The average consumer doesn’t know much about beef production, but many have heard the message that cows produce methane and contribute to greenhouse gas levels.
The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association wants to provide those consumers with additional information.
For example, that cattle provide an economic use for grasslands, which in turn stores carbon in the soil and is the habitat for many animals, birds and insects.
A new message being promoted is that feedlots can divert food waste from landfills.
CCA president Bob Lowe has an Alberta feedlot that uses 25 to 50 tons a week of low quality potatoes, peppers, and other vegetables to feed cattle.
A video and other messaging were presented to a focus group of 88 consumers during an online forum in June.
CCA Public and Stakeholder Manager Amie Peck says the group had little prior knowledge about beef production.
Peck says food waste is an important issue for many people.
She says it aligns with climate change discussions and less food waste can reduce methane emissions in landfills.
She says 8 percent of emissions is from food waste in landfills.
She says the message in the video and other social media posts resonated with many in the focus group, generating a positive reaction.
Peck says public trust levels remain high when the information is presented by a rancher or farmer.
She admits it can be an ”uphill battle” getting the cattle producers side of the story to consumers because there are many preconceived notions.
The various public information campaigns are funded with producer checkoff dollars.
(with files from cjww)