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Dear GRSB Member,

Welcome to the latest GRSB Connect. We are seeing increasing numbers of articles referencing sustainability in the beef industry, and what that can and may entail.

It is interesting to see how ideas and systems are transferred between regions; for example see the article about Ontario considering an Australian style traceability system. The article on the beef site on outcome measures reflects the benefits producers are seeing from outcome measures in terms of both sustainability and profitability, while the ALMG Symposium (Read report HERE) which brought together key policy makers, representatives of the food and fibre supply chain, environmental and animal welfare interest groups, and landholders from across eastern Australia, demonstrated support for a voluntary national system to verify environmental and animal welfare credentials.

Different regions are inevitably at various stages in their sustainability journey, but the encouraging news is that the need for sustainability is recognised very widely and there are numerous moves to demonstrate what that means in different physical, legal and economic environments.


Ruaraidh Petre
Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef
Executive Director

Sustainability News

Ontario's Beef Industry Eyes Australian–Style Traceability System

Dateline: 08/12/14, Source: By Amanda Brodhagen,

Ontario can learn from the success of Australia's one–of–a–kind, chain–length traceability system for beef cattle, as suggested in a new case study released today [August 12], published by Value Chain Management International (VCMI) in partnership with Beef Farmers of Ontario (BFO).

Outcome Measures Drive Producer Profitability, Sustainable Practices

Dateline: 08/19/14, Source: The Beef Site

Farmers are business focused – they are constantly looking for efficiencies that can increase their profitability and overall sustainability of their business. To do that, they need to identify aspects in their operation that can be improved," Ruth Layton, a Veterinary Director within the Sustainability Science Division of Benchmark Holdings plc – a sustainable food chain business with practical research farming operations in the UK and Brazil. "Outcome measures help farmers do this; they are simple and straightforward metrics that can help increase your profitability, while ensuring we farm in a sustainable way." By sustainable, we mean farming practices that respect people, animals and the environment, while at the same time are commercially viable.

10 Key Findings of EU Sustainable Intensification Report

Dateline: 08/02/14 Source: By Philip Case, Farmers Weekly

The term "sustainable intensification" (SI) of agriculture has been suggested as part of the answer to feeding a global population expected to reach nine billion by 2050. A new 98–page report, entitled The Sustainable Intensification of European Agriculture and published by the Institute of European Environmental Policy (IEEP), teases out the meaning of SI in the context of the European Union. Read Report HERE.

Sustainable Beef Starts with Grass

Dateline: 07/30/14 Source: By Pete Bauman, Drovers CattleNetwork

The word sustainability means something different to everyone when referring to the grass and beef industry. To some it means they have a constant supply of product. To others, it means they've achieved a desired state of success in production methods. Still to others, achieving sustainability is simply not enough. They want to do more than just sustain, they want to expand, improve, and increase profitability in dollars, time management, natural resources, and family life.

Why George Monbiot Is Wrong: Grazing Livestock Can Save the World

Dateline: 08/19/014, Source: By L. Hunter Lovins, The Guardian

In his recent interview with Allan Savory, the high profile biologist and farmer who argues that properly managing grazing animals can counter climate chaos, George Monbiot reasonably asks for proof. Where I believe he strays into the unreasonable, is in asserting that there is none.

Savory's argument, which counters popular conceptions, is that more livestock rather than fewer can help save the planet through a concept he calls "holistic management." In brief, he contends that grazing livestock can reverse desertification and restore carbon to the soil, enhancing its biodiversity and countering climate change.


Horizon Programme Explores Livestock's Environmental Impact

Dateline: 08/20/14, Source: By Eleanor Mackay

The UK's livestock production systems sit in stark contrast to intensely farmed US livestock. Nick Allen, sector director at Eblex said: "Our rain–fed pasture system means we have one of the most efficient and sustainable livestock production systems in the world. In the UK, cattle and sheep primarily convert grass, which cannot be used to feed people, into nutritious food for our growing population. We have very little reliance on irrigation; in fact it takes just 67 litres to produce 1kg of beef."

