The topic of responsible and sustainable animal agriculture has received a lot of attention in recent years, but these concepts are nothing new to the American farmer. Given the rise of social media and increased interest in food production by consumers, the people asking questions about sustainability are not just neighbors, friends and relatives, but include audiences around the world. This puts animal agriculture under increased scrutiny and means that farmers have to put far more emphasis on the social side of sustainability than ever before.

This report highlights how the animal agriculture industry shares the same values as today’s consumer with its never-ending commitment to animal care, environmental stewardship, responsible antibiotic use, food safety and nutrition.

What Is Sustainability?

The meaning of sustainability has been subjected to a variety of interpretations, but it is critical to understand that sustainability is a continuous journey, rather than a destination.

To those in agriculture, sustainability means using natural resources efficiently; caring for the land, air, water and wildlife.

Livestock production in the United States is a model for the rest of the world for several reasons: (1) we use advance genetics; (2) we use advanced healthcare; and (3) we feed our animals optimal diets.

Meat & Milk’s Sustainability Story

From 1944 to 2007, U.S. dairy producers used 77% less feed, 90% less land, 65% less water and have achieved a 63% reduction in the carbon footprint per gallon of milk!

The modern U.S. beef industry uses 19% less feed, 12% less water, 33% less land and has a 16% lower carbon footprint compared to beef production in the 1970’s.

From 1960 to 2015, pig farmers in the U.S. used 75.9% less land, 25.1% less water, 7% less energy and have a 7.7% lower carbon footprint.

The resources used to produce one dozen eggs have been cut considerably with 26% less feed, 32% less water and a 71% lower carbon footprint since 1960.