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

Deadline for Special GRSB Room Rate Is April 3rd!!

San Antonio, Texas
April 21 – 24, 2015


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Dear GRSB Member,

I was in Namibia last week to visit a project jointly funded by GRSB members Solidaridad and GPS, and allied to GRSB and our Principles and Criteria. The project takes place in the Northern Communal Areas of the country where cattle production is a far cry from what many of us are used to. The region receives between 0 to 500mm (0"–19.5") of rain per year, but has an evaporation potential far exceeding that.

There have been three drought years and the rain has been erratic and insufficient again this year. Land tenure is communal and there are around 1.5 million cattle in the region. Off–take is minimal (<5%) per year, and droughts and predation contribute to significant mortality. This sounds like a hopeless story, and yet it is a very positive one.

MeatCo (with their partners) are supporting the development of infrastructure to enable producers to market cattle in time when fodder is scarce; they also buy weaners and supply inputs to the owners to grow them on to ease cashflow and encourage a market oriented approach. Most important of all they are working with the communities and the herders to plan and manage the grazing so that the twin problems of overgrazing and bush encroachment can be combatted together.

It is still early days, but if some of the calves we saw in the midst of the drought are anything to go by, there is pride and knowledge in these communities that will enable them to turn the corner to a more sustainable and profitable future with their cattle.

Now I am in Brazil discussing GRSB's own future with GTPS as part of the Global to Local project, which you will hear more about in San Antonio.

Please don't forget to register for the Board meeting — this is the last chance!


Ruaraidh Petre

Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef
Executive Director

Sustainability News

Agriculture Must Adopt Better Water Management to Ensure Sustainable Food Supplies

Dateline: 03/24/15, Source: The Pig Site

As people around the world celebrated World Water Day 2015 on Sunday 22 March, the United Nations released a new report predicting major water shortages of 40 per cent across the globe in line with a 55 per cent increase in demand by 2050. The unsustainable use of water globally has already led to 20 per cent of the world's aquifers being currently over–exploited and inappropriate agricultural practices, among other things, has been found to underminine the environment's capacity to provide clean water.

Kepak to Supply Beef to European—Wide Sustainability Project

Dateline: 03/18/15, Source: By Margaret Donnelly, AgriLand

Bord Bia in collaboration with Kepak, will develop an Irish beef project that will be rolled out across five European markets through Autogrill.

The campaign will see Bord Bia will support Autogrill with a communications campaign including key messaging on grass–fed production and sustainability produced beef. In the course of the project, certified Angus premium burgers will be supplied across five markets including: Benelux, France, Spain and Italy.

Commodity Roundtables: Green Gatekeepers Or Dirty Doormen?

Dateline: 03/25/15, Source: By Anne Thiel, Ecosystem Marketplace

King Arthur is supposed to have invented it, and he and his Knights are believed to have congregated around it: the table that has no head so that everybody at the table has equal status – the Roundtable.

Fast–forward to the 21st century, and Roundtables are springing up like mushrooms – particularly in the world of sustainability, where we have the Roundtable for Responsible Palm Oil (RSPO), the Roundtable for Responsible Soy, the Global Roundtable on Sustainable Beef (GRSB), the Better Sugar Cane Initiative (Bonsucro), the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels, and the Better Cotton Initiative – to name just a few. They've been in existence for nearly a decade, and are designed to forge consensus on how to more sustainably harvest some of the planet's most environmentally destructive but economically lucrative crops.

'Asia's Milk demand will Increase to 320 mn Tonnes in 6 Yrs'

Dateline: 03/24/15, Source: Business Standard

To meet its growing demand for milk, Asia needs to increase production to 320 million tonnes by 2021, according to sector experts. Experts from UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) have called for increasing milk availability by 50 million tonnes (MT) by the end of this decade.

In a meeting at Anand, the milk capital of India, about 35 kms from here, yesterday, they discussed and vowed to adopt a strategic framework for sustainable dairy development in Asia. "It would boost livelihoods of small–holders and lower levels of under–nutrition," according to an official statement.

MLA Sets Sustainable Red Meat Production Targets

Dateline: 03/24/15, Source: AU

When you pick up a steak from the butcher or supermarket, do you stop and think about how that meat was produced? How the animals were raised, what they were fed? Some consumers are not too fussed with the back story, others prefer to know.

The country's chief red meat marketing body Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) is taking notice. In March 2012, MLA launched Target 100. Its approach was twofold; set industry a target to produce sustainable cattle and sheep farms by 2020 and educate consumers about Australia's red meat industry.

Report Finds Improvement in Beef Industry Environmental Performance

Dateline: 03/25/15, Source: AU

A report which looks at the environmental impacts of producing beef, has found the industry made gains in reducing greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption and land use in the 30 years to 2010. The study, funded by Meat and Livestock Australia, used data on cattle numbers, slaughter rates and water use to track the industry's performance from 1981 to 2010.

