Episode 68: Nicolette Hahn Niman

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Description: Mike DiLandro hosts today’s episode and talks to Nicolette Hahn Niman, the brilliant author behind Defending Beef. Nicolette works on a cattle ranch in Northern California, has two young sons, and has gained national notoriety for writing and speaking about sustainable farming. Besides running a cattle ranch, Nicolette has had a long career as an environmental lawyer in the field of pollution related to the poultry and livestock industry. On today’s show, she helps cut through the misinformation about livestock sustainability and offers solutions to the environmental impacts we face in creating a healthier, more sustainable, and environmentally conscious system for meat production.

Show Notes:

Why is the perception that cattle harm the environment misinformed? [04:47]
Is there a problem with overgrazing? Or are grazing cattle essential to our natural ecosystem? [07:24]
How most of the thoughts about food production from the 1960s and 70s have been proven untrue. [15:20]
Cattle and water consumption, a UC Davis study on beef production, and the environmental impact comparison between raising beef versus other staples. [19:36]
How grass-fed cattle saves water compared to CAFO cattle. [22:11]
How grass-fed cattle improves water quality. [00:25:43]
Does the methane from cattle contribute to global warming? If so, by how much? [28:36]
What can be done about the environmental impact of animal digestive tract emissions? [33:02]
How does a properly pastured animal heal the environment? [36:24]
Is it possible that the United States can lose its topsoil through erosion and mishandling? [42:12]
How diversified farming returns nutrients to the soil through recycled manure. [46:47]
How is grass-fed cattle better for your health? [49:27]
Saturated fat and cholesterol from beef: good or bad? [53:53]
How the increase in vegetable oil use, and decrease in animal fat use, has correlated with increased rates of chronic illness. [1:02:31]
What are the best choices for beef, eggs, or dairy? [1:03:27]

Selected Links from the Episode:
BN Ranch
The Carnivore’s Dilemma
Defending Beef
Dirt: The Eroding of Civilization
Grazing 101
Chris Kresser
Nicolette’s Website
Michael Pollan
Joel Salatin
Allan Savory

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