Dear GRSB Member,

A very Happy New year to all our members, and welcome to the first GRSB connect for 2015. This will be a very important year for GRSB as we move to take the very general Principles and Criteria and translate them in different countries around the world into real sustainability on the ground. There is a lot to do to agree on a harmonised system that is flexible to be used in different regions around the world, while delivering on our goals. We need to be able to determine equivalence, to report on progress and demonstrate impact. All of these are essential to delivering on our vision and mission for sustainability, and to demonstrate to sceptics and critics that we really mean to bring about and document sustainable practice.

There is already movement in this direction; we are revising some of the governance structures as discussed in Brazil which will give more new members a chance to get involved in leadership roles, and we are working on how GRSB engages with and establishes equivalence between national and regional roundtables. We look forward to working with all of you on these issues through the year.

Ruaraidh Petre
Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef
Executive Director

Sustainability News

Intensive Agriculture Best Way to Feed World, Say Oxford Delegates

Dateline: 01/08/15, Source: By Johann Tasker, Farmers Weekly

Delegates at the Oxford Farming Conference have rejected a motion that intensive agriculture is no longer sustainable. The motion – proposed by Compassion in World Farming chief executive Philip Lymbery – was defeated by 269 votes to 81 following an Oxford Union debate.

Intensive agriculture was not sustainable because it eroded the bedrock farming relied on for future years – including soil, water and the environment, said Mr Lymbery.

Panera's Food Policy on Track: To Offer Additive–Free Food

Dateline: 12/1814, Source: Zacks

Panera Bread Company has recently provided details on its comprehensive Food Policy, introduced in June, regarding its shift to healthier food alternatives. The company's latest Food Policy details include the removal of additives from its ingredients. Panera's Food Policy is consistent with the growing awareness for healthy diet among consumers.

Conference Focuses on Beef Sustainability

Dateline: 01/08/15, Source: AgriView

The Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef recently announced its definition of sustainable beef as a socially responsible, environmentally sound and economically viable product that prioritizes planet, people, animals and progress. Fine–tuning that definition in the minds of producers and consumers becomes more complicated.

Policy Focus Should Be Species at Risk Coexistence

Dateline: 01/01/15, Source: By Ross Mcdonald, The Western Producer

Canadians have a strong global reputation for healthy coexistence, but maintaining and improving the country's natural capital requires continual re–evaluation of our goals and the corresponding policies that encourage practices to meet those goals.

The notion of understanding agricultural practices that conserve wildlife habitat may not have been a primary policy driver during the settlement of Canada, but it has become a growing issue.

New Dietary Recommendations Presenting Two–Fold Challenge for Beef Industry

Dateline: 01/06/15, Source: by Amanda Radke, BEEF Magazine

A draft of recommendations for the 2014 Dietary Guidelines for Americans has been circulating, and it's left me wondering, "Where's the beef?" Ranchers need to respond by sharing factual information about beef as a part of a healthy, environmentally friendly diet.

The USDA Might Tell Americans to Eat Less Beef for the Sake of the Environment

Dateline: 01/06/15, Source: By John Light, Grist

The Department of Agriculture is responsible for issuing guidelines on what America eats: It tells us what foods make up a healthy diet, and, during the last dozen years, what foods are organic.

Now, the USDA is also considering offering recommendations on how Americans can eat to minimize their effect on the environment. That would mean more fruits and vegetables and less meat — especially meat from cows.

Beef: Still What's for Dinner, Still Controversial

Dateline: 01/06/15, Source: By Ari LeVaux, Grist

The prevailing rhetoric coming from the environmental, dietary, and vegetarian communities paints cattle as perfectly designed agents of personal and planetary demise. From both ends of a cow's alimentary canal, a climate toxin — methane — spews forth that is so heat–trapping, it makes carbon dioxide look like an amateur. The flesh and mammary secretions of bovines will make you fat, give you heart disease, and sour your soul with bad karma. Simply put: If you want to die, go to hell, and take the whole world with you, all in one obscene gesture, then go eat a cheeseburger.

Crop Sector Starts Its Sustainability Roundtable

Dateline: 01/06/15, Source: By Alexis Kienlen, Alberta Farmer

The push for sustainability continues — and this time, it's hit the Canadian crop sector. That's led to the creation of the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Crops, a forum to advance, report and communicate the sustainability of grain production. The roundtable has been in the planning stages since spring, and will gear its efforts towards specific customers, such as retailers, food–service customers, and feed buyers.

Report Identifies Research Priorities to Sustainably Meet Expected Increase in Global Demand for Animal Protein

Dateline: 01/07/15, Source: National Academies

Meeting the expected growth in global demand for animal protein in a way that is economically, environmentally, and socially sustainable will require a greater investment in animal science research, says a new report from the National Research Council. The report identifies research priorities and recommends that governments and the private sector increase their support for this research.

International Poultry Council Joins Global Sustainability Body

Dateline: 12/16/14, Source: the Poultry Site

The International Poultry Council (IPC) has become a member of the Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock. The Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock is a partnership of livestock sector stakeholders established by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), committed to the sustainable development of the global livestock sector.

Reducing Livestock Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Dateline: 01/02/15, Source: The Cattle Site

Collaboration between researchers around the world and the global food and drink industry has produced an overview of current best practice and emerging options for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from livestock.The dairy and beef sectors have already made important progress on reducing emissions. While a steady growth in demand for all animal products has resulted in a 1.1 per cent per year increase of emissions since 2000, the GHG emissions intensity of production has decreased by up to 76 per cent (range 38–76 per cent) for various livestock products between 1960 to the 2000.

