All members are invited to attend the 
GRSB Board of Directors Meeting 

San Antonio, Texas
April 21 – 24, 2015


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Dear GRSB Member,

Welcome to the latest GRSB Connect! I would like to start by welcoming the latest national initiative, the US Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, which as you will read below has been launched with 43 organisations in the US. This is great news for us as it promises to take the work of GRSB to the ground level in the biggest beef producing country in the world. There are many organisations already working on sustainable beef systems in the US, and many of the members of the US roundtable are also GRSB members; that shared experience is sure to pay dividends going forward.

Another announcement that many of you will have seen a little over a week ago was McDonald's new vision for antimicrobial stewardship in livestock and poultry production (see  PDF HERE). As you may know, GRSB is currently in the process of forming a Technical Working Group (TWG) that will be charged with producing a white paper on the subject of antibiotic use in cattle production. As many of our members, and the general public at large, are showing an increased interest in this issue, we feel the formation of this TWG is both needed and timely. Our goal is to provide a balanced, scientific approach to this issue that will empower our members as they seek to make decisions regarding the use of antibiotics in cattle production.

It is important to note that the announcement from McDonald's does not preempt the work of the GRSB TWG on antibiotics in any way. As a diverse roundtable, we will, on occasion, have GRSB members that release vision statements or approaches to issues where we as a collective roundtable have yet to reach agreement. This is certainly the right and purview of individual members, however GRSB will maintain our approach to reach consensus on issues among our membership, irrespective of the actions of individual members.

Those of you who were involved in the discussions in Calgary, AB, Canada last June, and in subsequent discussions on the subject of antibiotics will recall that to date we have issued guidance on antibiotics in very general terms, in the following statement: "All antibiotics are used prudently, and antibiotics that are critically important to human health should be restricted to use for disease prevention, treatment, and control as prescribed by a veterinarian and not be used solely for the purpose of growth promotion in food–producing animals."

The white paper developed by the Technical Working Group will review the state of knowledge and regulation of antibiotics around the world to better inform GRSB and its membership on approaches to avoiding development of bacterial resistance to antibiotics, while maintaining productivity and promoting the welfare of cattle in a sustainable manner.

Finally, our next in person Board of Directors meeting and ELECTIONS are fast approaching! Please do not forget to register for our Board of Directors meeting in San Antonio, Texas in April. Details are in the banner above – it is important to register in good time as it is the week of Fiesta San Antonio, and so hotels are busy!


Ruaraidh Petre
Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef
Executive Director

Sustainability News

A Jolt of Sustainability

Dateline: 02/27/15, Source: Restaurant News

Sustainability has emerged as an important consideration for many restaurant patrons as they try to decide what to eat and where. Consumers who are concerned about sustainability might wonder if their takeout order is packaged in recycled materials, worry about whether seafood was harvested following Seafood Watch guidelines, and ask if the table they're sitting at was made from reclaimed barn wood.

People also want information about sustainability as it relates to coffee and tea. As consumers discover new regions, flavors and presentations of these beverages, they want to know more about the land on which the beans and leaves were grown, and what happens to the workers who pick them.

New Video Challenges Myth About Water Use In Beef Production

Dateline: 02/23/15, Source: Perishable News

The newest video in the Meat Mythcrusher series addresses one of the most commonly seen myths in the media: how much water it takes to produce a pound of beef. While one often cited statistic suggested it could take as much as 2,400 gallons of water, sustainability researcher Jude Capper, Ph.D., explains that the real data shows the amount is much smaller, it requires 441 gallons to make a pound of boneless beef – a fraction of what is often claimed and far less than many other popular consumer products. View 3.18–minute video HERE.

TheCattleSite Launches Beef & Dairy Sustainability Hub

Dateline: 02/24/15, Source: The CattleSite

What does sustainable beef really mean? TheCattleSite, TheBeefSite and TheDairySite aim to help you figure it out with the launch of their new Beef & Dairy Sustainability Hub.The Beef & Dairy Sustainability Hub offers the latest global news, articles, publications and videos, sharing research, industry initiatives, the latest innovations and current best farm management practices. The content is relevant to the entire value chain, from large producers to small–holders, regardless of your system type or operation.

