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US cattle industry commits to climate neutrality by 2040

13 August 2021

The National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) solidified US cattle ranchers’ commitment to environmental, economic and social sustainability with the release of US cattle industry sustainability goals.

Beef producers in the United States are already the global leader in sustainable beef production. The setting of these goals will further enhance the sustainability of the US system and set targets that demonstrate to the world that producers are committed to continued improvement.


The goals for the US cattle industry include:

  • Demonstrate climate neutrality of US cattle production by 2040.
  • Create and enhance opportunities that result in a quantifiable increase in producer profitability and economic sustainability by 2025.
  • Enhance trust in cattle producers as responsible stewards of their animals and resources by expanding educational opportunities in animal care and handling programs to further improve animal well-being.
  • Continuously improve our industry's workforce safety and well-being.

“Cattlemen and women have demonstrated their commitment to sustainability for generations. They work tirelessly to protect the land, water and air resources in their care. Through countless improvements in genetics, grazing management, manure handling and the adoption of many other technologies, this is just the next step on our industry’s path,” said Marty Smith, a Florida cattleman and NCBA past president. “Producers deserve recognition for their use of cutting-edge practices and technologies that minimize environmental impact. By setting goals, we’re publicly committing to continuous improvement and setting targets that allow us to measure and document those efforts.”


These goals are the culmination of a grassroots, rancher-led process. The Sustainability Goals Task Force was formed in 2021 to evaluate the current state of US beef cattle sustainability, determine which improvements are most critical and help share the story of progress. Members of this working group – cattle farmers and ranchers from across the US – led the process and made all decisions, including setting the sustainability goals.

“Sustainability is, and will continue to be, an incredibly important part of what we do, and I’m proud that my fellow leaders across the cattle industry have taken these important steps,” Smith said. “As our country and the world examine risks associated with climate change and other sustainability challenges, our commitment to sustainability positions us to play an even bigger role in mitigating these risks in the future.”


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