Measuring Agriculture's Shadow

Dateline: 08/22/14, Source: By Peg Strankman, Canadian Cattlemen

The value of biodiversity to provide ecosystem services like pollination to agriculture is more and more recognized," says Dr. Shannon R. White, a University of Alberta ecologist working with the Alberta Biodiversity Monitoring Institute (ABMI). "Measuring biodiversity is the base for valuing the ecosystem services responsible for purifying our air and water, and ensuring the productivity of our agriculture and forestlands."


Why Beef Must Listen to Consumers

Dateline: 08/01/14, Source :By Mark Phelps, North Queensland Register

Richard Rains, the former chief executive officer of trading company Sanger Australia and director of organic supply company Arcadian Meat Co, told the Yugilbar field day this morning that the industry needed to increasingly listen to consumers and meet their expectations. "Consumer behaviour is based on trust and consumers are saying they want food production systems based on integrity and ethics," Mr Rains said. "Beef is the highest priced protein in the world. But selling product based on price is only a race to the bottom. We have to shift to delivering what the consumer demands."

Beef Sustainability Defended by Farmers

Dateline: 07/31/14, Source: CBC News Canada

Canadian cattle producers are working to make beef a more sustainable food source, say farmers in the wake of a study that shows beef production is far more environmentally damaging than other food production.

Nestle Announces New Animal Welfare Standards

Dateline: 08/21/14, Source: By David Pierson, LA Times

Nestle, the world's largest food and beverage company, has pledged new animal welfare standards for its 7,300 worldwide suppliers. The move, which animal rights groups call the strongest by a major food company to date, would require suppliers to provide more space for farm animals, minimize pain in veterinary practices and welcome independent auditors.

Texan University System Joins Forces with FAO for Food Security

Dateline: 08/04/14, Source: The Beef Site

The Texas A&M University System and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) today agreed to work together to combat world hunger by building capacity for sustainable agriculture and natural resource management in developing countries.Under the new agreement, the Texas A&M System and FAO will carry out initiatives to strengthen agricultural production innovations, land and water management practices, and plant and animal health in order to improve food security.

Members In The News

Push for System to Verify Environmental and Animal Welfare Credentials

A major outcome of a recent ALMG symposium has been to ignite a push to establish a voluntary national system to verify environmental and animal welfare credentials. Participants at the symposium, held in Brisbane in June, were unanimous in recognising that consumer interest in where and how their food is produced is a reason that a national voluntary environmental and animal welfare certification scheme must be the next step for Australian agriculture.

The symposium brought together key policy makers, representatives of the food and fibre supply chain, specialist environmental and animal welfare interest groups, and landholders from across Victoria, NSW and Queensland. Download the report HERE. Symposium outcomes and podcasts of presentations are available on the ALMG Website HERE.

Cameron Bruett, Head of Corporate Affairs and Chief Sustainability Officer, JBS  and GRSB President, delivered the keynote address on sustainability at ALMA's annual FutureFare2014 conference in Edmonton, Alberta. Watch 51-minute video HERE.

Fast–Food VP Challenges Cattle Industry

Dateline: 08/14/14, Source: By Gene Johnston,

Exactly what does it to mean to be a sustainable cattle ranch? As an industry that is as old as civilization, aren't we already there? The next two years will attempt to bring answers to those questions due to an initiative from the beef industry's single biggest customer: McDonald's.

McDonald's Strategy – More Than It Can Chew?

Dateline: 08/18/14, Source: By Giles Crosse,

In April, McDonald's launched its 2020 CSR/Sustainability Framework, spanning five "pillars": Food, Sourcing, Planet, People and Community. The company says it hopes actions within these pillars will help it to achieve the social and business imperatives necessary to secure a profitable future.

Our Journey to Verified Sustainable Beef

Source: mcdonaldscorp youtube

McDonald's traveled to Nashville, TN and the National Cattlemen's Beef Association Convention to talk to ranchers about the future of beef and their commitment to begin sourcing verified sustainable beef by 2016. See video HERE.

