What's in the news right now about environmentally sound, socially responsible and economically viable beef value chain.

Executive Director's Message

Welcome to Connect, and for our board members, welcome to Denver! GRSB has evolved since the first meeting in Denver back in November of 2010. At that time, it was clear that the global beef industry was perceived negatively by many, and we identified "key issues" that contributed to that view. Following that conference we also decided that it was time for the industry as a whole to work together to address those key issues through a roundtable. Other commodities had done this before, and we wanted to learn from them as well as tailor a roundtable that would account for the very unique nature of the beef industry.

There were also important lessons about the lack of effectiveness of the certification approach in moving the baseline, and we accepted that to have real impact we would have to look beyond certification. Forming a roundtable required building a lot of trust between partners that traditionally may view each other with some suspicion, and it also required a lot of time discussing seemingly bureaucratic details, but which were important for members to know that their voice would be heard and respected.

By the end of 2012 we had a legally registered and operational roundtable with administrative services in the capable hands of NLPA in Colorado Springs. The following two years were largely devoted to developing principles and criteria, which remains a foundational document for GRSB, accepted by the members at the first GRSB Global Conference in Brazil almost exactly 4 years after the original Denver meeting.

We also had outline of what would happen next, and encouraged the formation of regional roundtables in major producing countries following the example of Brazil where GTPS had existed for some years. Many of GRSB's members have participated actively in the formation of national roundtables in Canada and the USA, and we have groups in Mexico and Colombia working towards the same goal. Australia has taken a slightly different course, but we have actively involved Australian members in GRSB and they are leading sustainability efforts in their country.

In 2015 the board charged us to develop a "Global to Local" approach, a call for the GRSB to work with regional roundtables to ensure consistency of approach, the consideration of global indicators and the question of accreditation.

No doubt the coming five years will be as interesting as the first. GRSB has gained recognition, tentatively, and we need to broaden this by demonstrating that the industry is tackling the hard issues, is taking responsibility for them and is providing clear, scientific information as to the current situation and future directions. The strategy through which this will be achieved is what the board is in Denver to discuss.

Ruaraidh Petre
Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef
Executive Director
Strategic Planning Meeting for Board Members
February 9-10, 2016
Denver, Colorado USA

Global Conference on Sustainable Beef
October 4-7, 2016
Banff, Alberta
See All Members

Five Minutes with CCA's Dennis Laycraft and the GRSB
Chuck Jolley, Drovers CattleNetwork | January 22, 2016
The Canadian Cattlemen Association's own Dennis Laycraft just took over as the top gun at the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB), a position that should give Canada a more important voice in the world's burgeoning beef business. He's picking up the reins dropped by Forrest Roberts when he left the National Cattlemen's Beef Association.

McDonald's Canadian Youth Beef Club Video Contest Promotes Sustainable Beef
Canadian Cattlemen | January 25, 2016
What started as an impromptu conversation between organizers of McDonald's Canada's verified sustainable beef (VSB) pilot and leaders of the Longview 4-H Beef Club in Alberta has snowballed into a Canadian youth beef club video contest.

Details on New Beef Producer Organisations Confirmed
Ciaran Moran, AgriLand | February 3, 2016
The necessary legislation to give legal recognition for the first time in Ireland to Producer Organisations (POs) in the beef sector has been signed off by the Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney. This legislation was one of the key recommendations to emerge from the Beef Roundtable established by the Minister in 2014.

Prue Bondfield to Lead Beef Sustainability Steering Group
Beef Central | February 5, 2016
Ten Australian beef industry stakeholders have been appointed to steer the development of the Australian beef industry's sustainability framework.
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McDonald's Announces Paper Cup Recycling Trial
Jennifer McDowell, Resource | January 22, 2016
McDonald's UK has teamed up with paper manufacturer James Cropper in a new trial aimed at recycling the chain's previously non–recyclable paper cups. "Paper cups constitute about 30 per cent of our packaging waste, and this is a great opportunity to ensure that the quality fibre used in making those cups gets another life" says Helen McFarlane, sustainability consultant at McDonald's UK.

