Dear GRSB Member,

Many of you will have read the CNN article likening beef to the new SUV, which I signaled would be coming in Connect on September 8th. A direct response from GRSB is not likely to be particularly beneficial, however it is my intention to have an op ed published that will cover the issues from our perspective. You can read the op ed I have drafted on our website HERE. Below you will also read an article from AgWeb addressing the same topic.

Food waste is an area where there are huge gains to be made; depending upon which country you are looking at and the sources of the figures, there is quite a variation. However, if we take FAO's 2013 report as a starting point (summary), we waste over 1.6 billion tonnes of food a year, which releases 3.3 billion tonnes of CO2 equivalents into the atmosphere. If that were a country, it would be the third largest emitter of GHGs in the world.

Given that this concerns all food production worldwide, and that all food production has impacts in other areas such as biodiversity and water use as well as GHG, this seems like a very legitimate focus area for all of us (including CNN) and something that consumers need educating on too.

I read an article in the newspaper last week on how companies are adopting creative measures to take account of their emissions such as imposing an internal carbon tax; by accounting for impacts, they can be targeted without negatively affecting the bottom line, as the "tax" is invested in the company's own sustainability initiatives. I don't know if anyone in the beef industry is already doing something similar; if you are, please let me know!


Ruaraidh Petre
Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef
Executive Director

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GRSB General Assembly Meeting

October 27-29, 2015
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Sustainability News

Factors Affect Production of Sustainable Forage Systems

Dateline: 09/28/15, Source: By Jon Biermacher, The Eagle, Bryan–College Station Texas

The Southern Great Plains has a comparative economic advantage in growing and managing forages for beef cattle production. Three categories of forage–based beef production systems that are common in this region are: A cow–calf system that utilizes perennial native grass pastures; A cow–calf system that utilizes introduced perennial pastures; A stocker cattle system that utilizes annually established winter cereal forages.

Sustainable Beef Demonstration and Research Farm Underway

Dateline: 09/29/15, Source: By Jennifer Paige, Manitoba Co–Operator

Manitoba beef producers will soon have a new resource in the province dedicated to exploring beef and grassland management. The project was announced earlier this year at the Manitoba Beef Producers (MBP) annual general meeting, where the federal and provincial governments pledged $3.1 million over three years through the Growing Forward 2, Growing Innovation– Capacity and Knowledge Development program. The project will see the creation of two sites, a full–section demonstration farm located 11 miles north of Brandon and a research farm located a few miles east of the city on 900 acres.

Article responding to CNN – don't forget that we have around 5 billion ha (around 12 billion acres) of grasslands that are not suited to growing crops; that constitutes 70% of land we use to produce food, and as highlighted in another article below, 85% of the feed to get a steer to market, even in intensive systems is forage.

Is Beef Is More Like a Hybrid than an SUV? It Depends.

Dateline: 09/30/15, Source: By Sara Hessenflow Harper

The headline practically jumps right off the computer or TV at you: "Why beef is the new SUV." But after working on complex sustainability issues for nearly two decades, one thing I've learned to be suspicious of is an easy declaration like this that divides a natural system into "good" and "bad." Getting an accurate picture of any food or product's sustainability is just never that clear and easy. A truthful headline should always read something like, "It depends".

New Partnership to Support Beef Producers on Sustainability Issues

Dateline: 09/29/15, Source: High Plains Journal

The Beef Cattle Institute at Kansas State University and K–Coe Isom recently announced the creation of a partnership that will provide educational information to the cattle industry on sustainability issues. One component will be online education through the same BCI platform that currently offers Beef Quality Assurance training. The other will be to promote education and dialogue through the entire value chain by holding a Beef Sustainability Knowledge Summit, with the event tentatively scheduled for the spring of 2016. BCI Director Dan Thomson, a veterinarian, said nobody cares about sustainability in the beef industry more than producers. He said the online resources will serve as a clear, unbiased source of information on beef sustainability for ranchers, feeders and others in the beef chain.

