Originally Published: May 1, 2011 9:57 p.m.
These days, everyone from celebrities to journalists to politicians has an opinion about the "right" way to raise food. Often, their criticism of ranchers like me relates to the environment - people say we aren't doing our part to protect the planet.
While these naysayers talk about minimizing impact on the environment, America's cattle farmers and ranchers get up every day and do it. We care for the land because it's our job. On average, each cattleman has 13 different practices in place to accomplish environmental goals, such as nurturing wildlife, preventing erosion and conserving and protecting water.
We're constantly creating new, innovative practices that help us do more with less. Many experts agree U.S. livestock production practices are an environmentally sustainable solution for raising food and should be considered a model for the rest of the world. The things we do to protect and enhance the land are unique to where we're located. But, no matter what climate or geography we live in, we care for our cattle and the environment.
Today, and every day, I'd like to extend my appreciation to my fellow Arizona farmers and ranchers - the original environmentalists.
President Yavapai Cattle Growers Association, 4th generation rancher