What's in the news right now about the environmentally sound, socially responsible and economically viable beef value chain.


Dear GRSB Member, 

From Ruaraidh Petre
Executive Director Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef

As we gear up for our Executive Board meeting in Denver on 4th October, GRSB is also preparing for the second Global Conference on Sustainable Beef. GCSB II is to be held in São Paul Brazil, and is being co-hosted by GRSB and our colleagues in GTPS (the Brazilian Sustainable Livestock Roundtable). It promises to be as interesting and as valuable as the first global conference was, with a range of presentations, discussion groups and of course visits to beef enterprises and related institutions in Brazil. Save the date for this milestone event in 2014.

In the meantime you will have received the draft principles and criteria document from GRSB. Please take some time to get feedback from within your organisation. Please don't distribute it more widely at this stage, as that is the next phase of our consultation.

Thank you for your feedback!

Roundtable Updates

Welcome to new GRSB Members:

Civil Society Constituency
American Grassfed Association, Colorado, USA
Conservación & Desarrollo, Quito, Ecuador
Fitzroy Basin Association - FBA

Producers and Producer Association Constituency
Lazy V Ranch, Sue Sheridan Jarrett
98 Ranch, Ross Macdonald, Saskatchewan, Canada
Dr. Sandra Jephcott, Queensland, Australia
Willow Creek Ranch, Jack Hanson, California, USA

Commerce & Processing Constituency
OSI Group, LLC,  Americas, Europe, Asia / Pacific / India – OSI Group
SAI Platform - Beef Working Group, Belgium - SAI Platform
Retail Constituency
Woolworths, Australia – Woolworths

Observing Members
AB Connect & AB Sustain, Great Britain – Simon Heath (Observing Organization)


Registration Still Open for All GRSB Members to Attend Executive Board Meeting in Denver
dateline: 9/24/13 source: GRSB Executive Board

The semi-annual GRSB Executive Board Meeting is scheduled to be held from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. on Friday, October 4th in Denver, Colorado, USA. In addition, there will be an optional tour of cattle production and harvesting facilities in Northern Colorado on October 5th from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
All GRSB members are encouraged to attend and openly participate including other people from within your GRSB member organization you wish to invite; however, please understand that although GRSB strives for consensus, in the event a vote is necessary only the elected Executive Board members will be asked to take part in a ballot in adherence to the GRSB statutes and by-laws.

The meeting will be held at the Embassy Suites Denver - International Airport 7001 Yampa Street, Denver, Colorado, 80249, USA

Meeting Registration link

Momentum Grows for Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef
dateline: 9/11/13, BeefCentral.com

Momentum continues to grow within the ambitious Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef group, last profiled by Beef Central during the Beef 2012 event in Rockhampton in May last year. GRSB was established last year as an international multi-stakeholder initiative to advance continuous improvement in sustainability of the global beef value chain. The organisation brings together a diverse range of large, influential organisations, companies and other stakeholders sharing a common connection with the beef industry to “advance continuous improvement in sustainability of the global beef value chain through sharing their knowledge of leadership, science and through multi-stakeholder engagement and collaboration."

In Brisbane yesterday (Sept 10th) in an observer capacity for the Five Nations Beef Alliance conference was GRSB president Cameron Bruett, chief sustainability officer and head of corporate communications with JBS in the company’s US operations. Improving sustainability in beef production meant not only reducing costs and maximising productivity, but also focusing on environmental impacts, animal welfare and other societal concerns, he said.

“Consumers have increasing concerns about the environment, food quality and value. Therefore, the GRSB embraces sustainable practices in key areas like the industry’s environmental footprint (covering biodiversity, GHGs, energy, air, water and soil), worker care, animal welfare and food safety.” “These issues are not only ethically appropriate, they benefit the businesses and communities that make up the global beef industry,” Mr. Bruett said He said membership of the Global Roundtable had expanded significantly over the past 12 months, with strong recent uptake in Europe, joining existing and new members from South and North America, and Australia.


Operators Seek Sustainable Proteins with Future Supply in Mind.


dateline: September 2013 issue; source: qrsmagazine.com, by Barney Wolf

Sustainable practices are all the rage across the restaurant industry these days.