Agricultural Scientists Argue that Systems Research Offers Solutions to Tackle Poverty, Hunger and Environmental Degradation Together

Dateline: 03/03/15, Source: PR Newswire

Scientists and researchers from over 30 nations gather today at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) for the International Conference on Integrated Systems for Sustainable Intensification in Smallholder Agriculture.

Speakers will present strategies and results that respond directly to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) outlined by the United Nations, and have a marked impact on the lives of smallholder farmers of developing countries. Considerable progress has been made towards those goals, but much is yet to be done. Despite significant economic growth in many developing countries over the past decade, over 800 million people remain under–nourished, including 160 million children.

Is Grass–Fed Beef Really Better for You, the Animal and the Planet?

Dateline: 02/23/15, Source: By Tamar Haspal, The Washington Post

Grass–fed beef is the meat of the moment. The image of cattle dotting green hillsides is an appealing counterpoint to the thought of herds corralled in crowded, grass–free feedlots. Advocates claim a trifecta of advantages: Grass–fed beef is better for you, for the animal and for the planet. Is it?

Land Management Tied to Healthy Beef

Dateline: 02/22/15, Source:By Candace Krebs, La Junta Tribune Democrat

Gabe Brown farms in North Dakota, but his production system might fit a valuable niche in Colorado, where both producers and consumers have a high level of interest in grass–fed beef but where semi–arid native range offers minimal forage.

Global News

Argentina's Beef Production Tepid Recovery Forecasted to Remain Flat in 2015

Dateline: 03/07/15, Source: Merco Press

Argentina's revival as a major force in beef has been slowed by a dent to calving rates from poor weather, besides by a reluctance by producers to maximize animal weights, in the face of export restrictions.

Indonesia Self–Sufficiency Push Will Drive Up Beef Prices –Industry

Dateline: 03/04/15, Source: Reuters

Plans by Indonesia's new president to make the nation self–sufficient in foods such as beef are showing signs of backfiring, with a major industry group warning prices for the meat could soar 50 percent in the next few months.

Climbing meat prices as the government clamps down on imports could exacerbate a rise in inflation that would likely come if oil prices make a strong recovery from their recent lows, hitting efforts to boost Southeast Asia's largest economy.

Texas Beef Industry Calls New Dietary Guidelines "Flawed"

Dateline: 03/05/15, Source: KBTX TV

New diet guidelines from the federal government say we should be eating less meat, and as you might expect, that's not sitting well with the beef industry here in Texas. Every five years, the USDA releases new nutrition guidelines, outlining what they think we should be eating and what we shouldn't.

The newest recommendations were just released and a big part of it suggests we cut back on red meat.

Is the Beef Industry Handling the Proposed Dietary Guidelines the Wrong Way

Dateline: 03/03/15, Source: By Amanda Radke, BEEF Daily

Is the beef industry responding to the proposed dietary guidelines in a negative way? What is the best approach for promoting beef while also creating effective change to the proposed recommendations?

Feed vs. Food: Are Cattle Really Taking Food Out of Our Mouths?

Dateline: 03/02/15, Source: Dr. Jude L. Capper, Drovers CattleNetwork

In 40 years, the global population is predicted to contain more than 9 billion people, and demand for food, fuel and fiber will increase by 60 percent. Out of those 9 billion people, 8 billion will live in the developing world, where inhabitants of regions such as China and India will have household incomes similar to those in the developed world, and will demand more milk, meat and eggs.2 The cattle industry therefore faces a considerable challenge in producing sufficient beef to fulfill global demand; yet two common claims leveled at the industry are that: 1) corn fed to cattle could feed humans instead; and 2) the quantity of land used for grazing would be far more effectively used to produce grains or vegetables for human consumption. However, there are a number of bigger issues to consider.

