Dear GRSB Member,

Welcome to the latest Connect.

I start with an article by Jeff Nelson (edited by me, see THIS LINK for the full piece).

Much has been made about the differences between ranchers and wildlife conservationists. Yet there's plenty of common ground. When it comes to our shared values, we all care about the land. Some people value grasslands because of the diverse wildlife; others manage the land to provide for livestock. When grazers are managed well, native grasslands are sustained and offer both.

Grasslands evolved to support and be maintained by grazers, among countless other species. The great plains have seen dramatic change, with bison replaced by domestic livestock and many grasslands falling to the plow as cropland expanded, yet where grass remains, wildlife abounds. Native range, sagebrush and planted pastures grow side by side on well–managed ranches, providing a diverse system of plant life that is the basis for livestock production, as well as an abundance of birds, mammals and other wildlife that indicate the land is healthy. It is ranchers who maintain the diversity on this land.

Most ranchers have an appetite for experimentation and innovation, and a willingness to part with tradition if it means better environmental and economic outcomes, uncovering options that yield the best and most sustainable results. Just as some consumers look to probiotics to keep their digestive systems in better working condition, an understanding of biology (e.g., insects, bacteria and fungi) is used by many ranchers to promote healthy and resilient soil. And while it's obvious that good soil keeps the grass growing, it also stores water, nutrients and carbon more effectively, which reduces runoff, filters water, and mitigates the impact of drought and climate change.

Many ranchers know that planning for people, planet, animals and profit is the key to success. An environmentally sound ranch that loses money and a profitable ranch that ignores stewardship of its natural resources are equally unlikely to enjoy long–term success.

Of course, global beef production has impacts in various ways in different places. That is why the World Wildlife Fund works with ranchers and other constituents in the beef industry via initiatives such as the Global and the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef. As long as we continue to communicate in such groups — recognizing our shared values and respecting our differences — we can achieve great things for the land and the diverse wildlife and livelihoods it supports.

Nelson is deputy director of World Wildlife Fund's Northern Great Plains program.


Ruaraidh Petre
Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef
Executive Director

Sustainability News

Is Grass Green? Considering Sustainable Beef

Dateline: 07/06/15, Source: The Cattle Site

Pork and protein sectors far out–strip beef in terms of feed efficiency but the caveat is that these proteins use resources that could have gone into human food.This is the point many cattle advocates make when questioned about the viability of beef production long term – it manages land often not fit for arable production. And this is what UK land management and heritage organisation The National Trust said back in 2013 when it said grass–fed beef is best both for the environment and consumers.

Titans or Titanics? Understanding the Business Response to Climate Change and Resource Scarcity

Dateline: 03/06/15, Source: Carbon Trust

This report seeks to understand and explain how large businesses are responding to climate change and resource scarcity today. Are the unsinkable ships of the business world running full steam ahead into dangerous waters? Download the report (PDF) HERE.

Discover the Real Beef About Meat

Dateline: 06/29/15, Source: University of Bristol

With the average cow producing 1000 times more methane than a human, meat production plays a big role in greenhouse gas emissions. But in a world where there's a growing appetite for meat, how can our food system keep everyone happy while reducing its environmental impact?

Global News

Food for thought: Use More Forages in Livestock Farming

Dateline: 06/29/15, Source:

Small–scale livestock farming in the tropics can become more intensive yet sustainable if more and better forage is used to feed the animals being reared. This could benefit farming endeavours in rural South Asia, sub–Saharan Africa, Central America and the Caribbean, and see a move away from the increased reliance on grain–based feeds, say scientists at CIAT (International Center for Tropical Agriculture) and Thomas Rudel of Rutgers University in the US, in Springer's journal Ambio.

Some Rays of Hope at Sustainable Foods Institute

Dateline: 06/22/15, Source: By Paul Franson, Napa Valley Register

You could expect the worst at the Sustainable Foods Institute, the media–oriented counterpart to the Monterey Bay Aquarium's consumer Cooking for Solutions program: drought, climate change, pollution, endangered species, antibiotic–resistance caused by overuse of these miracle drugs. That's why it was a nice surprise to hear some good news:

— Groundfish of the West Coast, which were endangered only a few years ago, have recovered so much that the fish are now a preferred choice to eat.