There's Not Enough Sustainable Beef in the World to Feed Your Fast–Food Addiction

Dateline: 08/06/14, Source: By Talia Ralph, Munchies

At the beginning of 2014, perhaps in the spirit of New Year's resolutions, McDonald's announced to the world that it planned to source sustainable beef for some of its burgers by 2016. Walmart made a similar assertion in October 2010, when it decided that it didn't want to sell any meat from cows that were grazing on what was once the Brazilian Amazon. Its deadline is the end of 2015.

The closest thing to a globally agreed–upon definition is coming our way in November, via the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, or GRSB. It's headed up by a very well–traveled executive director, Ruaraidh Petre, who cut his teeth working on sustainability efforts with food producers in India, Pakistan, and Botswana. Petre has a huge job ahead of him, and the whole matter of defining sustainable is only the beginning. "We have no idea how much of the current global production of beef is sustainable," he told me from his office in the Netherlands. "We need to get a grip on what our members are doing and if it's actually working."

Iowa Cattle Producer Finalist for Environmental Award

Dateline: 08/07/14, Source:Iowa Farmer Today

A southwest Iowa cattle producer has been selected as the Region 3 winner of the National Cattlemen's Beef Association's program that highlights exceptional work done by cattle producers to protect and enhance the environment.

Nichols Farms LTD of Bridgewater was announced as the Region 3 winner in the Environmental Stewardship Award Program (ESAP) at the Cattle Industry Summer Conference in Denver on July 31. This family farm covers Adair, Adams and Cass counties. Nichols Farms, an internationally known seedstock producer and a cow–calf operation, will compete for the national ESAP title with six other regional winners.

Our Members

To read the entire source article, click on the link in the headline.

Welcome to the Table!

We Welcome The Newest Members to the Roundtable

Dateline: August 2014

Institute of Ranch Management, TCU

Constituency: Civil Society

The Institute of Ranch Management, TCU is an educational institution with a global outreach program dedicated to the practice of sustainable land management and livestock production.

The Beef Pro

Constituency: Producer

Gregory Bloom, The Beef Pro, conducts interactive beef workshops that teach the beef cutout (where the parts come from and how to best utilize them) for food service sales professionals, chefs, and retail meat cutters. He also provides informative food show seminars about beef including beef industry issues, cutting yields and recipe development. Mr. Bloom is also an individual producer.

Certified Australian Angus Beef Pty Ltd

Constituency: Producer

Incorporated in 1996, Certified Australian Angus Beef Pty Ltd is wholly owned by Angus Australia on behalf of its 3,500 plus members. The company was established as a customer focused organization to promote the sale of Angus beef in Australia and the worldwide markets. To achieve its objectives the company has developed a production pathway to produce superior beef to a strict specification that ensures both the highest quality and food safety.

CKE Restaurants Holdings, Inc.

Constituency: Retail

CKE Restaurants, Inc. owns, operates and franchises some of the most popular brands in the quick–service restaurant industry, including the Carl's Jr.®, Hardee's®, Green Burrito® and Red Burrito® restaurant brands. The CKE system includes more than 3,400 restaurant locations in 42 states and in 31 countries.

Global News

Australian Meat Firm Signs AU$1bn Deal with Chinese Importer

Dateline: 08/05/14, Source: By Eleanor Mackay, Global Meat News

Australian meat firm V&V Walsh has signed a deal with China's Grand Farm, for a reported AU$1bn, according to Australian media. Under the terms of the deal V&V Walsh will supply boxed meat to Grand Farm, China's largest importer of red meat. As a result an extra 500,000 lambs and 30,000 cattle will be required, per year throughout the project.

How Much Longer Can We Let Bovine TB Wreck the Great British Beef Industry?

Dateline: 08/06/14, Source: By Philp Bowern, Western Morning News UK

Henry Andrews epitomises the future of livestock farming in the Westcountry. At just 25 he is full of enthusiasm for rearing beef cattle using the resources that the far South West offers in abundance – great grazing, fabulous cattle and a long tradition of producing animals for their meat.

