In its popular television series I Am Angus, this month the American Angus Association explores many of the challenges facing the cattle industry - everything from global climate change to animal welfare - and provides fresh perspectives on the positive contributions ranchers make to improve the environment and feed a growing world population.
The episode, which airs Thursday at 10 p.m. EST (9 p.m., CST) on RFD-TV, is titled "They Speak for Us." The program goes beyond the fence lines to tell the stories of scientists, agriculture advocates and others whose stories and perspectives are not often told in the mainstream media.
"Our normal focus is to tell the stories of people who raise beef," says Eric Grant, Association director of public relations. "But we're taking a different tack this time. In this episode, we're telling the stories of people who defend beef and the people who raise it."
I Am Angus focuses on the heart of the cattle business - its people, their heritage and why they've chosen to be involved in agriculture. The documentary series explores each sector of the industry, Angus heritage and how animal agriculture meets the challenge of feeding a growing population.
Featured in the Feb. 16 episode are:
- Dr. Frank Mitloehner, an air quality researcher from the University of California-Davis who challenged findings in the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization's 2006 report "Livestock's Long Shadow." The report claims livestock production is the leading cause of global greenhouse gas emissions; Mitloehner's research proved the U.N. was wrong.
- Dan Dagget, an environmentalist and author, who has spent the last four decades defending ranching and grazing's role in protecting, enhancing and restoring natural ecosystems.
- C.J. Hadley, author, photographer and publisher of Range magazine, who warns of the loss of ranching and other food producers— and the dire consequences that holds for humanity.
- Christian Hagen, a wildlife biologist with the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, who discusses the importance of ranching and grazing in efforts to protect wildlife species like sage grouse and other birds.
- Dr. Bernie Rollin, an animal ethicist from Colorado State University, who discusses the "ancient contract," the symbiotic relationship between people and livestock, and the deep-rooted obligation ranchers have to care for their cattle.
- Alan and Phillip Bridges, Bridges Angus Farm, Lexington, Ga., discuss their use of the Igenity Profile for Angus - and how the advanced DNA technology has helped them more rapidly improve their breeding program, and at the same time, reduce risk in genetic decisions.
- Mort Kent, protein specialist for US Foods, who discusses his company's decision to become a Certified Angus Beef (CAB) licensee - and how that decision resulted in nearly a threefold increase in beef sales in just one year.
- Dr. Temple Grandin, professor, author and consultant, talks about how she overcame autism to become the world's leading animal behaviorist. Her influence on animal handling is virtually in every packing plant, feedyard and ranch across the country.
- Dr. Jude Capper, Washington State University professor of dairy sciences, whose research shows how corn-fed beef production is significantly more efficient than three decades ago — and how it continues to reduce its carbon footprint as it embraces additional efficiencies.
I Am Angusis sponsored by the Igenity Profile for Angus. The program airs on RFD-TV, which is distributed by more than 625 cable operators. The network can be found on DirecTV channel 345 and Dish Network channel 231. Check local listings for more information.
To watch segments from past episodes, visit www.angus.org.