Visit the Conference Website for more information and to register today!

 Upcoming General Assembly Vote
on the Principles & Criteria Document
to begin on September 30, 2014 via electronic ballot. 
Join tomorrow’s Executive Board call at 3:00 p.m. Central US Time /
8:00 p.m. UTC for further details

Dear GRSB Member,

Welcome to this edition of Connect. I have been in New York this week, not for anything directly related to the climate discussions, but to find out more about the UN Global Compact, and specifically the Food and Agriculture Business Principles. These are of interest to GRSB because they are aiming for widespread application, but have no intention of developing further levels of criteria, indicators etc. Therefore whenever an organisation subscribes to the FABPs and is clearly linked to the a specific value chain, they would be called upon to follow a roundtable approach in that sector. Since these principles align well with our own principles  upon which we will soon be voting, this is good news for us. Given that there are over 8,000 participating companies and organisations in 145 countries, this could be a significant boost to GRSBs own approach, and would not add to the obligations of GRSB members. At the meeting it was also announced that ASEAN (10 South East Asian countries, including Indonesia) would be using these to guide agricultural development policy in the region.

With respect to voting on our own principles and criteria, the electronic voting on their adoption is open to all members in good standing.  Voting will begin on Tuesday, September 30, 2014 and will be open for a limited time only; the
primary contact for each member (as designated in your Membership Letter of Agreement) will be the only one to receive an electronic link to vote. Further information will be available and discussed in tomorrow’s Executive Board call, which all members are free to join.

Preparations are going well for the Global Conference on Sustainable Beef in São Paulo on November 2-5. GTPS has also arranged two tours to Campo Grande and Alto Floresta to showcase cattle production and sustainability projects in action please do sign up for the conference and the tours in good time. See our conference web pages under the general heading 2014 Global Conference on Sustainable Beef.


Ruaraidh Petre
Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef
Executive Director

The Sustainable Beef Blog by Ruaraidh Petre

Sustainability News

Build Healthy Soil Through Regenerative Grazing

Dateline: September 2014, Source: Mother Earth News

Innovative graziers have recently been realizing that high–density, very short rotations (the cycles naturally performed by grazing herds for millennia) is a far more productive approach to managing pastureland. Enter regenerative grazing, mob stocking, or whatever your preferred term may be for regenerating the landscape through the application of grazing animals. When a large number of densely packed, heavy animals moves through a landscape quickly, occupying that landscape just once or twice a season, the following soil–building events tend to occur.

Verified Beef Production Program Gives Producers an Edge

Dateline: 09/09/14, Source: By Jill Burkhardt, Alberta Farm Express

Verified Beef Production (VBP) program, the country's on–farm food safety program for beef producers, already has standard operating procedures covering animal health management, feed and water, shipping, pesticide control, manure management, and staff training and communication. In January, it was announced three new modules undefined biosecurity, animal care, and environmental stewardship undefined will be added. This type of information is increasingly being sought by major corporations, such as McDonalds, which is piloting its "sustainable beef" program in Canada.

Would You Eat Lab Grown Meat to Save the Environment?

Dateline: 09/11/14, Source: By Hanna Gould, The Guardian

Is there a way of satisfying the growing appetite for meat, while also protecting the environment? Last year, Dr Mark Post, of the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands presented the first hi–tech hamburger to the public. Made from tens of thousands of strands of protein grown in petri dishes from cattle stem cells, the project was backed by Google's co–founder, Sergey Brin with £215,000 ($330,000). Is this in–vitro meat (also known as cultured meat or lab–grown meat) the answer to sustainably meeting global food demand?

Oddly Sustainable: Will Grass–Fed Beef Score at the Stadium?

Dateline: 09/16/14, Source: By Russ Blinch, The Guardian

Patrons at the 64,000–capacity Edward Jones Dome can now buy the "first–ever high–welfare, sustainable hot dogs and burgers" at the concession stands, according to the companies involved, including one headed by a former bone–crushing Rams linebacker–turned–environmentalist, Will Witherspoon.

Witherspoon's company, Shire Gate Farm, which has won the seal of approval by an animal welfare organization, teamed up with Delaware North Companies Sportservice to offer the grass–fed beef hot dogs and hamburgers. Shire Gate Farm says its products, including those sourced from other local farms, meet "exacting" animal welfare and environmental standards that have been certified by the Animal Welfare Approved organization, or AWA.

No Constant in Wet and Dry

Dateline: 09/15/14, Source: By Kris Ringwall, AgWeek

The use of the word "sustainability" often is an indication that someone is searching for a simple, normal approach to life. In other words, the ability to fit in without the pressures of uncertainty. Instead of sustainability, what we might need is an organized response to ever–present change. As cattle producers, how we respond to the environment is key to our survival. The world is covered with water and plants. How we use the plants depends on how consumers look at their plates.

Cattle Provide Consistency

Dateline: 09/19/14, Source: By Kristen Frost, The Land Newspaper

"For three generations of farmers we have concentrated on sowing cotton and barley," Mr Gooderham said. "But for me there is a big swing towards the livestock side of the business; it is an important factor in a sustainable farming future."

Members In The News

Scientists Rebut NY Times Op–Ed 'To Save the Planet, Don't Plant Trees'

Dateline: 09/22/14, Source: By Daniel Nepstad and colleagues,

One of the biggest near–term opportunities to mitigate climate change is to slow down deforestation and forest degradation in the tropics, where the lion's share of the world's forest loss is taking place. Brazil has reduced deforestation rates in the Amazon region by 70%, for example, keeping 3.2 billion tons of carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere since 2005 and elevating this nation to global leadership in climate change solutions. In a recent Op–Ed ("To Save the Planet, Don't Plant Trees", New York Times, September 20), Assistant Professor Nadine Unger of Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies claims that the scientific evidence that slowing deforestation or planting trees mitigates climate change is weak. We strongly disagree.

