Dear GRSB Member,

We have more than one story touching on Australian drought in this week's Connect; and while much of the Northern Territory and parts of South Eastern Australia have had good rains, there are still significant areas in Queensland that are in drought. Dealing with drought, whether preparing for one, living through one, or recovering from the aftermath of one is a part of business as usual for producers in many regions, and is a key part of sustainability.

Recognising and knowing how to deal with the uncertainty of climate in brittle environments is crucial to success, as the Doug Avery article and his resilient farmer webpage illustrate. It is certainly encouraging to note how much interest Doug Avery has been getting in his work from the producer community in New Zealand, as the basic principles he works with align well with our own work.

With interest in the role of red meat in diet and environment a hot topic over the last weeks, we urgently need to get the message across that this is not a black and white issue; while we all know that cattle emit methane and have always done so, we also know that without grazing ruminants, we could not use 70% of the world's food producing land.

The world cannot reject ruminant production, and in fact investments to make it resilient to drought and other climate shocks are not only important to safeguard rangelands and savannah, but are in fact an important piece in the climate puzzle, as building organic matter in the soils of that 70% of productive lands represents one of the largest carbon sinks we have available to us to try and reduce atmospheric carbon. Building soil organic matter is always good, whatever your view on climate change, as it increases water retention capacity of soils and makes them more resilient.

Our board meeting will be taking place on April 22nd–24th, and there will also be a meeting of the CBI facilitated project to align the working relationship between GRSB and regional roundtables. The meeting is expected to be held in Texas, likely San Antonio. When we have full details of the venue and agenda we will update you further.


Ruaraidh Petre
Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef
Executive Director

Sustainability News

The Political Battle Over Red Meat

Dateline: 02/03/15, Source: By Clare Foran, National Journal

There's a real food fight happening in Washington. Green groups want the government to tell Americans that eating less meat benefits the earth. And environmentalists are lobbying to add what amounts to a climate–change warning to federal dietary guidelines. But while a multiagency advisory panel has given activists reason for optimism, Congress has cast doubt on the idea, and food industry lobbyists are pressing their case on and off Capitol Hill.

The Correct Place for Beef in the Climate Change Debate Is Essential

Dateline: 02/01/15, Source: AgriLand

Essentially, Washington is ready to say that unlimited beef production is environmentally unsustainable because cattle are hungry for increasingly scarce land and water resources that could be used to produce other types of food. Beef related interests, trans–globally, and in Ireland itself, have regularly put forward strong counter arguments which support the view the American response is over–zealous.

Genomics And Its Role in Efficient, Sustainable Beef

Dateline: 02/05/15, Source: The Cattle Site

One way to make the beef sector more efficient is through cross–breeding, a leading genomics expert told a US conference today.Dr Matt Spangler, University of Nebraska, said that the benefits of heterosis have not gone away. Using good decisions in genomic selection have resulted in "huge leaps" in feed efficiency and heat stress, as well as 35 per cent of iron content variability in beef, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association conference heard in San Antonio.

Government to Invest $3 Million in Sustainable Agriculture Program

Dateline: 02/05/15, Source: The Cattle Site

The government plans to invest more than $3 million into research and development on sustainable beef production. Brandon–Souris MP Larry Maguire and Manitoba Agriculture Minister Ron Kostyshyn made the funding announcement Thursday afternoon. "Our government supports a strong and vibrant Canadian beef sector and will continue to work hard to improve the industry's competitiveness and sustainability by creating more opportunities for growth and prosperity for our producers," said Maguire, in a statement.

3 Key Trends to Watch in Green Business

Dateline: 02/03/15, Source: By Anastasia Pantsios, Ecowatch

"The world of sustainable business remains vibrant, innovative and maturing, as companies take on new and bigger challenges," said Joel Makow, GreenBiz group chairman. "There are continued signs of hopeful progress, such as the growing number of corporate commitments around renewable energy purchases, and the burgeoning trend of companies adopting science–based sustainability goals."

Embrapas GAP Beef Cattle Program Focuses on Sustainable On–Farm Practices

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

Embrapa's Good Agricultural Practices (GAPs) Beef Cattle program is a set of practices describing activities that should be applied on–farm, in association with measures to guarantee health, well–being and safety of workers. Watch video interview with Ezequiel Rodrigues do Valle, Director of Sustainability at Novilho Precoce – MS HERE.

