The environmental and economic impact of removing growth-enhancing technologies from U.S. beef production

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2012-10-01
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Capper, Judith
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Hayes, Dermot
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Economics

The Department of Economic Science was founded in 1898 to teach economic theory as a truth of industrial life, and was very much concerned with applying economics to business and industry, particularly agriculture. Between 1910 and 1967 it showed the growing influence of other social studies, such as sociology, history, and political science. Today it encompasses the majors of Agricultural Business (preparing for agricultural finance and management), Business Economics, and Economics (for advanced studies in business or economics or for careers in financing, management, insurance, etc).

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The Department of Economic Science was founded in 1898 under the Division of Industrial Science (later College of Liberal Arts and Sciences); it became co-directed by the Division of Agriculture in 1919. In 1910 it became the Department of Economics and Political Science. In 1913 it became the Department of Applied Economics and Social Science; in 1924 it became the Department of Economics, History, and Sociology; in 1931 it became the Department of Economics and Sociology. In 1967 it became the Department of Economics, and in 2007 it became co-directed by the Colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Business.

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1898–present

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  • Department of Economic Science (1898–1910)
  • Department of Economics and Political Science (1910-1913)
  • Department of Applied Economics and Social Science (1913–1924)
  • Department of Economics, History and Sociology (1924–1931)
  • Department of Economics and Sociology (1931–1967)

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The objective of this study was to quantify the environmental and economic impact of withdrawing growth-enhancing technologies (GET) from the U.S. beef production system. A deterministic model based on the metabolism and nutrient requirements of the beef population was used to quantify resource inputs and waste outputs per 454 × 106 kg of beef. Two production systems were compared: one using GET (steroid implants, in-feed ionophores, in-feed hormones, and beta-adrenergic agonists) where approved by FDA at current adoption rates and the other without GET use. Both systems were modeled using characteristic management practices, population dynamics, and production data from U.S. beef systems. The economic impact and global trade and carbon implications of GET withdrawal were calculated based on feed savings. Withdrawing GET from U.S. beef production reduced productivity (growth rate and slaughter weight) and increased the population size required to produce 454 × 106 kg beef by 385 × 103 animals. Feedstuff and land use were increased by 2,830 × 103 t and 265 × 103 ha, respectively, by GET withdrawal, with 20,139 × 106 more liters of water being required to maintain beef production. Manure output increased by 1,799 × 103 t as a result of GET withdrawal, with an increase in carbon emissions of 714,515 t/454 × 106 kg beef. The projected increased costs of U.S. beef produced without GET resulted in the effective implementation of an 8.2% tax on beef production, leading to reduced global trade and competitiveness. To compensate for the increase in U.S. beef prices and maintain beef supply, it would be necessary to increase beef production in other global regions, with a projected increase in carbon emissions from deforestation, particularly in Brazil. Withdrawing GET from U.S. beef production would reduce both the economic and environmental sustainability of the industry.

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This article is from Journal of Animal Science 90, no. 10 (October 2012): 3527–3537, doi:10.2527/jas.2011-4870.

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Sun Jan 01 00:00:00 UTC 2012
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