News

Press release: Cattle grazing a necessary part of ecosystem, says keynoter for Northern Plains Annual Meeting

Northern Plains Resource Council Annual Meeting
Nov. 18-19
1 – 8 p.m. (Nov. 18) 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. (Nov. 19)
Northern Hotel
19 N. Broadway, Billings

Despite popular myths, grazing cattle is a necessary part of maintaining the ecosystem, according to Nicolette Hahn Niman, the keynote speaker for the Northern Plains Resource Council’s 45th Annual Meeting Nov. 18-19 in downtown Billings.

Nicolette Hahn Niman at Niman Ranch in Bolinas, California. (photo © Mitch Tobias (415) 647-0242 www.mitchtobias.com

Nicolette Hahn Niman at Niman Ranch in Bolinas, California. (photo © Mitch Tobias (415) 647-0242
www.mitchtobias.com

“Overall, we must maintain grazing as a necessary force for positive environmental impacts,” said Hahn Niman. “If you raise cattle, and other grazing animals, well, they’re actually a necessary part of our ecosystem.”

Hahn Niman will discuss popular myths and critiques about grazing animals on the land and in our food system and “refute those popular claims with evidence and research to give a closer approximation to the truth” about the potential up sides and down sides to grazing.

The public is invited to hear Hahn Niman at 10:15 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 18, at the Northern Hotel and attend any of the several panels and speakers.

The public also is invited to join area labor leaders and Northern Plains members at an 8 a.m. rally at the Yellowstone County Courthouse against the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, which is expected to come before Congress soon for an up-or-down vote. Northern Plains and labor believe the secretly negotiated trade deal, like NAFTA (the North American Free Trade Agreement) before it, threatens American jobs and agriculture.

Tickets for one or all of the sessions are available online at https://www.northernplains.org/2016-annual-meeting or by calling 406-248-1154. Cost of the two-day conference is $90 before Nov. 11 and $105 after. Individual sessions range from $15 to $20. Sessions will cover a wide range of issues, meals will feature local foods, and there will be entertainment and a silent auction.

Besides the keynote speech, sessions include:

  • Coal in a Post-Bankruptcy World: What Now?
  • Opportunities to Build Homegrown Prosperity in Montana
  • Oil by Rail Safety: Strategies and Solutions
  • PACE (Property-Assessed Clean Energy): Unlocking Accessible Financing for Energy Efficiency and Clean Energy

Yellowstone Valley Citizens Council – Northern Plains’ affiliate in the Billings area – will host its annual Cowboy Supper, featuring local foods, at 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 18, at First Congregational Church, 310 N. 27th Street. Cost is $10 before Nov. 11 and $15 after. It is included as part of the full meeting registration.

Hahn Niman is the author of:

  • Defending Beef: The Case for Sustainable Meat Production (2014) and
  • Righteous Porkchop: Finding a Life and Good Food Beyond Factory Farms (2009).

Her essays and guest editorials have appeared in the The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and Los Angeles Times, and she has also written for The Atlantic, The San Francisco Chronicle, andother publications.

Hahn Niman has a unique background, having worked as an environmental lawyer and helping her husband build a successful business around sustainably produced beef.

In a review of Defending Beef, the Los Angeles Times said, “she’s saying here that nearly everything we accept as gospel about the negative environmental effects of cattle ranching, and the ill health effects of eating red meat, is wrong… And further, that cattle are necessary to the restoration and future health of this planet and its people.”

Northern Plains is a Billings-based conservation and family agriculture group that works to protect Montana’s water quality, family farms and ranches, and our unique quality of life.