This week on The Farm Report, host Erin Fairbanks welcomes Nicolette Hahn Niman, author of “Defending Beef: The Case for Sustainable Meat Production” to the show. Kicking off the show talking about Nicolette’s background and how she became involved with ranching cattle, she elaborates exactly why beef is in need of defending. Nicolette’s take is that for decades it has been nearly universal dogma among environmentalists and health advocates that cattle and beef are public enemy number one. She asks if the matter really so clear cut? In “Defending Beef,” Nicolette argues that cattle are not inherently bad for either the Earth or our own nutritional health. In fact, she discusses with Erin that properly managed livestock play an essential role in maintaining grassland ecosystems by functioning as surrogates for herds of wild ruminants that once covered the globe. Grass-fed, small-scale farms can and should become the basis for American food production, replacing the factory farms that harm animals and the environment. While no single book can definitively answer the thorny question of how to feed the Earth’s growing population, Nicolette explains that, whatever the world’s future food system looks like, cattle and beef can and must be part of the solution. Tune in for an interesting discussion! This program was brought to you by Whole Foods Market.

“There are many wonderful water intensive foods but that suggestion you hear over and over again that beef is some water guzzler and some outlier, that’s just not true.” [20:00]

“I think the reason why beef has been the favorite target of sensational journalism because it was the most consumed meat in the United States and considered the most desirable.” [23:00]

Nicolette Hahn Niman on The Farm Report