Dear GRSB Member,

Welcome to the latest Connect. From now on I will target the articles even more specifically and give a brief introduction as to why I am including each in connect, which may help you identify the news you are most interested in more quickly. As ever, the most relevant stories are those that come from our own members, so please keep sending them!

Many of you will have been involved in the Global to Local initiative, facilitated by CBI, which built on the work of our definition committee and further lays out our members views on how best to collaborate with national roundtables and other initiatives. Please see the final draft of the report HERE – feel free to share any comments with me, which I will feed back to CBI in order to finalise the report.

GTPS in Brazil recently held elections for their new President and other officers: with great pleasure we congratulate Fernando Sampaio of ABIEC on his election as President of GTPS. With his long involvement in the beef industry and his passion for showing the Brazilian beef sector's successes, I know that he will be a great asset to GTPS. Francisco Beduschi Neto (ICV) is the new vice president and Ruy Fachini Filho (FAMASUL) is treasurer. Parabens!

For those of you who were on our Board of Directors call last week, you will be aware that Forrest Roberts is stepping down from his role as CEO of NCBA. During the call it was clear that there was unanimous support for him to continue as President of GRSB until the planned elections in October, at which time there will be an opportunity for review and discussion.

The Registration Page for our General Assembly Meeting in Amsterdam is live – please register early to assist us in planning for the numbers attending.


Ruaraidh Petre
Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef
Executive Director

Sustainability News

Here is an article that emphasises the reasons why we need to produce more with less; hunger is not just a problem projected into the future, it is reality today for hundreds of millions of people, which is why we need sustainable intensification in all areas of agriculture:

Dispatch from #FFD3: Investing in Rural People for Inclusive and Sustainable Transformation

Dateline: 07/14/15, Source: Brookings

The State of Food Insecurity 2015 report shows that undernourishment in the developing world is falling by about one percentage point every three years. At this rate, in 2030 the world will still have 720 million undernourished people, or 7.9 percent of its population. This is business as usual. If we want to end hunger, we must bend this curve and scale up our interventions to achieve faster progress. …The third transformation is the integration of resilience and sustainable intensification into agricultural practices.

It's useful to know quantify community perceptions about the beef industry, certainly when it comes to balancing sometime conflicting interests (e.g. Efficiency with social or welfare concerns), and maintaining the "social license" to operate; the news is generally positive in this article from Meat and Livestock Australia:

Community Perceptions of Australian Beef Industry

Dateline: 07/23/15, Source: By Pip Band, Blue's Country Magazine

All too often in the red meat industries we hear the negative comments from those who seek to undermine the industry. Whether it is animal welfare, environment or human health there are certainly some throwing stones and working hard to convince others that eating red meat is a less ethical choice.

The good news though, and one I love to explain to producers and the wider industry, is that the Australian community has a generally positive view of the Australian beef and lamb industries. And rightly so.

Members In The News

We are always happy to receive and share our member's sustainability reports; here is Marfrig's:

Marfrig Reveals Progress on Sustainability

Dateline: 07/15/15, Source: By Chloe Ryan, Global Meat News

A pledge to end slave labour in the supply chain and increased use of biomass energy production are among the areas covered in Marfrig Global Foods' 2014 annual sustainability report.

Of interest to GRSB as one of our members is also actively looking at antibiotics in the beef value chain in addition to poultry. This links back to our principle on animal health and welfare as well as GRSB's antibiotic TWG chaired by Dan Thomson:

Tyson Among Poultry Giants Curtailing Antibiotic Use

Dateline: 07/20/15, Source: By Marty Cook, Arkansas Business

Christine Daugherty is almost irrepressibly energetic. It's a trait that serves her well in her role as vice president of sustainable food production at Tyson Foods of Springdale. Tyson announced in April its goal of eliminating the use of human–use antibiotics in its broiler chicken flocks by 2017.

Interesting research from New Zealand showing the benefits to both dairy and beef producers of using proven beef sires in the dairy herd, underlining the importance of genetic material to efficiency and profitability, and thus well tied into our principle on efficiency and innovation:

Farmers Could Make More from Bobby Calves

Dateline: 07/20/15, Source: Radio NZ

Beef and Lamb New Zealand and AgResearch have been trialing using proven beef bulls to sire dairy calves. About 70 percent of the country's beef cattle are born on a dairy farm – with calves often sold at four days old.

But those calves are mostly from sires of unknown genetic merit and are less desirable to rearers and finishers because of their unknown potential for growth and meat quality.The trial's project manager Doug Lineham said early results showed that dairy farmers could be making more money from their bobby calves with the use of beef genetics.

An article based on a talk given by Cherie Copithorne Barnes, fourth generation rancher and chair of the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (as it was not based on an interview not everything reflects Cherie's own viewpoint):

The New World of 'Sustainable Beef'

Dateline: 07/21/15, Source: By Brad Brinkworth, Canadian Cattlemen

Who's driving this bus? Amid 'grocery wars,' Jamie Oliver, 'hormone free' Walmart and a storm of related debate, this is the core question many producers and others in animal agriculture have about the new swath of expectations and 'sustainability' programs taking hold throughout the industry and the marketplace.

One person with a unique, up close perspective on what's happening at what it means, at both the ranch level and the board room level, is Cherie Copithorne–Barnes, a fourth generation rancher and CEO of CL Ranches Ltd., which grazes around 28,000 acres near Jumping Pound, Alberta, just west of Calgary. Copithorne–Barnes grapples daily with the practical realities of today's rising pressures on animal agriculture.