— Major food companies are prohibiting routine antibiotics for animals.

— Many wine regions are adopting sustainable practices.

— New programs are reducing wasted food.

— Venture capitalists and corporations are investing in technology to improve farming.

— Higher minimum wages are helping agricultural and food service workers.

But there's still much more to be done.


Our Members

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

Members in the News

Greeley Meatpacker JBS Eyes Bigger Role in Consumer Beef Markets

Dateline: 06/24/15, Source: By Emelie Rusch, The Denver Post

JBS USA is one of the largest beef processors in the nation, but you wouldn't know it from looking at the Styrofoam trays in the grocery store.

Most of the company's sales are business–to–business, meaning grocers and restaurants brand the product, not JBS, said Bill Rupp, president and chief operating officer of JBS USA Beef, the unit responsible for all beef production. That, however, could change, leaders of the Greeley–based company said Tuesday during an unprecedented media tour of its corporate headquarters, its Greeley beef–processing plant and its Kuner Feedlot, near Kersey.

The future of the beef industry, Rupp said, will include more and more portioning of cuts at its primary packing facilities, creating a "huge" opportunity for JBS to make a name for itself among consumers.

Delhaize Group (DEG), Royal Ahold Enter Merger Agreement

Dateline: 06/24/15, Source: Street Insider

Leading international food retailers Delhaize Group (NYSE: DEG) and Royal Ahold N.V. (Ahold) today announced that they have entered into an agreement to merge. The combined company, which will be named Ahold Delhaize, will have a portfolio of strong, trusted local brands with more than 375,000 associates serving more than 50 million customers every week in the United States and Europe.

The company will have enhanced scale across regions, market–leading retail offerings to serve customers' changing needs, and a strong financial profile from which to fund innovation and investments in future growth. Ahold Delhaize will capitalize on the strong heritage and values of both companies, as well as complementary cultures, neighboring geographies, and the impact of combining successful sustainability programs.

McDonald's 'Sustainable Beef' Pilot Project Ramps Up

Dateline: 06/22/15, Source: By Alexis Kienlen, Alberta Farmer Express

It's full speed ahead for McDonald's "verified sustainable beef" project. The country's largest buyer of beef is finishing up the first phase of its groundbreaking pilot project in Canada, and earlier this month the head of the global fast–food giant paid a visit to Alberta to get a first–hand look.

Recently appointed CEO Steve Easterbrook visited CL Ranches just west of Calgary and Southern Cross Livestock near Crossfield.

"Being as he's brand spanking new to the job, the sustainability team, which is headquartered in Chicago, really wanted to give him the opportunity to see first hand what they're up to here in Canada," said Cherie Copithorne–Barnes, CEO of CL Ranches and chair of the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef. "That was really important because he comes from more of a business side of things and really had no exposure whatsoever to what they're doing with the sustainable pilot project."

Food Security in a Transparent World

Dateline: 06/26/15, Source: The Sheep Site

Delegates at a recent conference on how to achieve worldwide food security heard about sustainability initiatives from global fast–food company McDonald's and a meat company sourcing its beef from a particularly environmentally sensitive area, reports Jackie Linden for 5m Publishing. The AgriVision 2015 conference, held recently at Noordwijk aan Zee in the Netherlands and organised by Nutreco, offered some interesting insights into successful sustainability initiatives by some of the world's leading food companies.

150 Groups Pledge Action on Antimicrobials

Dateline: 06/30/15, Source: By Greg Clm, AVMA

Leaders of 150 organizations have committed to changes or actions to prevent harm from antimicrobial–resistant pathogens.

The commitments, delivered in connection with June's White House Forum on Antibiotic Stewardship, are from companies involved in delivery of clinical medicine, pharmaceutical manufacturing, agriculture, and retail; organizations representing human and veterinary medicine, including the AVMA; nonprofit advocacy organizations; and associations representing agriculture and meat industries.

"Private sector participation is essential to our Nation's success in preventing, detecting, and responding to antibiotic–resistant bacterial infections and in preserving the efficacy of our existing antibiotics while enhancing the innovation and development of new antibiotics, therapeutics, diagnostics, and vaccines," a White House announcement states.

News We Can Use

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