Latest from Food Politics: Annals of greenwashing: the Beef Checkoff

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by Marion Nestle

May 24 2023

Annals of greenwashing: the Beef Checkoff

I could hardly believe this ad in the New York Times last Friday.


Cattle as a promoter of biodiversity?

My usual question: Who paid for this?

The only clue was the little checkmark and in tiny letters Funded by beef farmers and ranchers.

I did the thing with the QR code and went straight to, the website of the Cattlemens Beef Board and the National Cattlemens Beef Association, organizations paid for by per-animal levies imposed by USDA-sponsored checkoff programs.

The beef checkoff

acts as a catalyst for change and is designed to stimulate beef sales and consumption through a combination of initiatives including consumer advertising, research, public relations and new-product development.

The ad says:

Almost a third of U.S. land is too rocky or dry to be used for growing food crops. But cattle can graze on and regenerate that land, naturally protecting open space and conserving precious habitats and ecosystems.

Yes, they can, but participants in the Beef checkoff generally raise cattle in CAFOs (factory feedlots), the antithesis of grazing on and regenerating land.The beef industry is under siege these days from people who care about health and the environment.Instead of doing all it can to promote regenerative grazing, it uses public relations to deflect attention from how it really raises cattle.Butterflies? Not a chance.The post Annals of greenwashing: the Beef Checkoff appeared first on Food Politics by Marion Nestle.