Everyday Environmentalists

For Colorado’s ranching families, the land is not just where they raise cattle; it's also where they raise their families. They have a personal stake in the quality of their environment - so they are always looking for new ways to improve the air, water and land on and near their property. 

In fact, today’s cattlemen are significantly more environmentally sustainable than they were 30 years ago. A study by Washington State University in 2007 found that today’s farmers and ranchers raise 13% more beef from 30% fewer cattle. When compared with beef production in 1977, each pound of beef produced today:

Produces 16% less carbon emissions
Takes 33% less land
Requires 12% less water

Coloradoans rely on farming and ranching families to manage and maintain almost half of the 63 million acres in Colorado. A healthy aspect of sustainable beef production involves grazing cattle on U.S. rangelands, about 85 percent of which are unsuitable for crops. Raising cattle on this land contributes to the ecosystems by converting forages humans cannot eat into a nutrient-rich food humans can eat -- beef.


The Colorado cattle industry has a Code of Ethics that is followed. It recognizes that productive range resources are vital to the well-being of individual ranchers, local, state, and national economies; and society as a whole.  It also affirms that through adaptive management practices, commitment, and a continual quest for knowledge; the proper stewardship of the nation’s resources will help sustain healthy communities and a healthy environment.

Statement of Belief

  • Productive range resources are essential for the sustainability of the individual rancher, local, state, and national economies; and our society.  A healthy rangeland provides for a healthy watershed and a renewable source of feed for domestic animals and wildlife.  Ranching sustains open spaces and aesthetic features which comprise Colorado’s magnificent scenery and contributes to the state’s myriad of recreational opportunities.


  • Rangelands are diverse and complex.  Responsible resource stewards: Recognize and monitor the environment for its varying and distinct properties.
  • Recognize and appreciate the interdependence of ecosystems.
  • Natural Resources Reflect Management Practices.  Responsible resource stewards: Recognize that successful management is an ongoing, long-term process; and commit to stewardship, economic success and business continuity.
  • Strive to develop a management framework which involves family, employees, agency personnel, and business associates so that the entire team is committed to common goals.
  • Monitor and document for effective practices.
  • Never knowingly cause or permit abuses that result in permanent damage on public or private land.
  • Take constructive steps to work with individuals if and when abuses occur.
  • Manage for the whole resource, including climate, soil, topography, plant and animal communities.
  • Realize that rangelands alive and ever-changing and management must adapt to varying conditions.

The Knowledge Base of the Industry Must be Better Utilized and Enhanced.  Responsible resource stewards:

  • Develop ways to communicate and share their vast practical experience and that of other resource stewards.
  • Become involved in industry associations that provide an effective way to educate and support individuals.
  • Solicit input from a variety of sources on a regular basis as a means to improve the art and science of resource management.
  • Help develop public and private research projects to enhance the current body of knowledge.
  • Recognize that individual improvement is the basis for any change.
  • Communicate with diverse interests to resolve resource management issues that may arise from time to time.