Dear GRSB Member,

Welcome again to Connect – I hope those of you in the Northern Hemisphere have managed to have a summer holiday and are now back to work full of enthusiasm!

One of the articles that really struck me this week was the one in Meatingplace on a study around the safety of ground beef from "sustainable" vs conventional sources. What is really interesting about this is the way in which the authors of the study deemed sources to be sustainable, and how they went on to define some of the bacteria in the samples as superbugs, even though they are not associated with food–borne illness or multi drug resistant. If you read the article you will see Mandy Carr Johnson's reaction to the study. Suffice it to say that the conclusions drawn by the authors are alarmist at best.

Another article that definitely grabbed my attention, again on health but a completely different angle was this one in the BMJ. This is a review article based on 41 reports. The very simplified conclusion (and I recommend you read the full article to better understand the nuances), is that "This systematic review and meta–analysis of evidence from large generally well designed observational studies does not support a robust association of saturated fats with all cause mortality, Coronary Heart Disease, CHD mortality, ischemic stroke, or diabetes in healthy individuals; but the choice of comparison nutrient must be carefully considered." whereas "Higher, compared with lower, intakes of trans fats are associated with a 20–30% increased risk of all cause mortality, CHD and CHD mortality, regardless of choice of replacement nutrient, but associations with type 2 diabetes and stroke are unclear."

I found all of this quite surprising, particularly the first part, given how we have been told for decades how dangerous saturated fats are. However, the article will certainly attract criticism, and I recommend reading the whole as well as the reactions on the BMJ site as well..


Ruaraidh Petre
Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef
Executive Director

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September 29, 2015
Saskatoon, SK Canada

Sustainability News

Consumer Reports Research Concludes 'Sustainable' Ground Beef Is Safer Than 'Conventional'

Dateline: 08/24/15, Source: By Lisa M. Keefe, meatingplace

Consumer Reports will publish an article in its October issue titled, "How Safe is Your Beef," which concludes that "conventional ground beef is twice as likely to contain superbugs as sustainable beef," the widely read consumer testing publication said, in a news release sent to Meatingplace last week but embargoed until this morning.

Study Questions Role of Saturated Fats in Main Killer Diseases

Dateline: 08/12/15, Source: By Mark Gould, On Medica

A major review and meta–analysis of evidence on the health implications of dietary fats has failed to find a link between food containing saturated fats, such as eggs, chocolate and cream, and an increased risk of dying from heart disease, stroke or type–2 diabetes.

The study, carried out in Canada by Russell de Souza of McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, and colleagues found no association between saturated fats and ill health, but did find a link with the consumption of foods containing trans fats, such as margarine.

Members In The News

This preview of a book on the circular economy also includes a summary on the work of GRSB member the Savory Institute, and the important role of grazers in restoring and maintaining carbon flows in savannah and other grassland ecosystems:

Exclusive Preview From "The Circular Economy: A Wealth Of Flows"

Dateline: 7/29/15, Source: By Ken Webster. Circulate News

It was a similar experience for Alan Savory who now heads research into holistic cattle grazing systems at the Savory Institute, USA. He was once responsible for the decision in what was Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) to cull thousands of African elephants in the belief that reduced grazing would slow down or reverse the decline in the savannah grasslands. He bitterly regrets this decision and admits that he was completely wrong. He had failed to understand the system, the way these grasslands had evolved and the place of grazing, plant–eating animals.

Alan Savory came to realize that, in evolutionary terms, the grasslands developed in the presence of very large herds of herbivores and that this characteristic – of a large herd grazing everything, churning up the soil with their hooves and depositing faeces and urine and slobber before moving on – had a particular relevance to how the grassland worked as a system.

Having seen a very interesting and encouraging presentation by Field to Market at the inaugural general assembly meeting of the US roundtable, I was interested to see that JBS has joined the initiative with a view to addressing the important aspect of feed in beef (an monogastric) value chains. Several GRSB members are also members of field to market.

JBS USA Joins Field to Market

Dateline: 08/12/5, Source: Feedstuffs

JBS USA announced Aug. 10 that it has joined Field to Market: The Alliance for Sustainable Agriculture, a multi–stakeholder initiative working to unite the agricultural supply chain in defining, measuring, and advancing the sustainability of food, fiber, and fuel production. As a member in Field to Market, JBS will work with grower organizations, academia, conservation groups, public sector partners and leading companies to identify opportunities to catalyze continuous improvement in the sustainability of grain used for livestock and poultry feed.

Cargill is also a founding member of the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef(GRSB) and the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (USRSB).

For those of you who were unable to attend the inaugural general assembly meeting of the USRSB, here is a useful summary of what what discussed and the work streams the Us roundtable has started.