Paradigm Shift Required for Sustainable Food

Dateline: 01/22/14, Source: The Cattle Site

Feeding nine billion people by the year 2050 requires a "paradigm shift" to cope with the daunting task of producing more food 

while managing resources sustainably. According to Jose Graziano da Silva, Food and Agriculture Organisation director general, farming must stop a "business as usual approach". He told the Berlin audience that using feed for fuel is neither good nor terrible, but part of a solution. "It is important not to forget that biofuel emerged with strength as an alternative energy source because of the need to mitigate fossil fuel production and greenhouse gases," he said.

Seek to Make Operations More Efficient, With Less Environmental Impact

Dateline: 02/03/15, Source: University of Arkansas

University of Arkansas professors Marty Matlock and Greg Thoma led a sustainability workshop at the 2015 International Production and Processing Expo in Atlanta, Georgia last week. Matlock presented the sustainability framework developed by the University of Arkansas sustainability research team over the past five years. The team worked with Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, the U.S. Soybean Export Council, the U.S. Dairy Research Institute, the National Pork Board and the National Institute of Animal Agriculture.

The framework emphasizes a continuous improvement strategy in which stakeholders across the supply chain set sustainability goals and work to achieve them. Strategies are developed working with stakeholders, and implemented at the farm level, and measured regularly.

Members In The News

Checkoff Enhancements Contained in MOU

Dateline: 01/29/14, Source: High Plains Journal

Members of the Beef Checkoff Enhancement Working Group, which includes National Cattlemen's Beef Association, have drafted a memorandum of understanding to record commitment of the organizations involved to pursue proposed changes in the program. Others represented on the working group include the American Farm Bureau Federation, American National CattleWomen, Livestock Marketing Association, Meat Import Council of America, National Livestock Producers Association, National Milk Producers Federation and U.S. Cattlemen's Association.

The proposal would require legislative changes in the 1985 Beef Promotion and Research Act and Order. Within a year of the legislation being signed, a referendum would be conducted on whether to increase the current checkoff by $1 per head to a total national rate of $2. The second dollar would be available for refund to checkoff payers if requested.

3 out of 4 Beef Producers Support Beef Checkoff

Dateline: 02/04/15, Source: Farm Futures

The number of beef producers who disapprove of the beef checkoff is at its lowest level ––11% –– in the history of the program, according to a random survey of 1,209 producers taken in December and January. The survey was conducted by Aspen Media & Market Research. Producers identified areas of value from the beef checkoff:
• 81% of producers say the beef checkoff has helped to contribute to a positive trend in beef demand.
• 72% of producers say the beef checkoff contributes to the profitability of their operations.
• 76% say the checkoff is there for them in a crisis.
• 76% say the checkoff represents their interests.
• 66% of producers believe the checkoff is well managed.

NCBA Urges Renewal of Trade Promotion Authority

Dateline: 01/26/14, Source: KMALand

As trade negotiators meet again this week, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association urges the renewal of Trade Promotion Authority, legislation that gives the President authority to negotiate trade agreements with an assurance that Congress will give the final agreement only an up or down vote.

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: February 2015

Bolton Alimentari SpA

Constituency: Retail

Bolton Alimentari S.p.A. is the Bolton Group's Food business. It manufactures and markets canned tuna and canned meat products with remarkable brands like Rio Mare and Simmenthal.

It started in 1951 with Manzotin and the launch of Rio Mare, which became the market leader of canned tuna in Italy within only 5 years. The acquisition of Saupiquet in 1999 further expanded Bolton's food business to become today's European leader in the canned tuna market. In 2008 Bolton Alimentari acquired Palmera and Petreet (pet food).

Thanks to the acquisition of Simmenthal in 2012, Bolton Alimentari became leader of canned meat market. Simmenthal is an iconic brand for canned meat in Italy and has been a part of Italy's food history for over 130 years with its main product: the meat in jelly.