The inaugural general assembly meeting of the US RSB with no less than 93 founding members:

U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef Meets in Denver

Dateline: 07/20/15, Source: By John Maday, Drovers CattleNetwork

Sustainability is a hot topic across agriculture and livestock production, and often a contentious one. When it comes to simply defining sustainability, or setting standards for measuring the relative sustainability of individual production practices, disagreements abound.

That's where the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (USRSB), which held its first general assembly meeting in Denver last week, comes in. The U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (USRSB) is a multi–stakeholder initiative developed to advance, support and communicate continuous improvement in sustainability of the U.S. beef value chain.

The US Cattlemen's Beef Board's new Long Range Plan was adopted by members during their summer meeting. Interestingly this includes plans for traceability, which many would agree is an important step in terms of disease control and food safety:

New Beef Industry Long Range Plan Establishes Roadmap for 2016

Dateline: 07/20/15, Source: High Plains Journal

During the 2015 Cattle Industry Summer Conference in Denver recently, 16 beef industry leaders representing every link in the beef value chain presented a plan for meeting aggressive goals to strengthen the beef industry from 2016 to 2020. The Beef Industry Long Range Plan Task Force has been meeting since December 2014.

"While the beef industry has faced many challenges, the future holds tremendous promise for the industry," according to Don Schiefelbein, owner/operator of Schiefelbein Farms and task force co–chair. "The task force took a research–based approach to not only determine where the industry is and how we got here, but also at the trends and issues potentially impacting the beef community so that we can be most successful moving forward."

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: July 2015

Texas A&M University, Department of Animal Science

Constituency: Civil Society

The Department of Animal Science incorporates the teaching mission of Texas A&M University, the research mission of Texas AgriLife Research, and the extension education of Texas AgriLife Extension. The primary aim is to develop and deploy solutions that increase protein production to satisfy global demand in systems that are resource efficient, economically viable, socially and ethically acceptable, and resilient to shocks. The department is comprised of students and subject matter experts in nutrition, reproduction, meat science, food safety, animal breeding and genetics, and beef production systems.

Global News

A useful series of workshops on the guidance for industry by the FDA:

Stewardship of Antimicrobial Use in Livestock Focus of 12 Workshops

Dateline: 07/13/15, Source: Drovers CattleNetwork

These regional workshops are an opportunity for livestock producers, their feed suppliers and veterinarians to gain a comprehensive understanding of two Guidance for Industry (GFIs) issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regarding the use of medically– important antimicrobial drugs in food–producing animals, as well as the FDA's revised Veterinary Feed Directive (VFD) rule. The workshops are also an opportunity for other stakeholders, such as state and federal agencies, colleges of veterinary medicine and university extension personnel, to gain insights into the changes needed to meet the requirements.

I am including the article below on castration as I think it important that we recognise the balance between welfare and efficiency / profitability. This is because I was discussing exactly this issue with someone recently who feels there is an argument against castration altogether; a viewpoint that I do not share from a sustainability perspective, and would take issue with on other grounds as well:

Castration — Best Management Practices

Dateline: 07/21/15, Source: By Joann Pipkin, Drovers CattleNetwork

Make no bones about it — Gary Patton knows the value in early castration of beef calves. The former order buyer and now cow–calf producer has been on the other side of the fence.

Earlier this spring, Patton calved out 76 cows in 25 days. And at 18 to 36 hours old, calves were tagged and, if they were lucky enough to be a bull, banded at the same time. "A steer calf is worth more than a bull calf," he says, simply.

Yet, the Arkansas cattleman's philosophy goes beyond that of having more money in his pocket. "I think it's a whole lot easier on you and the calf," Patton explains.

Not all aspects of sustainability are in our grasp, spare a thought for those California producers battling with ongoing drought, and the Texans who suddenly have too much water. Resilience to variations in climate is already important and will likely become increasingly so:

Water Everywhere But California

Dateline: 07/16/15, Source: By Steve Kay, BEEF Magazine

Did you know that Californians take regular trips out of state just for a shower? In my case, it took a trip to Arkansas to see what green grass looks like. The Golden State is about to be renamed "The Dirty Brown State" — it is not only enduring the fourth year of a historic drought, but also, scientists are forecasting below–average rain and snow for years to come.

In contrast, Texas has been deluged with rain, causing a huge amount of damage and tragic loss of life. The only silver lining is that the rains will allow much of the state to fully recover from its catastrophic drought of 2010–2011.

Meanwhile, the industry faces the very real prospect of tariffs on its beef exports to Canada and possibly to Mexico, in relation to country–of–origin labeling (COOL). Canada and Mexico requested authorization from the World Trade Organization's Dispute Settlement Body to impose more than $3 billion per year in retaliatory tariffs because of COOL.

The fluctuating live export trade from Australia to Indonesia took another dive recently, with Indonesia announcing they would import only 20% of this years figures in 2016, this was however offset by news of a deal with China. The increasing demand from China and other markets in the far east underline what we know about the increasing demand for beef; the increases will essentially all come from the less developed world, while per capita consumption in industrialised countries declines:

Live Cattle Export Considered 'A Massive New Market' In Australia

Dateline: 07/22/15, Source: By Debleena Sarkar, International Business Times

The live cattle export agreement signed by Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce has opened a new chapter in the trade relations between China and Australia. The newest development in the export of breeder and slaughter cattle could fetch Australia up to AU$2 billion each year. "We've signed a live cattle deal with China today," Mr. Joyce told The Australian. "This is a massive new market."

News We Can Use

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