Mainstream stories seem to overlook an important aspect of the climate change conversation: the incredible progress American farmers have made in environmental sustainability.

This spring, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its latest greenhouse gas emissions inventory, reaffirming the strides made by U.S. farmers.

Agriculture — an industry that is essential to our everyday daily lives — is responsible for less than 10% of our nation’s greenhouse gas emissions. The data also revealed between 2021 and 2022, agriculture decreased greenhouse gas emissions by nearly 2% — more than any other economic sector.

To put long-term sustainability efforts in more meaningful terms, between 1990 and 2022 American farmers:

  • Increased pork production by 76% while lowering emissions per pound of pork by 23%.
  • Increased milk production by 53% while lowering emissions per gallon of milk by 26%.
  • Increased beef production by 25% while lowering emissions per pound of beef by 17%.

Farmers continue to harness technology, innovation and research to provide more food, fuel, fiber and everyday products around the globe using fewer natural resources.

For example, cattle farmers work with feed nutritionists to give animals what they need at every stage of life, and improvements cattle feed can also reduce their environmental impact.

Dairy farmers rely on activity trackers and artificial intelligence to monitor each cow’s health. Using this data and milking “report cards,” farmers can make adjustments to help each cow milk at her full potential without sacrificing her health.  

And it’s no secret when animals are stress-free, they are healthier. Inside a pig barn, climate-controlled temperatures, automated feeders and waterers and ventilation systems create a comfortable atmosphere similar to what we expect in our own homes.

Each of these animal care efforts adds up to more nutrient-dense, high-quality meat and dairy products. These foods aid our mental and physical health and are produced with environmental stewardship as a top priority.

The story of the American farmer is one of honoring the legacy of resilience while always striving for continuous improvement. It’s an incredible tale, and one that deserves to be told.

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