116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Fire up the grill, the meat war is on.
Gov. Kim Reynolds has declared April as Meat on the Table month to promote the Iowa meat producers' meats 'packed with wholesome and nutritious protein (that) play a critical role in combating hunger and fighting food insecurity throughout Iowa, America and around the globe.'
Reynolds' proclamation, signed Friday, comes in response to a MeatOut proclamation by Democratic Colorado Gov. Jason Polis. The proclamation produced a beefy debate, with 26 Colorado counties proclaiming Meat Day to show their support for meat producers.
'Iowa feeds the world with high-quality products,' Reynolds said in her proclamation. Pork, beef, lamb, poultry and fish production generated almost $29 billion in crop and livestock sales, making Iowa the second-leading agricultural state in the nation, she stated.
Across the Missouri River, Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts, also a Republican, declared Beef Month to highlight the cattle industry there.
Started in 1985 by the Farm Animal Rights Movement, the MeatOut proclamations have been issued by state and national authorities around the world.
The nonprofit group started MeatOut Day — generally on March 20 — to encourage people to explore the benefits on a 'wholesome plant-based diet.' It cited lower risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, various cancers and diabetes as benefits of a meatless diet.
Meat production, according to some environmentalists, increases the carbon footprint of food production and diminishes forests, grasslands and wildlife habitat.
The anti-meat movement recently received a boost from Bill Gates' comments about producing synthetic meat as an alternative to livestock production.
Meat producers are under constant scrutiny from 'ill-informed politicians and social media influencers,' Reynolds said in her proclamation. They mislead consumers and disregard sound research supporting the quality and safety of animal agricultural production, she said.
More than ever, the governor said, 'it is imperative that agricultural leaders unite and stand up for our industry, the products and the people' who produce and process meat that feeds an ever-growing world population.
Meat plays a large role in Iowa agricultural and the state's economy.
According to a 2019 Agricultural Economic Contribution Study, Iowa farms helped raise approximately 4 million cattle and calves, almost 1 million beef cows, 224,00 dairy cows and 23 million hogs and pigs.
That production, in turn, helped support Iowa crop farms, which made Iowa the nation's top producer of corn and the No. 2 producer of soybeans behind Illinois. Iowa farmers produced 2.6 billion bushels of corn and nearly 554 million bushels of soybeans.
Based on the USDA's 2017 Census of Agriculture, 30 percent of Iowans are employed by ag and ag-related industries, contributing to $40 billion in value-added agriculture, $22 billion in wages and $121 billion in total agricultural sales.
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