I’m Susan Allen this is Open Range. The average American consumes 222 pounds of meat per year. Lets face it we can fantasize all day long about the bucolic benefits of grass fed beef but reality is we don’t have enough land to produce the meat it would take to feed our nation. Sorry PETA people, feed lots are a necessity, and my recent tour of one of the largest in the state of Washington showed me that they can also be sustainable. I’ll tell you how after the break. In this country we like our beef, always have! Because we prefer it marbled cattle need to be finished, fed a diet of corn or grains to produce an affordable healthy protein for US consumers. No I'm not talking elite “locovores” special ordering grass filet mignon, they’re your neighbors, the young mom with toddlers in tow you smiled at in the supermarket or your high school football team. Americans spend only 9.6 percent of our disposable income on food. The lowest in the world. In part because of the nearly 200 feed lots strategically scattered across our nation. The one I toured housed around thirty- three thousand cows, thats a lot of cattle yet there was no strong stench and few flies thanks to new green techniques. The manure is used as organic fertilizer on nearby irrigated onion, corn and potato fields saving farmers the expense and environmental effects of trucking in chemical fertilizer. Cattle were fed an alfalfa /straw mix, corn, plus a grain by- product from a nearby alcohol distillers that created the pleasant aroma of a boutique brewery and would have been have become disposable waste if not for the feed lot. I was pleasantly surprised by the full circle of recycling I witnessed, even regarding Columbia River irrigation ... yet another example of how the NW is an innovative leader of agriculture sustainability techniques .