Understanding Welfare Food Labels

Dateline: 02/27/15, Source: By Heidi Carroll, PORKNetwork

Food labels that emphasize how animals are treated and cared for on the farm or ranch are becoming more widely recognized in grocery stores across the United States.

This can be seen by the results of the 2014 Humane HeartlandTM Farm Animal Welfare Survey completed by the American Humane Association. The majority of respondents (69%) ranked the Humanely Raised label above Antibiotic Free, Natural, and Organic labels in terms of importance. Additionally, 35% of respondents already buy humanely raised products and another 35% said that the lack of product availability was the biggest factor keeping them from buying humanely raised products. Only 19% of respondents said humanely raised products were too expensive, 9% didn't know the difference, and only 1% were not concerned with labeling.

World's Forests at the Mercy of Commodity Supply Chains

Dateline: 02/10/15, Source: Environment News Service

Only a small minority of the power brokers controlling the global commodity supply chains that drive the world's tropical deforestation are able to meet demand without destroying forests, finds the first ranking of these powerful players.

"Over the last decade, commodity production driven by global demand for food, feed and fuel products has been responsible for over 50 percent of deforestation and 60 percent of forest degradation in tropical and sutropical regions," according to Global Canopy Programme, the UK charity that issued the ranking. Now, a movement is afoot to cut tropical deforestation in half by 2020 and end it by 2030.

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: March 2015

GPS Food Group

Constituency: Commerce & Processing

GPS Food Group markets in excess of 100,000 tons of meat products annually throughout the world, including beef, lamb, pork, poultry and meat protein ingredients. GPS provides technical management service consultancy for abattoirs, production and optimization of offal and processing as well as cobranding and marketing of products. The company manages the production planning, marketing and commercial redevelopment of the Meatco Namibia and the Botswana Meat Commission. GPS is now working on a local solution to provide safe affordable protein in urban and peri–urban areas of South Africa.

Members in the News

McDonald's Sustainable Beef Pilot Moves into High Gear

Dateline: 03/02/15, Source: Alberta Farmer

McDonald's has put its foot on the gas, and is revving up its verified sustainable beef pilot. The largest buyer of Canadian beef has developed a set of 40 'indicators' to assess sustainability; created a scoring system to grade ranches, feedlots and others in the beef value chain; and chosen an American verification company to oversee the process.

So, What About the Topsoil?

Dateline: 03/03/15, Source: By Karen J. Inwald, Huffington Post Green

Well, Time magazine in 2012 called attention to the crisis of topsoil. It is estimated that we have 60 years of topsoil left. Forty percent of the soil used for agriculture is classed as either degraded or seriously degraded. Allan Savory of the Savory Institute in his TED talk in 2013, which has received 2,798,634 views (certainly viral), demonstrates that two thirds of arable land on our planet is undergoing desertification. Conventional wisdom assumes that over grazing of livestock is responsible for such desertification. Conventional wisdom also once asserted that the world was flat. Mr. Savory brilliantly states that "conventional wisdom was wrong then, and it is wrong now."

New Approaches Needed in Tackling the Debate Over Feeding a Hungry World

Dateline: 02/25/15, Source: By Jon Condon, SHEEP Central

The head of one of the world's largest animal health companies has a simple message for Australian livestock industries: abandon political correctness in the debate over the importance of technology in helping meet growing demand for safe, nutritious and affordable food. Jeff Simmons is global president of Elanco Animal health, which produces a catalogue of productivity enhancement products across the beef, pork, chicken and sheepmeat sectors. Elanco records annual sales of more than $2 billion in 75 countries.

'Global Beef Production Needs to Rise by 43% to Feed Growing Population'

Dateline: 02/25/15, Source: By Margaret Donnelly, AgriLand

Global beef production must rise by 43% to meet the growing demand from consumers, according to Elanco, the animal health company. It says that without innovation, beef production worldwide could see the need for 170m more cattle to meet the demand by 2050.

