Beef producers must share their environmental stories

My family has been farming and ranching outside of Corinne, Utah since 1900—that’s 123 years, when you do the math. Today, JY Ferry & Son, Inc. is a farming, feeding, ranching, and wetlands and wildlife operation. My brother, Ben, my son, Joel, and I jointly manage our land resources with a cooperative and sustainable approach.

Holistic synergy is what we seek on a daily basis. We’ve always believed that the land itself is the greatest resource any farming or ranching operation has. And as a member of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board and co-chair of the Beef Checkoff’s Consumer Trust Committee, I know that consumers are very concerned with beef’s environmental impact. As a beef producer, I also know I must do my part to let those consumers know how much we care about our land, our animals and our environmental responsibility.

From there, we try to stay ahead of issues that impact consumer perceptions through a two-pronged effort of education and outreach. Our ultimate goal is to connect and engage with people before false or misguided information about beef production practices spreads. Then, we can share what the facts that our research has uncovered. Here are just a few examples of what we’ve been doing to educate and inform others about beef production:

Developing educational units for middle and high schools: By connecting with young minds, the checkoff can educate tomorrow’s beef consumers today. Educational units focus specifically on greenhouses gasses and cattle, as well as general beef production and genetics.

Hosting on the farm STEM events: The Beef Checkoff funds annual educator immersion events designed to bring inner city teachers to real, working farms to learn about beef production. In 2022, the educators who participated in the tour shared their experiences with more than 70,000 urban students.

Taking part in New York City Climate Week: Beef was front and center in September 2022 during Climate Week, the largest global climate event. Checkoff-funded Beef. It’s What’s For Dinner. hosted a webinar on beef being an ultimate climate-smart food and shared the truth behind emissions.

Collaborating with the Beef Expert Network: The 22 influencers who make up the checkoff’s Beef Expert Network are all passionate about sharing beef’s story and connecting with their audiences to address misinformation surrounding beef.

Sharing information via digital campaigns: Checkoff-funded digital campaigns on Connect TV, YouTube, websites and social platforms encourage consumers to “rethink the ranch.” Real beef producers share their beef stories and how they care for their cattle and land.

Most cattle operations are far removed from the mainstreams of today’s society. We producers are most comfortable on our ranches and farms doing what we do best, supporting our livelihoods and our families as we feed the world. But as full-time environmentalists, we must speak up when it comes to topics like beef’s impact on land water and air. Unless we share our own true stories, others will control the narrative. First and foremost, we must take extreme care of our land and our cattle. Then, it’s our responsibility to tell others about our efforts. Learn more about facts about beef and the environment at

John Ferry of Corinne, Utah, is co-chair of the Cattlemen’s Beef Board Consumer Trust Committee.