Cornucopia’s Take: A recent Japanese study looked at the production methods used for beef cattle, generally considered to have higher environmental impacts than other livestock production. Researchers studied the impacts of feed production, transportation, processing, animal management, enteric fermentation, and manure and its management. While this study had a very small sample, it provides consumers and farmers food for thought.
Organic grass-fed beef has less environmental impact than non-organic grass-fed beef
The Organic Center
A recent study published in the Journal of Cleaner Production assessed the environmental impacts of organic grass-fed beef and non-organic grass-fed beef production. Researchers used a lifecycle analysis to analyze data collected from one grass-fed farm prior to conversion to organic and then after its conversion to organic, as well as data from conventional non-grass-fed farms. They found that organic and non-organic grass-fed beef production practices were more environmentally friendly than conventional production, with reduced impact on acidification, eutrophication (over-growth of algae and decrease of oxygen in bodies of water due to nutrient runoff), and energy consumption. The global warming potential for organic grass-fed beef and conventional beef was not statistically different, although both out-performed non-organic grass-fed beef production. Overall, the study found that organic grass-fed beef production has fewer environmental impacts than both conventional beef and non-organic grass-fed beef production.