NCBA Members Elect Officers
NCBA Press Release | January 30, 2016
Tracy Brunner, Kansas cattle producer, was officially elected to succeed Philip Ellis as NCBA president. Brunner, a fourth–generation cattleman from Ramona, Kan., expressed optimism about the organization's momentum, saying he would continue to build on the organization's success of the prior year. It's an honor to take the reins of NCBA for the next year," said Brunner.

Industry Lobbyists Set Out Benefits Of Trade Deal In Letter To John Key
Jamie Gray, NZ Herald | February 2, 2016
Business and industry group leaders have lent their support to the Trans Pacific Partnership free trade agreement in an open letter to Prime Minister John Key. Beef and Lamb New Zealand and the Meat Industry Association are supportive. The sheep and beef sector's exports to TPP countries were worth more than $2.4 billion in 2014, nearly one–third of the sector's total.

McDonald's Confident It Is Now Serving 'Verified Sustainable' Beef
Alexis Kienlen, Alberta Farmer | February 4, 2016
McDonald's says it is now selling 'verified sustainable' beef — but is holding off on saying it has fulfilled the pledge it made to consumers two years ago. "We're confident that we are sourcing verified sustainable beef because we have completed 82 full verifications," said Jeffrey Fitzpatrick–Stilwell, senior manager of sustainability with McDonald's Canada.
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No Real Impact on Aussie Grassfed Beef Following US Regulatory Changes
Jon Condon, Beef Central | January 22, 2016
Changes announced last week in the US over regulatory requirements surrounding grassfed beef claims are likely to have little or no effect on Australian beef exports making grassfed claims.

Montana Rancher Looks to The Past to Prepare for Tomorrow's Climate
Sarah Jane Keller, High Country News | January 25, 2016
Erik Kalsta's success as a rancher depends on snow and rain, and 92 years of stream data tell him that runoff patterns are changing. "This is that early spring pulse that's been coming earlier and earlier," he says, glancing towards the swollen river. It's become normal for snow to begin melting into the river in March instead of April. But in 2015, it started rising in February. That's a problem, because it means that the water's availability might be out of sync with the growing season or the times he can legally draw from the river to irrigate. "This is kind of scary," Kalsta admits. "(But) we've still got time to turn this thing around."

Drought Threatens to Decimate Botswana's Beef Industry
Star Africa | January 27, 2016
Drought, water shortage as well as foot and mouth disease (FMD) are major problems affecting the beef industry in parts of Botswana, state–run Daily News reported here Wednesday.Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) plant manager at Maun abattoir in the northwest of the country, Oabona Ramotshwara, is quoted as saying that they used to depend on water from the now dried up rivers found near Maun village. The situation, he said, has forced BMC to reduce the slaughtering of cattle in a week, adding that their slaughtering was dependent on the availability of water.

Indonesia to Import Cattle From Other Countries to Reduce Reliance On Australia
Jewel Topsfield, The Sydney Morning Herald | January 28, 2016
Indonesia could begin importing cattle from countries that have foot and mouth disease as part of a new economic stimulus package aimed at lowering beef prices and reducing its reliance on Australia. Coordinating Economic Minister Darmin Nasution said that under the new package cattle could be imported from a zone or area that had been declared disease–free even if diseases such as foot and mouth were present in other parts of the country.

Argentina to Increase Beef Exports to EU Once FMD–Linked Ban Is Lifted
Charles Newbery, GlobalMeat News | January 29, 2016
Argentina is poised to increase beef exports to the European Union (EU) this year after its government predicted the EU would soon lift foot and mouth disease–related import restrictions for meat from its northern provinces.

Colombia Trade Deal Good for Beef Producers
Danielle Taylor, KX News | February 2, 2016
The country of Colombia is going to allow beef imports from all federally inspected United States facilities. "As a producer I'm real excited about that," says Warren Zenker, who runs a cow–calf operation in Gackle, North Dakota. He also runs a two thousand–head feedlot. "I really believe that anytime we can take away tariffs on our products being imported by other countries it's a huge advantage for us," says Zenker. Currently Colombia only accepts beef from U.S. businesses participating in a specific U.S. Department of Agriculture verification program.
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