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Planet and human health are top priority

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By Trent Loos

It is with much regret that I will not be attending the upcoming Cattle Industry Convention in Nashville Feb 4 to 6. In many ways it could be the most important convention ever held if these meetings actually direct future policy that cattle owners want to follow. I will not be in attendance because of speaking conflicts elsewhere that week, but by looking at the program the “real issues” of the day are not top of mind for the organizers.

I continue to have a growing number of people tell me that their medical provider told them to cut back or reduce their consumption of red meat for health reasons. The misinformation that health care providers keep repeating is nearly the greatest threat to the infrastructure of beef production, second only to the wrath of Mother Nature.

Convention organizers have decided instead to invite presenters to educate producers on the “triple bottom line.” They’ve also reached out to people who live in a city somewhere to tell the ranchers and feedlot operations how to be sustainable. Really? Based on what personal “skin in the game” experience?

Let me very clear, cattle producers with a desire to be more profitable have been steering this ship toward producing twice as much beef from every animal we raise, and we have achieved that while improving the health of the planet. That was not accomplished under the direction of some clown named Ronald McDonald whose sole purpose is to entertain kids and get them to demand Happy Meals from their parents.

So if you plan to make the trip to the Cattle Industry Convention in Nashville, I think you should be asking the following question at every opportunity: Why are we not featuring people like the ones listed below at this year’s meeting? What is the real agenda of this organization?

Stephen Smith, Ph.D., an AgriLife Research meat scientist, and his team of researchers have found that, contrary to popular perception, the intramuscular fat from beef is actually good for you and not different from olive oil. That is a message our industry needs to be sending!

Smith’s research reports: “We did see many positive effects in men that consumed ground beef from corn-fed cattle. The ground beef from the USDA Prime cattle increased HDL cholesterol and LDL particle diameter. Both effects are protective against cardiovascular disease. The Prime ground beef also decreased insulin, so it may have some protective effect against type II diabetes.”

Dr. Arthur Beaudet, professor and chair of Molecular and Human Genetics at the Baylor College of Medicine, is one of the leading scientists looking at autism in children.

“My work clearly shows that kids who eat beef early in life have a lower incidence of autism than those who do not. Human breast milk and even infant formula are excellent sources of carnitine but when we transition infants to solid food, we often feed primarily pureed vegetables and cereal, leaving a real void for carnitine production in the body.”

Drew Ramsey is an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University and is co-author of “The Happiness Diet.” He wrote this in the New York Times:

“Meat, fish and eggs are our only concentrated dietary sources of vitamin D, vitamin B12, omega-3 fats (which play a huge role in brain health), heme-iron (which increases the absorption of iron from vegetables) and conjugated linoleic acid, which appears to fight cancer and heart disease.”

The Cattle Industry Convention affords all cattle owners the opportunity to show up and weigh in on what is important. With all of the gloom and doom misinformation being propagated about beef, why aren’t we focused on the positive work these scientists are doing to promote our product? Who doesn’t want to be healthy and smart and prevent autism in our children? These are huge life-altering health issues.

It looks to me like the people in the leadership positions of the beef industry are spending way too much time listening to that small vocal minority that is trying to put us out of business. Those same squeaky wheels have been targeting every phase of the industry and have managed to get some processors and retailers to roll over. Since when would a bunch of cowboys rather compromise their principles and their legacy than fight for what they know is right?

We produce cattle because they improve the planet and they improve human health. We should not apologize for that. We should be proud of it. Our planet and its people need more beef production, not less. Be loud and proud and let our leaders know which way we want to drive this industry!

Editor’s note: Trent Loos is a sixth generation United States farmer, host of the daily radio show, Loos Tales, and founder of Faces of Agriculture, a non-profit organization putting the human element back into the production of food. Get more information at www.FacesOfAg.com, or email Trent at trentloos@gmail.com.

Date: 2/3/2013



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