Members in the News

K–State's 102nd Annual Cattlemen's Day planned for Mar 6

Dateline: 02/04/15, Source: By Mary Lou Peter, Drovers CattleNetwork

Bob Langert, McDonald's Corporation vice president for corporate social responsibility and sustainability will give the keynote address, "What is a Sustainable Beef Industry?" The presentation will focus on sustainability from the consumer perspective, how it influences reactions by the foodservice and retail sectors, and ultimately, how it may impact demand for beef and future beef production practices.

'15 Cattle Industry Convention: What's So Hot in San Antonio?

Dateline: 02/05/15, Source: By Gene Johnston,

The 2015 National Cattle Industry Convention kicks off this week, and they're calling it Sizzling Hot in San Antonio. National Cattlemen's Beef Association President Bob McCan says this year's convention in his home state will not disappoint. It will feature the largest cattle trade show ever, and provide a forum for debating the big cattle issues of the year in the NCBA committee meetings.

Among them are expanding the beef checkoff from $1 a head to as much as $2, and charting a course for herd expansion that will begin to replenish the nation's half–full feedlots after a decade of drought and high feed prices.

Drought Battler to Help Others

Dateline: 02/04/15, Source: Radio NZ

A Marlborough farmer who has built an advisory business around his own experience battling depression and severe droughts, is gearing up to help others.

Sheep and beef farmer Doug Avery is a well–known speaker in the agriculture community in New Zealand and Australia. He once transformed his drought–stricken farm back into a profitable business and is always ready to share his experience.

His company Resilient Farmer is partnering with BNZ and Beef and Lamb New Zealand, along with other companies, to help farmers introduce new skills and tools into their businesses. Mr Avery said the partnership was created because he wanted to do more than tell his story.

"The journeys that I did last year, what that told me, was that my message was very well–received by a heck of a lot of people and you know I hadn't really understood that that was the case. The Resilient Farmer was really the next step of that.

Global News

Grassfed 'Surgery' Decisions for Joyce

Dateline: 01/30/14, Source: By Matthew Cawood, Stock Journal

Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce announces how he plans to address the structure of the beef industry sometime over the next few weeks, it all comes down to Recommendation One. The first recommendation set down by the Senate inquiry into the handling of grassfed beef levies proposes that a new body be established to receive and disperse levy funds. Much depends on how radical a surgery Mr Joyce is prepared to consider.

Furious Cattle Farmers Slam Red Tractor Rule Changes

Dateline: 01/30/15, Source: By Sarah Alderton, Farmers Weekly

Cattle farmers have slammed proposed changes by the Red Tractor scheme to introduce a mandatory lifetime assurance measure for beef animals. Existing rules say that beef cattle need only spend 90 days before slaughter on an assured holding to qualify for the scheme. However, the proposed rule changes insist cattle must spend their whole lives on assured farms.

Farmers Cautiously Welcome NSW Drought Package

Dateline: 02/04/15, Source: AU

The NSW Farmers Association is cautiously welcoming the State Government's announcement of a drought strategy, saying it has been a long time coming. The association, Australia's largest state farming organisation, has long called for clear policy and action on both drought preparedness and drought response. The package includes low interest loans valued at $250 million to help farmers to prepare for drought, as well as stock and fodder transport assistance and money to upgrade weather forecasting.

Beef Industry Not Out of Woods: MLA

Dateline: 01/29/14, Source: By Matthew Cawood, Stock and Land

After the slaughter of 17.5 million adult cattle over the past two years, Australia's beef herd will spend at least the next two years rebalancing – providing widespread drought goes and stays gone. The nation will ship 20 per cent less beef in 2015 than it did last year, as beef cattle herds are rebuilt, and 30pc less live cattle.

Fewer cattle is already translating to much higher cattle prices, but in its 2015 Cattle Industry Projections, which produced these forecasts on Tuesday, Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) isn't betting that this in turn means a sudden recovery of cattle producer fortunes everywhere.

Despite Lower Consumption, Canadian Beef Demand Strong

Dateline: 01/26/14, Source: By Ray Baynton, Blackburn News

A recent Farm Credit Canada report suggests there's a difference between Canadian beef consumption and demand. Economist Desmond Sobool defines demand as the willingness of consumers to pay a specific price for beef, given their tastes, preferences and income.

Sobool's team has been developing a demand index, based on work that has been done at the University of Missouri. Based on their work so far, Sobool says Canadians preferences for beef a showing signs of strength.

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