Type: Chapter

The sustainability and carbon footprints of conventional and alternative beef production systems

Author Jude L. Capper

Washington State University

Publication date:

31 March 2017

ID: 9781838790486

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The beef industry faces a significant challenge in producing sufficient food to supply the requirements of the growing population, while maintaining a culture of continuous improvement and reducing environmental impacts per unit of beef produced. Since the late 1970’s, the US beef industry made significant efficiency gains that improved resource use and reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and considerable opportunities exist for making greater gains in future. However, beef producers’ future access to specific management practices or technologies may be constrained by consumer perceptions.

Table of contents

1 Introduction
2 Defining sustainability
3 GHG emissions and carbon footprints
4 Trends in beef sustainability
5 Sustainability of alternative (grass-fed, natural, organic) beef production systems
6 Opportunities for improving and maintaining beef sustainability
7 The role of consumers
8 Conclusion
9 Where to look for further information
10 References