Paraguay: Brazil's JBS to Double Production Capacity

Dateline: 09/15/14, Source: By Hannah Abdulla, Just–Food

Brazilian meat processor JBS has announced plans to double meat production capacity in Paraguay. The firm currently has two plants in Paraguayan capital Asuncion. A spokesperson for the company told just–food a new plant would be built further north of the existing plants "where the herd is increasing". "The Paraguayan herd has been increasing faster than any other of the Mercosul countries due to increased investments in cattle ranching there."

Shake–Up at Meat and Livestock Australia, As Industry Grumbles About Funding

Dateline: 09/09/14, Source: By Barbara Bierach, Global Meat News

Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) will cut its budget by 10% of its operating costs and plans on revamping its research programme, amidst grumbles from the industry about its funding arrangements.

The company's research on livestock production will be scrutinised, following a strategic research review last year. Its 11 recommendations include improving transparency on funding allocations and focusing on larger, long–term projects. At a public hearing Greg Brown, the former head of industry body the Cattle Council of Australia, described the relationship between the sector and its marketing and research agency akin to "the servant paying the master."

Environment Research Focus for Red Meat Sector

Dateline: 09/12/14, Source: By Sue O'Dowd, NZ Farmer

An organisation funded by the country's sheep and beef farmers is doing its best to help them deal with the juggernaut that is the environment, says a director. Beef+Lamb NZ (B+L NZ) director Kirsten Bryant was addressing this week's annual meeting of the Western North Island Farmer Council (WNIFC) in Stratford. Increasingly, B+L NZ was turning its attention to helping farmers manage the challenges of the environment.

Bryant said the 2011 Red Meat Sector Strategy had shown the industry's top performers were not differentiated by age, debt, or the size of their farms. "They're just good at what they do. Productivity is the big difference, so how can we help other farmers to take advantage of the opportunities that are there?"

Our Members

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

Welcome to the Table!

We Welcome The Newest Member to the Roundtable

Dateline: September 2014

A&W Food Services of Canada Inc.

Constituency: Retail

A&W Food Services of Canada Inc. is a chain restaurant company in Canada in the quick service sector. They have over 820 restaurants from coast to coast. The restaurants are largely franchised with only about 12 being corporately owned. The menu centers around beef burgers and they serve only "natural" beef in their restaurants.

ITS Global

Constituency: Commerce & Processing

ITS Global supplies industry solutions for market–based initiatives related to animal identification, production and traceability while simplifying compliance with regulatory requirements. They have locations in both Canada and the United States.

Kate Varela, DVM, MPH

Constituency: Observing Individual

Dr. Kate Varela is a veterinarian with a background in public health, environment studies and livestock production. She is currently an AVMA/AAAS science policy fellow and would like to continue her career in sustainable agriculture policy and implementation following the fellowship.

Global News

Forget Iron. Australian Miners Start Selling Cattle in China

Dateline: 09/05/14, Source: By Bruce Einhorn, Business Week

As China's economy slows and the days of double–digit economic growth are over, companies that have been selling minerals to the Chinese are looking for the next big thing. For many Australian miners, the answer is cattle.

Cattle Prices Hit Record Highs, But Industry Doesn't See Expansion

Dateline: 09/06/14, Source: By David Erickson, The Missoulian

Due to high demand and limited supply, cattle prices are the highest they've ever been. However, the boom in prices isn't leading to a boom in the industry. Due to the high costs of labor, equipment and land, most experts don't expect a sudden influx of new cattle ranchers to flood the inventory anytime soon.

Trade Deal Could Wipe Out the Suckler Beef Sector

Dateline: 09/10/14, Source: The Irish Independent

A transatlantic trade agreement on food could have serious impact on the suckler sector, according to an EU study on TTIP that was published last week.

National Farmers Union Pulls Out of Beef Checkoff

Dateline: 09/09/14, Source: Drovers CattleNetwork

National Farmers Union board of directors voted to withdraw from the beef checkoff working group, effective immediately. NFU President Roger Johnson released the following statement: "After three years of pushing for real reforms in the beef check–off program, NFU has decided that the process has become a bridge to nowhere and a waste of time and resources…"

Complexity of New Free–Trade Deals Challenging Canadian Companies

Dateline: 09/10/14, Source: The Globe and Mail

A complex web of overlapping free–trade agreements is creating opportunity, but also new challenges, for Canadian food and agricultural producers.

Stop Importing Paraguayan Beef: Russian Restaurants Warned

Dateline: 09/11/14, Source: Survival International

Russia's top restaurants have been urged to stop using beef from Paraguay, to prevent the rapid destruction of the forest home of an uncontacted tribe by cattle ranchers.

Russia is the principal importer of beef from Paraguay. Brazilian ranching company Yaguarete Pora S.A. which exports to Russia, has repeatedly been captured on satellite imagery illegally bulldozing vast tracts of Paraguay's Chaco forest.

The Chaco is home to the uncontacted Ayoreo–Totobiegosode tribe, one of the most vulnerable societies on the planet. In June 2014 Survival launched an advertising campaign in Russia, warning consumers of the dangers the beef industry poses to the lives of uncontacted Ayoreo.

Big Beefs with Senate Grassfed Report

Dateline: 09/13/14, Source: By Matthew Cawood, Stock and Land

The report handed down on Monday by the Senate committee looking at "Industry structures and systems governing levies on grassfed cattle" reflects one outstanding feature of Australia's beef cattle industry: it's complicated.

News We Can Use

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