Sustainable Agriculture Vital for Food Security says Zambeef in Zambia

Dateline: 09/24/15, Source: Maravi Post

Sustainable agricultural practices are a must if food security in Zambia and the region is to be maintained in light of the climatic changes, says the country's largest agribusiness, Zambeef Products. As Zambia's largest integrated agribusiness, Zambeef's incorporates sustainable agriculture practices as a first priority in increasing production such as heightened biosecurity, crop rotation, irrigation, use of internally composted organic fertilizer with its windrow cropping system to ensure that it maximizes production without causing damage to the environment.

Concern for Emissions Research After Jobs Cut

Dateline: 09/25/15, Source: By Jane Patterson, Radio New Zealand

Crown research institute (CRI) AgResearch is laying off 33 scientists and 50 technicians because it is scaling back research on greenhouse gases, and animal and forage sciences. Labour climate change spokesperson Megan Woods said the government had always said research and development in that area was the silver bullet to meeting reduced emissions targets. "So to hear that we're losing jobs in that area is concerning for me, and I want to know what the plan is from here."

Global News

New Zealand's Beef Trade Is Now Worth More Than Lamb

Dateline: 09/19/15, Source: By Amy Forde, AgriLand

Overall, beef and veal returns are still expected to exceed last season's record, up 2% at NZ$3.65 billion to be well ahead of returns from the sheepmeat trade, AHDB said. According to these estimates, AHDB said that beef and veal export returns are greater than those for lamb and mutton exports for the first time ever.

Interesting article, highlighting that even when finishing in feedlots the total feed needed to get a steer to market is 85% forage.

Decisions, Decisions

Dateline: 09/28/15, Source: By Miranda Reinman, Drovers CattleNetwork

"Corn may be king, but cattle feeders ought to think about forage, too," says Galen Erickson, University of Nebraska feedlot specialist. "The total feed needed to get a steer to market is 85% forage because there's a cow somewhere that's being fed a forage–based diet," Erickson said. He also noted intake during backgrounding and feeding, before comparing that nearly 14,000 lb. of forage to the average 3,300 lb. of concentrate fed during the finishing phase.

Are Calm Cattle Worth More to Producers?

Dateline: 09/27/15, Source: By Kevin Hassler, Enid News

In the cattle industry, cattle temperament is defined as a behavioral response to an environment or action. Various levels of temperament can occur due to one or a combination of things. These include genetic predisposition, reaction to human behavior and response to a new experience or environment. Through goals related to human safety and animal well–being, improvements in cattle temperament and disposition have been sought through improved management, animal handling and selective breeding. By doing this, the beef industry has recognized the association between temperament and cattle growth, carcass quality and reproductive performance.

Our Members

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

Members in the News

Champion to Step Down as Beef and Lamb CEO

Dateline: 09/28/15, Source: Otago Daily Times

Beef and Lamb New Zealand chief executive Dr Scott Champion is stepping down after nearly 10 years with the organisation. Beef and Lamb New Zealand recently gained support from farmers to continue its activities, through the 2015 sheepmeat and beef levy referendum.

Auditors Assess South Gippsland Farm Businesses for Environmental, Animal Welfare Practices

Dateline: 09/21/15, Source: By Laura Poole, ABC Rural, NZ

The south Gippsland Landcare Network, together with the Nerrena Landcare Group, gained a Federal Government grant for 11 local farmers to develop an environmental management plan for their properties. The Australian Land Management Group delivered workshops and audited the businesses involved. "It shows our customers, employees and visitors to the farm...that we're very serious about environmental management and serious about being good farmers," says participant Daniel Bright.