It found greenhouse gas intensity – the amount of carbon dioxide produced per kilogram of live weight beef – had reduced 14 per cent over the 30 year period from 15.3 carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2–e) kilograms per one kilogram of live weight beef, to 13.1 CO2–e kilograms.

Global News

At Asia's Largest Abattoir, Butchers Fear Livelihood Loss as Beef Ban Sets In

Dateline: 03/23/15, Source: Anajali Lukose, The Indian Express

At 64 acres, the Deonar abattoir in Mumbai's central suburbs is one of Asia's largest slaughterhouses. These days though, the wooden slabs on which till recently were culled bulls, bullocks and buffaloes are used as sleeping spaces by the its daily labourers. Some distance away, another group of butchers is playing cards, while a third group discusses their strained finances in the absence of daily earnings of Rs 300.

The cattle yard has had no work since March 5. On March 2, President Pranab Mukherjee's assent to a 19–year–old Maharashtra Bill banned the slaughter of bulls and bullocks in the state, in addition to the cow slaughter ban in place since 1976. On March 4, dealers in Deonar stopped buying and slaughtering any large animals, including water buffaloes on which there is no ban, as a sign of protest.

Meat of the Matter: How Beef Ban Affects Leather, Exports and Chemical Industry

Dateline: 03/22/15, Source: Poulomi Banerjee, Hindustan Times

The once–popular New Martin Hotel in Mumbai's Colaba wears a dismal look these days. The footfall has not been the same since the Maharashtra government banned beef earlier this month. "Beef steak, beef chilly fry masala and beef chilly dry were some of our most popular dishes, but we had to take them off the menu post the ban. There has been at least a 50% drop in footfall since," says a waiter at the restaurant.

Live Export Ban Prompts Development of an International Animal Welfare Training Program

Dateline: 03/22/15, Source: AU

The 2011 ban on live cattle exports to Indonesia has prompted some of Australia's agricultural colleges and universities to develop an animal welfare training program. Queensland's Agricultural Training Colleges and the University of New England are currently recruiting Indonesian students, veterinarians, farmers and others with interest in the beef industry to study animal welfare in Australia.

New App Tracks Beef from Paddock to Plate

Dateline: 03/17/15, Source: By Helen Spelitis, Gladstone Observer

Do you want to know where your steak came from and what that animal ate before it hit your plate? Calliope cattle farmer Will Wilson says his industry is facing increasing pressure from consumers to supply detailed information about their beef. With no official system capable of digitally reporting or tracking that data, Mr Wilson created an app called iHerd.

Meat Industry Urged to Bite Bullet on Rationalisation, Rewards Worth 'Billions'

Dateline: 03/16/15, Source: By Jonathan Underhill, NBR

New Zealand's meat companies has been urged to bite the bullet and carry out long–mooted industry rationalisation, which could deliver "billions of dollars" in benefits, a new report says. The "Red Meat Industry – Pathways to Long–Term Sustainability" report commissioned by Meat Industry Excellence, a farmer–led group campaigning for industry reform, says that over–capacity in the industry "is costing farmers and processors a great deal, and distorting market behaviour to the detriment of export value."

The Secret to a Carbon–Friendly Diet May Surprise You

Dateline: 03/26/15, Source: By Nicolette Hahn Niman, Ecowatch

I won't keep you in suspense. The key to carbon–friendly diets lies just beneath your feet: the soil. We are so used to looking skyward when thinking about climate, this is a bit counter–intuitive.

Carbon in soils represents both a problem and an opportunity. On the one hand, soil's degradation is truly alarming. According to the book Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations, at the current erosion rate the earth "would literally run out of topsoil in little more than a century." And soil is the source of one–tenth of the earth's human–caused carbon losses since 1850. On the other hand, this creates a ripe opportunity. Unlike carbon from burned fossil fuels, carbon losses from soils can be reversed.

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Members in the News

'Safety Culture' on Farms Preferred by Farmers

Dateline: 03/16/15, Source: By Sally Rae, Otago Daily Times

Creating a compliance culture is not the answer to reducing the number of farm accidents, Beef and Lamb New Zealand chairman James Parsons says. In his address to Beef and Lamb New Zealan's annual meeting, held at LincolnFirst–Telford near Balclutha last week, Mr Parsons said the best people to assess risks and mitigate them were the farmers who managed them every day.

Case for Restructuring 'Compelling' – Meat Industry

Dateline: 03/30/15, Source: Radio New Zealand

The farmer led Meat Industry Excellence group says the report it released last night provides a compelling argument for restructuring the sector. The report, backed by Beef and Lamb New Zealand funding, analysed what needed to be done to lift the performance and profitability of the industry. It also looked at the savings from making a fresh attempt to merge the two farmer owned co–ops. It said over capacity was the number one issue confronting the industry.