Beef Sustainability Roundtable Works Toward Goals

Dateline: 08/17/5, Source: By Kylene Scott, High Plains Journal

Beef producers have been sustainable long before the term sustainability became a buzzword. One group, the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, is working to make the U.S. beef value chain the trusted global leader in environmentally sound, socially responsible and economically viable beef. The group met in mid–July in Denver to discuss its work and goals.

More than 120 beef producers, retailers, food service operators, processors, academics, allied industry partners and non–governmental organizations attended the first general assembly meeting.

Our Members

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

Members In The News

Cargill has signed a climate pledge with targets for reducing greenhouse gas intensity, improving freshwater and energy efficiency as well as increasing the share of renewable energy amongst others.

Companies Sign Onto Climate Plan

Dateline: 07/29/15, Source: Feedstuffs

At the White House Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry and senior White House officials hosted 13 of the largest companies from across the American economy who are standing with the Obama Administration to launch the American Business Act on Climate Pledge: Alcoa, Apple, Bank of America, Berkshire Hathaway Energy, Cargill, Coca–Cola, General Motors, Goldman Sachs, Google, Microsoft, PepsiCo, UPS, and Walmart.

In a fact sheet from the White House, the White House explained impacts of climate change have brought deeper, more persistent droughts, more severe weather, bigger storm surges and more frequent and dangerous wildfires. The President's Climate Action Plan, when fully implemented, will cut nearly 6 billion tons of carbon pollution through 2030, an amount equivalent to taking all the cars in the United States off the road for more than 4 years.

Any members who produce a Corporate Responsibility, or sustainability report should feel free to share it with us; here is Cargill's report, Cargill@150:

Cargill Aims to be Most Trusted Source of Sustainable Products

Dateline: 08/19/5, Source: World–Grain

Cargill released its fiscal 2015 corporate responsibility report on Aug. 19, "Cargill@150," which shares how Cargill plans to move forward to address sustainability issues, and provide examples of the company's work promoting food security and improving communities where it operates.

As reported in an earlier Connect, Merck has launched an educational platform creating connections, the first module went online recently (See it HERE). There is a growing supply of useful material on the site for producers, their employees, vets and nutritionists.

Merck Animal Health releases First CreatingConnections Educational Module

Dateline: 07/21/5, Source: Drovers CattleNetwork

Merck Animal Health today released the first module in the CreatingConnections™ Educational Series that features industry experts who share unique insights and proven techniques to help ensure low–stress cattle handling. This module, now available, focuses on acclimation – specifically how to best help cattle adjust and thrive in a new environment, which is critical to the health and well–being of an animal.

Dr. Dan Thomson (center) discusses low–stress cattle acclimation with Dr. Paulo Loureiro (right) and Dr. Tom Noffsinger (left).

On the employee or "people and the community" side of business, Zoetis has recently launched their People First Team scan.

Zoetis Service Helps Producers and Veterinarians Assess Team Dynamicsk

Dateline: 07/27/15, Source: Drovers CattleNetwork

Livestock producers and veterinarians know what healthy animals look like, but it takes a different set of skills and tools to understand employees. To help diagnose the strengths and weaknesses of your team and assess opportunities for change that can benefit your business, Zoetis offers a new service from PeopleFirst, Team Scan.

Global News

Here is a positive story of what one producer in Queensland undertook to keep his operation going in the face of increasing drought.

Frank Mele's Sustainable Farming Solutions (SFS) offers a sustainable agricultural model which has been personally developed through much trial and error over the past five years and put into practice on their 6000 acre property in Gumlu, North Queensland

Frank's Model of Sustainability

Dateline: 07/30/15, Source: Matt Sherrington, North Queensland Register

Due to the prolonged drought conditions around the state the capacity of livestock being carried per acre in certain areas is well below average, forcing graziers into financial hardship, or ultimately bankruptcy. Other factors such as the rising cost of fossil fuels, the increase in the minimum wage level and grain and feed Deficits just to mention a few, are uncontrollable costs for a grazier.

It was out of these same factors that led Frank Mele to form a business called Sustainable Farming Solutions (SFS) which offers a sustainable agricultural model which has been personally developed through much trial and error over the past five years and put into practice on their 6000 acre property in Gumlu, North Queensland.

Here is an upbeat story and video by Peter Byck about ranching and the benefits of regenerative grazing practices, if you are looking for an introduction to how such grazing systems work, this is a good place to start.

The Rise of the Soil Carbon Cowboys

Dateline: 08/19/5, Source: By Peter Byck, Greenbiz

As you can see in our short film, "Soil Carbon Cowboys" (it'll take you 12 minutes), AMP grazing helps ranchers regenerate their soils, with cascading benefits: More water soaks into and stays in the soil; soil microbes thrive; plant nutrition and production levels take off; and wildlife — from bugs to birds to large mammals — flocks to the ranches.

It's a powerful story of how nature works — get the soils healthy, and the whole system rocks. See it HERE.

News We Can Use

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