Chef’s Table By Michael Formichella
Chef Michael Formichella is president and co-owner of Chella Foods.

Biomass use, production, feed efficiencies, and greenhouse gas emissions from global livestock systems

(The views and opinions expressed in this blog are strictly those of the author.)

I was reading several reports from The National Academy of Science the other day. One abstract discussed a high-resolution dataset of biomass use, production, feed efficiencies, and greenhouse gas emissions by global livestock. The information would allow for a benchmark within the global-change research community, enhancing our understanding of the sustainability of livestock systems and their role in food security, livelihoods and environmental sustainability.

Data was collected from 28 regions, eight livestock production systems, four animal species (cattle, small ruminants, pigs, and poultry), and three livestock products (milk, meat, and eggs). The dataset has over 50 new global maps containing high-resolution information for understanding the multiple roles (biophysical, economic, social) that livestock can play in different parts of the world. The dataset highlights: (i) feed efficiency as a key driver of productivity, resource use, and greenhouse gas emission intensities, with vast differences between production systems and animal products; (ii) the importance of grasslands as a global resource, supplying almost 50 percent of biomass for animals while continuing to be at the epicenter of land conversion processes; and (iii) the importance of mixed crop–livestock systems, producing the greater part of animal production (over 60 percent)  critical information for developing targeted, sustainable solutions for the livestock sector and its widely ranging contribution to the global food system.

I was amazed at the plethora of research being done out there on all of these topics. I remember being at a conference and meeting a professor at UC Davis studying bovine gas emissions. (Hi, Dr. Frank.) I urge you to check out these reports. It’s a little heady reading, but consider some of these topics as a backdrop for the close of another year. 

Being a glass-is-half-full kind of person, I believe we have infinite possibilities ahead of us. My wish for the New Year is that as we move forward embracing the many challenges ahead. May our choices reflect our best efforts and thoughts for all.

A great quote from Alan Kay: "The best way to predict the future is to invent it. Bottom-line folks, your life is not decided by fate; you must create the future you want by taking the right actions now." 

Author unknown: "If you really want to do something you’ll find a way…if you don’t you’ll find an excuse." 

Be an informed participant, whatever path you walk. Wishing you all the best that life has to offer. Cheers…Live Well Happy New Year!

Excerpts taken from: 2013 The National Academy of Science


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