"With innovation we will have enough beef by 2050. All with 682m fewer cattle than otherwise needed, 6.2 billons tons less forage, 655B gallons less water." It says that continued innovation will mean we can raise fewer than 1.7 billion cattle by 2050 yet raise 43% more beef.

Is 'Sustainable Beef' an Oxymoron?

Dateline: 03/11/15, Source: By Lorraine Chow, EcoWatch

In the face sagging beef sales, a slew of U.S. beef industry stakeholders have formed the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (USRSB) to figure out how to source beef that's, well, more "sustainable."

And although the USRSB's intentions might be good, Americans can't have their steak and eat it, too. That's because the vast amount of resources it takes to produce enough beef for the country on a commercial scale will never be truly be sustainable.

McDonald's, Tyson Foods, Walmart Advance Beef Supply Chain Sustainability

Dateline: 03/04/15, Source: Environmental Leader

Cargill, McDonald's, Tyson Foods and Walmart are among the founding members of the US Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, launched yesterday.

The USRSB — a group of US beef value chain participants including producers, processors, retailers, foodservice operators, packers, allied industry and non–governmental organizations — will identify sustainability indicators, establish verification methodologies, and generate field project data to test and confirm sustainability concepts for use throughout the US.

Using the definition for sustainable beef recently released by the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, the USRSB says it will develop sustainability indicators relevant to the various beef systems in the US, as well as a means to verify sustainable progress in a transparent manner that can be shared. Like the GRSB, the USRSB will not mandate standards or verify the performance of individual beef value chain participants.

Multi–Stakeholder U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef Launched

Dateline: 03/05/15, Source: Feedstuffs

U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef's (USRSB) mission is to advance, support and communicate continuous improvement in U.S. beef sustainability through leadership, innovation, multi–stakeholder engagement and collaboration. Utilizing the definition for sustainable beef recently released by the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB), the USRSB will develop sustainability indicators relevant to the various beef systems in the United States, as well as a means to verify sustainable progress in a transparent manner that can be shared. Similar to GRSB, the USRSB will not mandate standards or verify the performance of individual beef value chain participants.

Currently, the USRSB has 43 founding members, including National Cattlemen's Beef Association; National Livestock Producers Association; Cargill Meat Solutions Corporation; Certified Angus Beef; Costco Wholesale Corporation; Dow AgroSciences LLC; Elanco Animal Health; Holistic Management International; JBS USA; Lopez Foods; McDonald's Corporation; Merck Animal Health; The Nature Conservancy; Tyson Foods, Inc.; Walmart; World Wildlife Fund; and Zoetis.

McDonald's to Curtail Antibiotic Use

Dateline: 03/04/15, Source: By John Maday, Bovine Veterinarian

McDonald's this week announced a plan to source poultry raised without antibiotics important to human medicine. At the same time, the company also introduced its Global Vision for Antimicrobial Stewardship in Food Animals, which implies McDonald's will, over time, extend similar policies to its beef, dairy and pork supply chains. In a news release, McDonald's states that its chicken producers will retain the option of using ionophores, a class of antimicrobials not used in human medicine.

'We Intend to Grow at a Much Faster Tate Than the Market,' Cargill Sees Scope for Growth in African Poultry and Dairy Sectors

Dateline: 02/27/15, Source: By Jane Byrne, Feed Navigator

Cargill Animal Nutrition hopes to leverage the ever increasing demand for animal protein products in African markets as its new US$12.5 million South African feed premix facility, targeting the swine, poultry and ruminant sectors, goes operational.

Walmart Launches Sustainable Products Shop

Dateline: 02/25/15, Source: Environmental Leader

Walmart yesterday launched its Sustainability Leaders shop, an online shopping portal that helps customers identify and purchase products that are produced in an environmentally and socially responsible way. The Sustainability Leaders shop is the customer–facing iteration of Walmart's Sustainability Index, launched in 2009 in collaboration with The Sustainability Consortium (TSC).

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