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Virginia beef producers discuss impact of U.N.'s call for reduced meat consumption

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BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — The United Nations is expected to call on Americans to drastically reduce their meat-eating habits. It says the overall goal is to reduce climate impacts caused by emissions from meat and dairy companies.

Johnny and Melody Divers produce grass-fed beef products from their farm, Chapel Creek, in Bedford County, and say it may not be as simple as just reducing meat intake– and it could hurt the farmers.

“But going after a meat market isn’t going to just affect a cattle producer, it’ll be a big ripple effect, it’s not just going to affect cattle farmers it’s going to affect farmers across the nation,” said Divers.

However, they are confident this proposal won’t have a drastic impact on their local business.

“At this point, I think people have decided already, what their diet journey looks like,” said Melody.

Johnny adds that if there is a slowdown in the beef industry it could also negatively impact business in other sectors like equipment and seed distribution.

Environmentalists say that food system emissions comprise about 1/3 of greenhouse gas emissions and about 40% of methane emissions.

Laura Henry-Stone is an associate professor of environmental studies and sustainability at the University of Lynchburg, she says these greenhouse gases are contributing to environmental concerns.

“That methane is one of the most significant contributions to greenhouse gas emissions that are causing anthropogenic climate change,” said Henry-Stone.

She says although tackling climate change is going to take a lot more than just changing people’s diets, it can make a difference.

“Eating less red meat can have a pretty significant contribution on greenhouse gas emissions,” said Henry-Stone.

Henry-Stone adds that transportation in the food and agricultural sector can also have a serious effect on greenhouse gas emissions. She says while individuals can do their part to reduce their carbon footprint, she believes there will need to be systemic changes in order to see a significant impact.

However, federal data shows that only 1.4% of global emissions come from the American agriculture sector. The American Farm Bureau Federation also says emissions have declined in pork and beef production.



BEDFORD COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — The United Nations is expected to call on Americans to drastically reduce their meat-eating habits. It says the overall goal is to reduce climate impacts caused by emissions from meat and dairy companies.

Johnny and Melody Divers produce grass-fed beef products from their farm, Chapel Creek, in Bedford County, and say it may not be as simple as just reducing meat intake– and it could hurt the farmers.

“But going after a meat market isn’t going to just affect a cattle producer, it’ll be a big ripple effect, it’s not just going to affect cattle farmers it’s going to affect farmers across the nation,” said Divers.

However, they are confident this proposal won’t have a drastic impact on their local business.

“At this point, I think people have decided already, what their diet journey looks like,” said Melody.

Johnny adds that if there is a slowdown in the beef industry it could also negatively impact business in other sectors like equipment and seed distribution.

Environmentalists say that food system emissions comprise about 1/3 of greenhouse gas emissions and about 40% of methane emissions.

Laura Henry-Stone is an associate professor of environmental studies and sustainability at the University of Lynchburg, she says these greenhouse gases are contributing to environmental concerns.

“That methane is one of the most significant contributions to greenhouse gas emissions that are causing anthropogenic climate change,” said Henry-Stone.

She says although tackling climate change is going to take a lot more than just changing people’s diets, it can make a difference.

“Eating less red meat can have a pretty significant contribution on greenhouse gas emissions,” said Henry-Stone.

Henry-Stone adds that transportation in the food and agricultural sector can also have a serious effect on greenhouse gas emissions. She says while individuals can do their part to reduce their carbon footprint, she believes there will need to be systemic changes in order to see a significant impact.

However, federal data shows that only 1.4% of global emissions come from the American agriculture sector. The American Farm Bureau Federation also says emissions have declined in pork and beef production.

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