The expansive show floors at the National Restaurant Association’s annual trade show in May confirmed that the momentum behind these initiatives isn’t waning. From tableware and takeout containers to faucets, lighting, and cleaning products, green was the word. That also extends to the proteins most quick-service and fast-casual restaurants use as their menuboard centerpieces.

The concept of creating and maintaining a sustainable food supply has been embraced in varying degrees by a growing number of restaurant operations, ranging from Atlanta’s two-unit Yeah! Burger to giant, worldwide chains like McDonald’s.

“Sustainability is everything to us,” says Erik Maier, chief executive and founder of Yeah! Burger. “I started the company because I wanted there to be more sustainable options for people. Our message has resonated.”

Defining sustainability can be challenging. Most believe it refers to the practices that meet resource needs without harming the ability to meet future demands. But determining how to accomplish that requires more study.

Take the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB), consisting of major agricultural, environmental, and restaurant experts, as well as other stakeholders. It was formed a few years ago to foster a sustained beef supply as the world’s population continues to grow.

One of the organization’s goals this year is to define the term sustainability.

“That’s a big question,” says Ruaraidh Petre, the Netherlands-based executive director of the GRSB. “We don’t claim to have all the answers. Anyone you ask about sustainability in the beef industry will have a different opinion.”

There are many pillars that contribute to sustainability, including people, communities, animal welfare, social welfare, the environment, innovation, and food safety and supply. The GRSB won’t take a position on some issues, like grass versus grain cattle feed, because both are represented in the organization. “There is room for improvement in every system,” Petre says.

One Roundtable member, McDonald’s, is “an enthusiastic supporter of the GRSB and their multi-stakeholder, science-based, holistic approach,” says Bob Langert, the company’s vice president of corporate sustainability, in a statement.

McDonald’s has in recent years pushed its beef providers toward more sustainable actions, both in animal welfare and environmental management practices.

Member News
Cargill Names New CEO
dateline: 9/11/13 source: Cargill News Release

Cargill Board of Directors elects David MacLennan next chief executive officer effective Dec. 1; Greg Page to serve as executive chairman. Emery Koenig elected vice chairman Cargill today announced that its board of directors has elected David W. MacLennan, currently Cargill’s president and chief operating officer, as the corporation’s next chief executive officer effective Dec. 1, 2013, succeeding Gregory R. Page, 62, who will serve as executive chairman.

MacLennan, 54, will retain the title of president and continue as a director of the company. The transition is the result of the company’s ongoing succession planning with the board.

“Over the past several years, I have had the opportunity to work closely with David, especially in his roles as chief financial officer and chief operating officer, and I have been impressed with his leadership, his vision, and the breadth and depth of his knowledge and experience. This is a dynamic and diverse global company. We are excited about the opportunities ahead and have the highest confidence in David to deliver on that promise,” said Page.

Global Poverty, Not Food Availability, Remains Greatest Barrier to Food Security
source: Cargill.com

Access to affordable food is improving as both world food production and incomes rise. Of a global population totaling approximately 7 billion, about one in seven people are undernourished for at least part of every year.

While the world’s farmers produce enough calories to feed everyone on earth, access to food is uneven. The principal cause is extreme poverty.

But there are reasons to be optimistic about global food security. Incomes are improving, even among the most impoverished. In addition, global food production is increasing thanks primarily to yield improvements and farmers’ response to increased demand.

GHG Protocol Awards the Gold Seal to the Marfrig Group for the Second  Straight Year
dateline: 9/6/13, source: Marfrig News Release

The Company reduced its greenhouse gas emissions per ton of product produced in 2012 by 9% from 2010, when measurement first began.

For the second consecutive year, the Marfrig Group was awarded the Gold Seal of the Brazil GHG Protocol Program for its Greenhouse Gas Emissions Report for 2012. The recognition is granted to companies that not only accounted all emissions in their inventories, but also submitted the inventory to independent audit.

Last year, the Marfrig Group emitted 1.18 million tons of CO2 under scopes 1 and 2 (emission sources under the company's control), which represented a reduction of 9% per ton of product produced and an absolute reduction of 12% from the 1.34 million tons recorded in 2010, which marked the first year of measurement. The reduction was achieved by improvements on various fronts, such as replacing boilers fired by fossil fuels for ones fueled by biomass.

In the News
The Australian
Livestock Processing Industry Animal Welfare Certification System
source: AMIC.org.au

Launched at the 2013 AMIC Conference, the ‘Australian Livestock Processing Industry Animal Welfare Certification System’ (AAWCS) is an independently audited certification program used by Australian livestock processors to demonstrate compliance with the processing industry’s best practice animal welfare standards.
The AAWCS enables livestock processors to demonstrate to their customers, and the general community, their superior commitment to best practice animal welfare.


Examining Canada’s
New Checkoff On Beef, Cattle Imports

dateline 9/5/13, source: BEEF Magazine, ByJoe Schuele

Canadian Agriculture Minister Gerry Ritz and Canada Beef, Inc. recently announced an amendment to Canada’s Beef Cattle Research, Market Development and Promotion Levies Order that will impose an import levy on beef, beef products and beef cattle entering Canada for the first time. The levy on imported cattle will be a 1 Canadian dollar (CAD)/head, which is the same amount Canadian cattle producers pay per transaction.






This issue:
·  To read the entire source article, please click on the link in the article headline
 ·  Roundtable Update
·  Member News
·  In The News

Livestock Exporters Conference
dateline: 9/10/13 source: Farm Weekly


Exporters, producers and supply chain participants will come together in October this year for the livestock export industry’s first ever national Conference to showcase the sector's commitment to innovation, change and animal welfare improvements.

LIVEXchange 2013, which will be held at Jupiter’s Casino in Townsville from Wednesday, October 30 to Friday, November 1, will feature topical speakers from Australia and the world. Australian Livestock Exporters’ Council (ALEC) chair, Peter Kane, said.

LIVEXchange 2013 would be the first time industry experts, from across the supply chain, will be bought together to address and challenge key issues confronting them.


Drought Impact Could Echo Through Beef Production Capacity for Years
dateline: 9/10/13, Beef Central, By Jon Condon

Early signals are emerging that the 2013 drought across large parts of Eastern Australia will have a profound impact on both national calf output and beef production capacity for at least the next three years.

This impact is likely to be seen in a number of forms, Beef Central’s investigations show; a big reduction in the number of mating-age females in the national herd, due to meatworks liquidation of breeding cows over the past eight months due to drought; an impact on calving rates which will be seen over the upcoming spring summer period which will be reflected in modest branding rates in some regions in 2014; potentially poor reconception rates among northern breeding herds due to drought stress and lack of body condition in females, which could echo into low branding rates across the region again in the following 2015 year.

Reduced cash flow and low prices will make it hard for many producers to re-build breeding capacity by investing in breeders on a rising market, when it does rain.


Australian Agricultural Company to Boost Beef Profits after $299m Capital Raising
dateline: 9/12/13, source: The Australian

Australia’s biggest landholder and beef producer, Australian Agricultural Company, has launched a $299 million capital raising to fund the completion of its Darwin abattoir and pay down debt. The company wants to move up the value chain.



Japan Boosts Beef Exports
dateline: 9/11/13, Iowa Farmer Today


Beef exports took another jump in July with the bulk of that coming from increased business with Japan. Ron Plain, Extension livestock marketing economist at the University of Missouri, says July beef exports to Japan were the highest they have been since October 2003. “During the first seven months of 2013, beef exports to Japan are up 51.6 percent compared to a year ago,” he says. Overall, the United States exported 11.5 percent of total beef production, which Plain says is the second highest percentage ever recorded. Plain says the Russian ban on meat containing ractopamine has virtually halted any exports there. He added beef exports to South Korea are also down 27 percent this year.

UK Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy Stresses Role of Human Uses

dateline: 9/13/13, source: Drover’s Cattle Network, by John Maday


A new report titled “UK Five Year Antimicrobial Resistance Strategy 2013 to 2018” sets out actions to address the key challenges to antimicrobial resistance (AMR). The report provides background on the issue and outlines a “One Health” approach encompassing people, animals, agriculture and the wider environment. The authors note, however, that human uses of antimicrobials appear to be the primary driver in the emergence of AMR.


Human E. coli O157:H7 Illnesses Reduced 50% to 85% with Cattle Vaccine
dateline 9/16/13, source: Food Poison Journal



The University of Glasgow reported today vaccinating cattle against the E. coli O157 bacterium could cut the number of human cases of the disease by 85%, according to scientists. The bacteria, which cause severe gastrointestinal illness and even death in humans, are spread by consuming contaminated food and water, or by contact with livestock faeces in the environment. Cattle are the main reservoir for the bacterium. The vaccines that are available for cattle are rarely used, but could be significant.


First PCAS-Certified Pasture Fed Beef Hits the Retail Shelves
dateline: 9/18/13, Beef Central, by Jon Condon

Saturday will mark the official start of retail sales for Australian grass fed beef produced under the industry’s new Pasture fed Cattle Assurance System. While large export processor Teys Brothers has been paying livestock premiums for PCAS-certified cattle since August, it is yet to receive numbers large enough to justify taking a product to market under the PCAS identity. Instead, the distinction of marketing the nation’s first PCAS beef will fall to a small producer-owned and managed boutique-scale beef supply chain being launched this weekend in southeast Queensland. An initiative of the Cattle Council of Australia, PCAS was launched in April as a voluntary certification system that will enable the grass fed beef production supply chain to provide ‘Certified Pasture fed’ cattle to the Australian and international marketplace.

Those wishing to do so can also add optional HGP-free and antibiotic-free modules. The certification program provides an industry-recognized standard that supports claims surrounding production methods and provides the assurance that discerning consumers are demanding. Underpinning the program are the PCAS Standards which govern the on-farm feed requirements and traceability of the cattle as well as pre-slaughter handling practices which influence eating quality.


OSI Releases First Sustainability Report

dateline: 9/17/13, source: Meatingplace.com, by Tom Johnston


OSI North America today released its first North America Sustainability Report for 2013/2014, available online at www.osigroup.com/sustainability.html.
The report highlights the company’s achievements and goals in the areas of social, environmental and economic (supply chain) responsibility.



Judge Refuses to
Block New Meat Labeling Rules

dateline: 9/18/13 source: Concord Monitor


A federal judge has refused to block new rules that require the meat industry to include specific information about the origin of their products on labels. Industry groups say they’ll continue fighting. The new rules took effect in May and require labels for steaks, ribs and other cuts of meat to include clear information about where the animals were born, raised and slaughtered.


Are We Increasing Resource
Use and Taking Beef from the Mouths of Hungry Children?

dateline: 8/26/13 source: bovidiva.com


Can we really afford to lose the sustainability advantages that productivity-enhancing tools provide?


Beta agonists have been a hotly debated topic in the media recently, after it was suggested that the use of Zilmax™ might be related to welfare issues in supplemented cattle (see note 1), and Tyson announced that they would not purchase cattle produced using the feed supplement.

As the global population increases and consumer interest in food production sustainability continues to grow, we know that to maintain the continuous improvements in beef sustainability that we’ve seen over the past half-century, we need to ensure that economic viability, environmental responsibility and social acceptability are all in place. All cattle producers obviously have the choice as to what tools and practices are used within their operation, but what are the big picture environmental and economic implications of removing technology use from beef production?

Grassroots Action' Livestock Feeding to Help Curb Global Climate Change
dateline: 9/13/13, source: Phys.Org

In a series of papers to be presented next week, scientists offer new evidence that a potent chemical mechanism operating in the roots of a tropical grass used for livestock feed has enormous potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Referred to as "biological nitrification inhibition" or BNI, the mechanism markedly reduces the conversion of nitrogen applied to soil as fertilizer into nitrous oxide, according to papers prepared for the 22nd International Grasslands Congress. Nitrous oxide is the most powerful and aggressive greenhouse gas, with a global warming potential 300 times that of carbon dioxide.


ND Stockmen Plan to Meet in Bismarck
dateline: 9/13/13, source: Tri-State Livestock News

Dr. Kim Stackhouse-Lawson, director of beef sustainability research for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, will discuss “Sustainable Beef: Meeting Tomorrow’s Demands.” Attendees will learn where the beef industry has made significant improvement, where improvement opportunities exist to achieve a more sustainable future and how their beef check off investment has supported this effort.


Surge in Brazil's Beef Exports

dateline: 9/17/13, source: GlobalMeatNews.com


Brazilian beef exports have soared as a result of strong demand from Russia and a weakening of the Brazilian real. According to data published by Ministry of Development, Industry and Foreign Trade (MDIC), exports of Brazilian beef reached 109,300 metric tonnes in August, a 20.6% year on-year increase and the highest monthly beef export volume since 2007.


News We Can Use

If you have news to share with the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef membership, please send it to polly.welden@grsbeef.org

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