scales and GPS to track individual cattle location and weight on a daily basis. The tools also allow grazing rotations to be managed by smart phone. We are getting unprecedented insight into the grazing practices of these cattle, and what that means for food quality and sustainability. It’s an incredibly fun and important project.
A better, more sustainable future won’t come from the harsh, scolding voices of the naysayers. It’s going to come from the leadership and innovation of people like the researchers at SDSU and our witnesses today.
With that, I yield back.