Our Members

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Welcome to the Table!

We Welcome The Newest Member to the Roundtable

Dateline: January 2015


Constituency: Retail

Ahold is an international retailing group based in the Netherlands, with strong local consumer brands in Europe and the United States. Operating supermarkets and selling great food has been the core of their business for over a century. They also offer other formats and channels to serve the needs of today's customer. Ahold is building a true omni–channel offering, so that customers can shop whenever and wherever is most convenient for them.

Members in the News

Beef Information Sharing System Goes Private

Dateline: 12/16/14, Source: By Ray Baynton, Blackburn News

The Canadian Cattlemen's Association's Beef InfoXchange System is going private. But the CCA is not getting out of the data collection and traceability system entirely. TheAssociation is partnering with ViewTrak Technologies as the initial shareholders in a new company set up to own and operate BIXS.

The Canadian Cattlemen's Association set BIXS up in 2009 as a platform for information sharing. CCA officials say the long–term plan always involved making the system self–sustaining.

Farmers Deploy New DNA Test for Tastier Meat

Dateline: 01/08/15, Source: By Jacob Bunge and Kelsey Gee, Wall Street Journal via Meridian Institute

Some United States cattle ranches are using sophisticated genetic tests to identify prize animals whose offspring will yield a larger volume of tastier steaks – and fetch producers higher prices. The technology, developed by companies like Neogen Corp. and Zoetis Inc., allow cattle breeders to assess a bull's genetic value with the same accuracy as if it had already sired 20 calves. Meatpackers like Cargill and Tyson Foods Inc. are saying the technology could help them keep pace with changing consumer preferences.

Rabobank Report: Global Beef Industry

Dateline: 01/08/15, Source: AgriView

Rabobank said a big question heading into 2015 with such a finely balanced market is, if Australian export rates decrease and herds in Mexico and Canada continue to be run down by the United States, have prices reached a new norm or do they still have room to rise?

Tyson Names New Animal Welfare Leader

Dateline: 12/15/14, Source: 4029 TV

Tyson Foods named Dr. Christine Daugherty its new vice president–Animal Well–Being Programs and Technology. Daugherty will oversee Tyson's FarmsCheck program, which is meant to ensure that farmers follow Tyson standards for the treatment of animals. She will also manage Tyson Foods' staff and conduct animal welfare audits.

Beef + Lamb New Zealand Join Forces with McDonald's

Dateline: 12/17/14, Source: Scoop NZ

Beef + Lamb New Zealand has partnered with McDonald's New Zealand to support the quick service restaurant company's quest to serve sustainable beef to its customers. "The programme will work with farmers and processors to identify and develop good management practices that support sustainable beef production. This means sustainable production systems, lower inputs, use of new technologies and the highest levels of animal welfare."

Global News

General Trend... The Global Perspective on Beef

Dateline: 12/17/14, Source: By Gerry Giggins, Irish Independent

2014 was a turbulent year for Irish beef producers, but globally the sector is experiencing an upturn. In the past year I have visited a number of countries with very diverse beef production systems. The general trend throughout these countries was one of increasing beef price, pressure on the breeding herds and a good deal of optimism among beef producers. A lot of these issues were the reverse of what was happening here in Ireland but every time I return home I have a huge appreciation for the quality and efficacy of the beef we produce.

Northern Cattle Industry Urged to Give Young Workers a Chance by Rural Training and Employment

Dateline: 01/07/15, Source: ABC Australia

A Queensland–based rural training organisation is urging beef industry employers to give young workers a chance, in a bid to reduce high youth unemployment in regional areas. Job creation is a key issue for many Queenslanders in the lead–up to the state election, with youth unemployment reaching 20 per cent in some communities, during the past year.

Dutch Government Supports Greater Farm Sustainability

Dateline: 12/30/14, Source: The Cattle Site

The Dutch government has announced financial support for 13 projects aimed at improving agricultural sustainability, including for better grassland management, local feed production and an expansion of the 'Beter Leven' welfare mark for pigs and poultry.The government is to support the country's livestock farming sector to make it more sustainable and animal–friendly.

Save Civilization --- Grow Topsoil

Dateline: 01/01/15, Source: The Western Producer

Farmers need to move beyond conserving topsoil and start growing it, according to a Vermont grazier, educator and consultant. Abe Collins is part of a small group of agriculturalists who want to take that next step. He is co–founder of the Soil Carbon Coalition, a non–profit organization dedicated to transforming atmospheric carbon into soil organic matter.

"If topsoil is renewable, at least that's the experience of our community, we all need to learn how to grow it," he said.

Tanzania: Livestock Keepers Ready for Climate Change

Dateline: 01/05/15, Source:By Bilham Kimati, All Africa

The vagaries of climate change which seem not to recognize geographical boundaries have not spared the livestock keeping communities, the Maasai, in Monduli, Longido and Ngorongoro districts in Arusha region. Apart from the migratory or nomadic nature of the herders, effects of climate such as increase of temperatures and the subsequent prolonged drought, complicated water collection efforts as well as increased aridity of the grazing land.

Sustainable Food Production Through Livestock Health Management

Dateline: 01/1/15, Source: Coursera

Learn about the impact of infectious disease on sustainable animal-based food production by understanding the science of growth, immunity, and infection and by learning the problem-solving skills needed to advance animal health and food production through optimal management practices. .

News We Can Use

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