Growing up on a farm as a kid, I was often asked to listen up when the weather was on TV. Today, the conversation centers around the overall climate as much as the local daily weather. How can we make a meaningful impact when caring for our climate? This is a relevant question for farmers and consumers alike.

What we eat, how we live, and what we drive are often discussed as areas of consumer consumption that can benefit or harm the climate. The livestock industry, (cows, in particular) is often considered a major culprit for greenhouse gas emissions. Removing or reducing meat in one’s diet is often encouraged, but would this change in behavior truly make a difference? The answer may surprise you, but exchanging animal protein for plant protein would have virtually no measurable effect on the climate, according to Dr. Frank Mitloehner of the University of California-Davis.

You can be confident that the beef on your plate is a nutritious component of a healthy diet, and you’re not harming the environment by consuming it. On the other hand, good practices in livestock management can make a beneficial difference for the climate. When we listen to the facts, we find that farmers and ranchers are constantly adopting new methods in nutrition and management efficiency. These improvements create opportunities for agriculture to be part of the solution for reducing greenhouse gas levels in the atmosphere.

To learn more about greenhouse gas emissions watch this video featuring Diane Karr.