But a black cloud hangs over his enterprise and his family's aim to be producing around 800 high–quality beef cattle every year on the family–owned 680–acre holding at Coryton, near Okehampton. Bovine TB has hit the farm for the second time in three years, disrupting the business and leaving farm staff anxious and angry. "TB is the biggest thing affecting our business," he said. "We spend a lot of time and money and then this disease comes along and just puts us back – we cannot go on like this."

Indian Meat Industry Worries About 'War on Meat', Says Euromonitor

Dateline: 08/18/14, Source: By Simone Baroke, Global Meat News

India is fast emerging as one of the world's biggest bovine meat exporters. This, however, does not sit at all well with the country's newly elected Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which promised during its campaign to put a halt to the growing consumption and export of meat. Domestic fresh meat sales, however, are currently doing exceedingly well, and it is questionable whether the government of an emerging economy with a poverty–stricken population can afford to clamp down on an important source of national prosperity.

Meat Industry Reacts to Russian Ban

Dateline: 08/08/14, Source:By Georgi Gyton, Global Meat News

There has been mixed reaction to news of Russia's import ban yesterday (7 August), with some associations shrugging it off, and others calling for action to be taken. The ban, on "imports of products from the countries that have imposed economic sanctions against Russian citizens and companies", comprises agricultural produce, raw materials and food products from the US, the EU, Canada, Australia and Norway. It includes beef, pork, poultry and fish as well as fruits, vegetables and dairy products, with the ban to last for a period of one year.

How Russian Ban on U.S., E.U. Food Could Turn into a Windfall for Brazil

Dateline: 08/09/14, Source: By Dom Phillips, The Washington Post

As relations among Russia, the United States and the European Union deteriorate over the Ukraine crisis, there may be one unexpected winner: Brazil. On Wednesday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree banning a list of agricultural products from the United States, the European Union, Canada, Australia and Norway in response to sanctions levied by the West. No sooner had Russia issued the ban than Brazilian producers were lining up to fill the gap.

"Brazil will substantially increase its meat and dairy exports," Brazilian Agriculture Minister Neri Geller said in a statement.


Win–Win for Indo–Aus Beef Trade

Dateline: 08/15/14, Source: By Matthew Cawood, Queensland Country Life

Agriculture–related diplomacy with Indonesia has hit new post–2011 levels of warmth after the signing of a joint declaration to strengthen red–meat related trade ties between the countries. Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce and chairman of the Indonesia Investment Co–ordinating Board Mahendra Siregar signed the declaration in Brisbane last week to strengthen bilateral business, investment and trade ties across the red meat and cattle sector.

Beef Industry Action Plan for Scotland Published

Dateline: 08/20/14, Source: BBC

Experts have published an action plan to tackle livestock declines and low profitability in the beef industry. A report by an industry group led by the chairman of Quality Meat Scotland said beef cow numbers had fallen by 50,000 since the last reform of the European Union's Common Agricultural Policy was implemented in 2005. Scottish abattoirs have also seen a fall in production of 15%. The report puts forward 23 recommendations for the industry. They include measures to improve animal health, reduce climate change impacts and grow cattle numbers.

Has Meat Met Its Match?

Dateline: 07/31/14, Source: By Rowan Jacobsen, Green Biz

Like fedoras and Mickey Rourke, entomophagy (bug–eating) has experienced periodic but short–lived flares in popularity over the years. But this time it seems to have legs. You can snack on fried grasshoppers in New York and D.C., wrap your chopsticks around cricket sushi in Portland, Ore., and chow down on mealworm tacos from the Don Bugito food cart in San Francisco. Edible insect festivals are no longer news, and a variety of cricket–flour energy bars are dueling for retail shelf space.        

What adds timeliness to the trend is the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization's recent report "Edible Insects: Future Prospects for Food and Feed Security," which points out that 2 billion people already eat bugs and the rest of us had better get on it, because by 2050 the world population will have swelled from the current 7 billion to 9 billion or more. If the growth in demand for animal protein continues on its current trajectory, cows, pigs and chickens may need some help meeting it.

News We Can Use

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