Beef Checkoff Seeks Producer Input

Dateline: 09/30/15, Source: Drovers CattleNetwork

In connection with the National Institute for Animal Agriculture (NIAA), the checkoff is helping to distribute a producer survey about use of antibiotics on cattle operations. The survey was created with the help of Kansas State University, in respo nse to comments from the checkoff's Safety Subcommittee at the 2015 Cattle Industry Summer Conference.

Like It or Not, Sustainability Is Now Core to Your Business

Dateline: 09/24/15, Source: By Jeremy Oppenheim, Martin Stuchtey, Fortune

What used to be considered green virtue has now morphed into a crucial competitive tool. To reduce emissions and improve other environmental metrics in its food chain, Wal–Mart tracks not only GHG output, but also yield, water use, and other factors per ton of food produced. In addition to achieving environmental improvements, it cut the price of food and vegetables in the United States by $3.5 billion.

For those of you with business in Brazil, please do not forget to provide GTPS your input to their public consulation.

Institute Consultation on Livestock Sustainability

Dateline: 09/23/15, Source: International Leather Maker

The Brazilian Roundtable on Sustainable Livestock (GTPS) announced on September 18 the opening of a public consultation involving all segments of the Brazilian livestock chain. The public consultation aims to compile ideas, suggestions and feedback on experiences from professionals and opinion leaders involved in the beef value chain industry. It is designed as a self assessment tool where the users can evaluate their own performance, or that of members from the value chain. The material will be used to institute the Indicator Guidebook for Sustainable Livestock, intended to encourage all members of the beef value chain to use it as a tool in the quest for sustainability.

Greg Page, executive chairman of Cargill will speak at K–State on Oct 12 on the economic impact of climate change. You will be able to listen to it HERE.

Cargill Marks Anniversary of No–Deforestation Pledge with New Forest Policy

Dateline: 09/17/15, Source: PR Newswire

Cargill took the next step forward in meeting its commitment to do its part to end deforestation by 2030 in a new Policy on Forests released today. Backed by forest protection action plans for Cargill's priority commodity supply chains, the policy sets a comprehensive approach for the company in its efforts to prevent forest loss.

Despite New Research into Beta Agonists, Zilmax Still Out of US Market

Dateline: 09/25/15, Source: By Aerin Curtis, FEED Navigator

The question of if or when Zilmax will return to the US market remains unanswered despite recently published research into fatigue cattle syndrome and use of beta–agonists showing the cause to be 'multifactorial.'

What Beef Producers Are Asking About VBP+

Dateline: 09/24/15, Source: By Terry Hockaday, FarmAnimalCare

There will be big changes in Canada's Verified Beef Production (VBP) program this coming year. VBP+ is an integral part of current high profile industry sustainability branding efforts. Most important, it is an active participant in the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef national project. On the industry side, McDonald's, Loblaws and others which are building sustainability into brands are interested in linking with this effort.

New Project Between McDonald's and Alberta Beef Producers Highlights Sustainability

Dateline: 09/30/15, Source: By Liane Faulder, Edmonton Journal

Sustainable agriculture is a popular environmental concept, and fast becoming a well–worn catchphrase. But according to Greg Bowie, chair of Alberta Beef Producers, sustainability was a practice among Alberta beef ranchers long before it became a trendy topic of conversation among consumers. Now, a new initiative by McDonald's —the fast food giant whose livelihood depends on burgers —is driving home the message that beef can be produced in a sustainable fashion, one that creates healthy food and respects the planet, and cattle producers, at the same time.

Stakeholder Consultation: Developing an Impact Calculator for Leather Country of Origin.

Source: Tommy Hilfiger Announcement

Tommy Hilfiger Europe is looking at ways in which the impact of leather products can be reduced. Tommy Hilfiger Europe and MADE-BY are therefore looking for input from brands and others. The event will take place at the Amsterdam office of Tommy Hilfiger on the 27th of October 2015 from 1pm to 5pm. The office is located at Tesselschadestraat 4-12 in Amsterdam. Please confirm attendance and contact Susan Irvine or Dan Davies

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