Profit Revisions for Meat Farmers

Dateline: 03/20/15, Source: Radio New Zealand

The South Island drought and record beef prices have caused Beef and Lamb New Zealand to revise its profit outlook for sheep and cattle farmers. At the start of the season six months ago, it was predicting an average pre–tax profit of about 110–thousand dollars for sheep and beef farmers. In its mid season update, it is now forecasting a sizeable gap between the North and South Islands.

Some Still Skeptical of Beef Checkoff Changes

Dateline: 3/18/15, Source: Farm and Dairy

After nearly three years of talks, seven members of the Beef Checkoff Enhancement Working Group signed a memorandum of understanding March 13 detailing enhancements to the national beef checkoff.

The memorandum of understanding was signed by the American Farm Bureau Federation, American National CattleWomen, Livestock Marketing Association, Meat Import Council of America, the National Cattlemen's Beef Association, the National Livestock Producers Association, and the National Milk Producers Association.

CCA an Inaugural Member of the US Roundtable for Sustainable Beef

Dateline: 03/23/15, Source: High Plains Journal

The Colorado Cattlemen's Association has chosen to join the ranks of 43 other industry leaders throughout the beef value chain to advance, support and communicate continuous improvement in sustainability of that U.S. beef value chain.

The European Commission Authorises the Marketing of Prevtec Microbia's Coliprotec(R) F4

Dateline: 03/24/15, Source: Marketwired

Prevtec Microbia Inc. announces that its German subsidiary, Prevtec Microbia GmbH, received marketing authorisation for its vaccine, Coliprotec® F4, in the European Union, an important market for the Canadian company. Coliprotec® F4 will be distributed in the European Union by Elanco Animal Health (Elanco), a major player in the animal health industry doing business in more than 75 countries.

Dawn Meats Wins Sustainability Award from McDonalds

Dateline: 03/18/15, Source: Farmers Journal

Dawn Meats won the award for its work on improving sustainability at the bi–annual McDonald's Europe Supply Chain Symposium in Lisbon, Portugal. Niall Browne, CEO Dawn Meats, said the company has worked hard to on sustainable beef production.

McDonald's Executive: Wrong People Defining 'Sustainability'

Dateline: 03/20/15, Source: Muscatine Journal

Sustainability is a word that food producers need to be familiar with, because it's a word that isn't going away. "I believe sustainability is growing our business and your business," said Bob Langert, recently retired vice president for corporate social responsibility and sustainability for McDonald's.

"We cannot short–change economics. We at McDonald's see it driven by consumers. It's the biggest trend over the last seven years than anything."

Sustainable Agriculture Initiative Platform

Dateline: 03/25/15, Source: Fairview Post

Individuals from the Alberta Wheat Commission attended a Sustainable Agriculture Initiative (SAI) Platform in Toronto. The SAI Platform is the main food and beverage industry initiative supporting the development of sustainable agriculture initiatives around the world.

Relevant members of the initiative include Anheuser–Busch, Heineken, Kellogg's, General Mills, Unilever and McDonalds among many others.

Cargill Friona, Texas, Beef Plant Named 2015 State Water Conservation Winner

Dateline: 03/16/15, Source: PR News Wire

Texas Water Foundation, a non–profit educational organization dedicated to optimizing water use throughout the state, will convey its annual Blue Legacy Award for manufacturing companies to Cargill's Friona, Texas, beef processing facility at a state capitol ceremony in Austin on March 26. Cargill's Friona plant is the only manufacturing facility receiving a 2015 award for water conservation at the "Texas Water Day at the Capitol" event. The company was nominated for the award by the High Plains Water District based in Lubbock.

Can Walmart Save The Planet?

Dateline: 03/19/15, Source: By James Conca, Forbes

Yes…with a little help from our friends. There is no fundamental reason why capitalism has to trash the planet. Not if you "value" human health and the environment in some balanced way along with profits. Enter the Environmental Defense Fund. EDF has launched new energy and environmental initiatives to help large corporations address the growing global environmental and energy challenges we're facing as the human population grows to 10 billion.

Tips for Building Better Colostrum

Dateline: 03/23/15, Source: By Dr. Liz Adams, Dairy Technical Service Veterinarian, Merck Animal Health, AgWeb

The responsibility of care of a newborn calf begins as soon as it is born. Feeding clean, high–quality colostrum to newborn calves is important to ensure their health and future as a productive animal. Heifer calves are the future of a dairy operation, and fed bull calves will be a significant contribution to the beef market. When formulating a colostrum protocol for your dairy, it is important to include newborn bull and heifer calves.

Herding Cattle? There's an App for That

Dateline: By Denise Roland, Source: Telegraph UK

Zoetis, the animal health giant that was spun out of Pfizer two years ago, has set up an "centre for digital innovation" in London's Tech City to develop mobile applications for farmers and pet owners.

Zoetis last year launched an app called PetDialog, which collects information about animals using collar monitors and by surveying their owners. The app is designed to track the physical and mental health of pets and alert users if there is any cause for concern. Zoetis hopes that different versions of the app could also be used to monitor the health of livestock, by, for example, alerting the farmer if one of his cattle is lame.

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