The 21st Show

ENCORE: ‘Soil Carbon Cowboys’ Documentary; Seafood From The Midwest; Forgotten Desserts


Soil Carbon Cowboys

Cattle are a big source of greenhouse gas emissions. But if you graze them differently, it’s possible that all these cows could actually help the environment. Plus, when you think about Midwest food, there’s cheese, corn, soy... but what about shrimp? Scientists and farmers have been exploring raising saltwater fish in states like Illinois. And, recipes can be a way to remember our family, our friends and even our roots. We talk to food writer Niki Davis about sweets that may not be trendy, but taste like classics.

We all have heard about how much cattle is a source of greenhouse gas emissions. Maybe you’ve stopped eating beef, or at least cut back, because of its environmental impact. Because that’s affected the bottom line of companies like McDonald’s, they’re investing in new research to find out better ways of raising cattle.

A short film called "Soil Carbon Cowboys" explores these topics. It features a few cattle farmers across the U.S. and Canada who have changed the way their cattle graze.

It was shown at McDonald’s headquarters in November right here in Illinois. It showcases some of the initial findings of millions of dollars of research McDonald’s has put into it and looks at how changing the way cattle graze could not just cut carbon emissions but reduce the use of pesticides.

A team of 16 scientists and farmers from more than half a dozen universities, including the University of Illinois, are working on understanding how changing the way cattle graze can create healthier beef. We had a chance to speak with two of the men involved in this $4.7 million research project.

Peter Byck is the filmmaker for Soil Carbon Cowboys. He also teaches journalism at Arizona State University. 

Jonathan Lundgren also joined us. He's from the Ecdysis Foundation. 


If you went out to dinner this weekend, maybe you scanned the menu to see where some of the items were from... oysters from Maine, Salmon from Washington... But did any of you see shrimp from Indiana? Well it is possible to get Midwest seafood. 

Scientists and farmers are exploring ways to raise saltwater fish like shrimp in landlocked states like ours, and it may not only be more sustainable, it could mean big dollars.

RDM Shrimp has been raising Pacific white shrimp many miles from the ocean, in Fowler in Northwest Indiana. One of its owners, Karlanea Brown joined us on the line.Also with us from Indiana’s Perdue University we had the school’s Aquaculture Research Manager Bob Rode. We spoke with them last summer. 


There’s always a new food trend, right? And with the way everyone blogs, Instagrams or posts to Pinterest, it’s easy sometimes to forget the classics.

Those classic recipes can be a way to remember our family, our friends and even our roots. That’s what Niki Davis is a believer in this philosophy. She writes 'The Taste' column for The Southern newspaper and has has her own website called Rooted in Food. Niki also teaches Hospitality and Tourism Administration at Southern Illinois University, and she joined us from Carbondale to share some Illinois classics.

Story source: