Dear GRSB Member,

Governments around the globe are contemplating how they can positively impact sustainability and promote sustainable practices and systems. GRSB has been asked to present at the "Investment in Sustainable Livestock" conference, sponsored by the Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock, this week in Switzerland. I have been asked to consider the sorts of policies that GRSB feels would encourage investments with a focus on sustainability. This is an interesting question – and I am sure one that would elicit different responses from our different constituencies.

As there are a number of issues arising from the public comments on our principles and criteria that relate to policy e.g. climate change, antibiotic use as well as social and economic aspects, I would like to ask our GRSB membership for their thoughts and opinions on how governments could constructively support sustainable livestock efforts around the globe. While many would not support interventions that pick "winners and losers" or artificially disrupt markets leading to unintended economic consequences; it is clear that governments have an interest in and will continue to craft policies meant to enhance the adoption of sustainable practices in livestock and other important sectors.

It is interesting to note that while New Zealand and Australia have some of the lowest levels of government-financed producer supports in the world (both below 5% of gross farm receipts), both countries also have relatively tough legislation regarding climate change and environmental requirements in the world. Yet, the producers in these countries compete in a world market against producers who enjoy more government support and a lower legislative burden. The Australian and New Zealand producer must be extremely efficient in order to effectively compete in a global marketplace where they do not enjoy the advantages of generous government payments, and face less favorable policies. Efficiency and innovation, one of our Principles, is obviously critical to survival. Perhaps there are policy lessons that can be learned from those countries where producers must be efficient to survive both domestically and globally?

So, I ask our membership: What role, if any, should governments play in sustainability? What policies do you believe governments could adopt to encourage greater adoption of sustainable practices? How do we balance market signals with government action?

Thank you for guidance and continued support of GRSB.

Ruaraidh Petre
Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef
Executive Director

Sustainability News

McDonald's Pressured on Beef Sustainability Plans, Antibiotics

Dateline: 05/21/14, Source: Farm Futures

Coalition, Congresswoman address proposed beef sustainability definition, say efforts should extend into antibiotic use. The definition is expected to become the standard for McDonald's, which turned to the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef earlier this year for help in better defining its commitment to using only "verified sustainable beef" by 2016.

Canada to be First to Supply McDonald's with Sustainable Beef

Dateline: 05/29/14, source: By Michael Wright, Calgary Herald

McDonald's announced in January it would begin sourcing only verifiable sustainable beef in 2016, and the multinational company is now in talks with Canadian beef producers about them being the first to be certified to provide it. McDonald's Canada already sources all of its beef from Canadian suppliers.

The Canadian Cattlemen's Association, Alberta Beef Producers and other industry players have been meeting McDonald's Canada officials to discuss how a sustainable supply chain can be put in place.

Steakonomics: Technology Making Livestock Production More Sustainable

Dateline: 05/30/14, Source: By Steve White, Nebraska TV

Re–claiming our title as the Beef State, Nebraska takes the crown as the top cattle feeding state in the nation. And if we're to continue growing livestock operations, experts say technology will help farmers be good neighbors.

Dr. John Pollak, head of the USDA's Meat Animal Research Center said, "The knowledge base is growing rapidly and we're adding to it. This concept now is of having the production be sustainable from social, environmental, and economic components, which is what producers have been doing for years anyway."

Beef Square Table Meeting Wraps Up

Dateline: 05/23/14, Source: By Brad Cooper, Queensland Country Life

A meeting of the Australian beef industry's heavy hitters has wrapped up in Brisbane with consensus reached on catering to consumer demands on sustainable supply. Square table chairman David Farley said today’s meeting of Australian beef industry representatives had demonstrated the sector’s focus on meeting changing consumer demands.

Taskforce Will 'Meat' Consumer Expectations

Dateline: 05/26/14, Source: Queensland Country Life

Promoting Australia's existing sustainability credentials to a worldwide audience will be the focus of a new red meat industry taskforce, formed to oppose intervention by the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB) in the Australian market.

Carbon and Emissions: Livestock

Source: Department of Environment and Primary Studies, Victoria,

There are many techniques that can improve livestock performance and efficiency while reducing emissions produced on-farm. Methane is the main greenhouse gas produced in grazing systems. Ruminant livestock (cattle, sheep, and goats) have microbes in their stomach called methanogens to generate energy. This website page offers procedures to manage livestock waste. For more, CLICK HERE.

Global News

Processors and Retailers Accused of Running Away from Beef Industry

Dateline: 05/29/14, Source: By Louise Hartley, Farmers Guardian

During last year's horsegate scandal retailers and processors welcomed British producers with 'open arms' because it 'satisfied their needs at that time', said National Beef Association (NBA) board member and beef farmer, John Hoskin.

He said: "Processors and supermarkets have run away from our beef industry completely, turning their back on the country’s beef producers and dramatically reducing the beef price overnight, with no industry consultation whatsoever."

Beef 2015 Unveiled

Dateline: 05/23/14, Source: North Queensland Register

"Beef 2015 is a platform for the development of all levels of industry, by growing new export markets, educating producers on the latest production techniques and engaging with consumers about the great taste and nutritional benefits of beef," said the expo's chairman Blair Angus.

The event will again showcase Australia's top quality cattle through the stud, commercial and carcase competitions, as well as assist in the adoption by producers of the latest in industry research through the conference, seminars and property tours to help drive real productivity growth.

Sharing Cattle Industry Tips Across the Tasman

Dateline: 05/21/14, Source: ABC AU

They might have it over us in the dairy stakes, but a New Zealand cattle breeder says he's impressed with how sustainable Australia's beef industry is.

Call for Beef Sector to Give Fair Share of Margin to Producers

Dateline: 05/29/14, Source: Herald Scotland

The National Farmers' Union Scotland is calling on those within the beef sector to deliver a fair share of the margin back to producers, or run the risk of stalling the recovery in Scotland's beef herd.

NFUS president Nigel Miller said there was a real need for something to be done now to ensure the future prosperity of the industry. "The farm-gate price appears to have been an opportunity for retailers to take margin back without regard to future supply, while demanding more from consumers," he said.

Our Members

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Members In The News

Share Your Views on Innovation in Natural Resource and Animal Welfare Management


GRSB Producer Member the Australian Land Management Group has convened a Symposium on Natural Resource and Animal Welfare Management–Agricultural Competitiveness to be held in Brisbane on Wednesday 11th June 2014.

The Symposium will identify how government, industry, community organizations and landholders can work together so that superior natural resource and animal welfare management is better supported, recognized and rewarded. For more information, CLICK HERE.

McDonald's to Hand Sustainable Beef Responsibility to Individual Restaurants

Dateline: 05/24/154, Source: By Richard Heasman, Blue and Green Tomorrow

Fast food giant McDonald's plans to implement its recent pledge to purchase sustainable beef using region-specific standards for its suppliers. By handing over responsibility to its 36,000 restaurants, the company said they can achieve sustainability goals relevant to their geographical location.

Ex Cattle Council Boss 'Airs Grievances' at Beef Inquiry

Dateline: 05/23/14, Source: By Charlie McKillop, ABC AU

Structural reform of the beef industry leadership and a choice about the way in which levies are spent, are the only ways forward for ailing northern cattle industry, according to Greg Brown, former Cattle Council of Australia (CCA) boss.

Woolies on Track to Launch New Melbourne Meat Facility

Dateline: 05/14/14, Source: By Jon Condon, BEEF Central

National supermarket retailer Woolworths is on track to launch its new Melbourne meat processing and packaging facility sometime next year. The new facility, on a greenfield site understood to be near Laverton in the city's southwest, will represent the second phase of an expanding Australian joint venture that Woolworths is undertaking with UK-based specialist retail meat processing and packaging company, Hilton Food Group.

Cargill Battles Drought in Cattle Country

Dateline: 05/11/14, Source: By Mike Hughlett, Minneapolis Star Tribune

Cargill is set to close another Texas feedlot, and last year it shuttered a mammoth beef packing plant in the state. The problem: not enough cattle to go around, a result of a long and punishing drought.

CEO: McDonald's Would 'Manage' Minimum Wage Hike

Dateline: 05/25/14, Source: By Phil Rosenthal, Chicago Tribune via Daily Press

McDonald's Corp. for years has been in the cross hairs of a national campaign to raise the minimum wage, a movement that intensified last week as demonstrators marched on its Oak Brook headquarters. The fast-food behemoth has rejected protesters' call to more than double the national base pay from its current $7.25 an hour to $15 an hour as too high. It has said in a statement that it respects the right of employees to choose whether or not they want to unionize.

Earlier this month, in a less combative forum, McDonald's Chief Executive Don Thompson told students at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management that it could handle a theoretical bump in the minimum wage to, say, $10.10 an hour, the figure supported by President Barack Obama and others.

South Africa–Brazil FTAs Will Impact Namibian Beef Industry

Dateline: 05/20/14, Source: All Africa

Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) won't hold favourable implications for Namibia's weaner industry and the opportune thing for local producers along with government, is to get together and have a round table discussion to come up with plans on how to convert potential challenges into opportunities.

Meatco's Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Vekuii Rukoro, says regarding South Africa's negotiations with Brazil to sign FTAs to allow the import of cheap meat into South Africa. Rukoro says reacting to questions raised by the Osire/Waterberg Farmers Association and producers who wanted to know how this will impact meat prices in Namibia.

If South Africa's negotiations with Brazil concludes successfully, it will have implications for the Namibian beef industry.

Cargill to License Bovine Genetics Tool

Dateline: 05/12/14, Source: By Georgi Gyton, Global Meat News

Cargill Inc, and Branhaven LLC have announced a non–exclusive agreement to license BeefTek Inc – their patented BeefGen genomics tools. The DNA tools are intended to help beef and dairy cattle producers analuse bovine gnetics in order to improve meath and dairy production, said the firm.

Meat Giant JBS Gets Set to Go Public

Dateline: 05/23/14, Source: World Poultry

Brazil-based global meat processor, JBS, has filed for an initial public offering of its Brazilian pork, poultry and food-processing operations.

The company, which is the world's largest meat processor and owner of international brands like Pilgrim's Pride and Swift, intends to raise about $1.8 billion, all of which would be used to finance the company's growth. The operations, to be spun off under the name JBS Foods, were responsible for about 10% of the parent company's more than $40 billion in revenue last year.

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