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

Board of Directors Meeting
April 18-20, 2016
DoubleTree by Hilton Chicago O'Hare Airport - Rosemont
Chicago, IL 
Visit the event website for meeting schedule and additional information.

Executive Director's Message

Over the past two weeks a number of stories have raised questions about information that people base their advice on. There are two examples below, and no doubt anyone who looks can find more of the same. I was certainly surprised at the article in Drovers, (I responded here) reproduced in a number of online publications. Only a few days later I was sent the picture distributed by the EC/EMAS, comparing emissions related to producing 1 kg of beef to those from 6 litres of petrol.

This boils down to trust; the article in Canadian Cattlemen's magazine really hits the nail on the head here with the concept of social license. The solution to the problem is not only to right the wrongs of misguided and incorrect articles; simply refuting an argument will not build trust, and probably won't even be read by the people we want to convince.

In order to really engage on the subject of GHG emissions from cattle, or other concerns, we are going to have to build trust with people who have simply heard and accepted that it's all down to livestock. That's not going to be simple because it means engaging with issues that we generally don't engage on, and where we know that we differ considerably from those we are engaging with. The discussion will also vary from place to place, as different audiences have their own set of concerns and beliefs.

However, this dialogue does need to start if we are to counteract the increasing trend that blames livestock above all else for global warming and other issues. Importantly, if done right, this dialogue could really help to get more energy and funds behind carbon sequestration in soils, which should be a significant win win for cattle producers.
Ruaraidh Petre
Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef
Executive Director
Board of Directors Meeting
April 18-20, 2016
DoubleTree by Hilton Chicago O'Hare Airport - Rosemont
Chicago, IL

Global Conference on Sustainable Beef
October 4-7, 2016
Banff, Alberta
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State, National Meat Producers Look to Grab Worries About 'Sustainable Beef' by the Horns  
Barbara Soderlin, Omaha World–Herald | March 9, 2016
Ask a dozen people in Nebraska's beef industry, and you'll get as many answers. To some who worry about beef's environmental impact, "sustainable beef" is an oxymoron. To others, time–tested conventional practices are sustainable and getting more so every day — big ranches, feedlots and meatpackers wouldn't still be in business otherwise, they say.

Now industry players including the Nebraska Cattlemen's Association; major Nebraska employers Tyson Foods, JBS and Cargill; and one of the state's largest feedlot operators, Adams Land and Cattle, are part of a national effort to build some consensus on what "sustainable" means.

Dr. Oz Knows Beef Makes Good TV, But Why Do Viewers Believe Him?  
Amanda Radke, BEEF Magazine | March 8, 2016
Dr. Oz is a popular TV personality/medical professional who loves to use his credentials to scare his viewers about the foods they eat and convince them that with each day, he's found the "secret to weight loss." Last week, Dr. Oz aired a segment titled, "Is America's beef healthy?"

It's troubling to me to see such a biased, slanted report being shared on such a popular TV show, and it's even more alarming to watch the cheering from the crowd as Dr. Oz pretended to slay the dragons that are America's beef producers. It's disheartening to see this mistrust in farmers and ranchers grow, and I'm worried the chasm between producers and consumers continues to widen.

Dietary Guidance; Is It Really About Climate Change?
Ruaraidh Petre, Linkedin | March 14, 2016
A Swedish study (D.Bryngelsson et al., 2016), talks about cutting "food related" emissions by 50% as being essential to preventing warming of more than 2C, and further suggests that this necessitates a dramatic (50%) reduction in the consumption of ruminant meat. This is to my mind a very clear example of science being led astray by an a priori agenda against ruminant livestock.Food related emissions vary from place to place, but it should be recognised that nowhere are food related emissions the highest proportion of anthropogenic emissions.

What Does It Take For Farmers To Earn Public Trust?
Brenda Scheopp, Canadian Cattlemen | March 11, 2016
What does it take to earn public trust? A few initiatives are underway to answer that question and address the concerns that consumers have already expressed. It is not that the public does not mistrust farmers — they just don't know them.

Symposium to Promote Rangeland Sustainability
Josie Musico, Lubbock Avalanche–Journal | March 7, 2016
A Symposium on Sustainable Rangeland will be held June 6–7 at the National Ranching Heritage Center. "Rangeland sustainability is a key concept that all ranchers, landowners, technicians and resource managers strive to achieve and maintain," said Dr. Ron Sosebee, one of the symposium's organizers and professor emeritus in the Department of Natural Resources Management at Texas Tech.

Assessing the Environmental Impact of Meat Production  
The Cattle Site | March 7, 2016
A new European project is being established to map, understand and reduce the environmental impact of packed fresh meat from beef, pork and lamb. The MEAT project is being driven by leading players in the EU meat sector including AHDB Beef and Lamb in the UK, Bord Bia from Ireland, Célene in France, COV in the Netherlands and the Danish Agriculture and Food Council, together with meat processing companies Dawn Meats, Dunbia and Danish Crow and internationally by Beef + Lamb New Zealand and Meat and Livestock Australia.

Speaking at the AHDB Beef and Lamb processor conference, AHDB business development manager Christine Walsh said that there were a lot of different measurement systems around the world to measure the carbon footprint and environmental impact of meat production through to the final product and its consumption. The aim of the EU project is to assess the existing relevant PEF methodologies in the meat sector and to develop a single set of rules covering the entire life cycle of meat products.

Why 'Zero Deforestation' Is Only One Piece of The Sustainability Puzzle  
Pablo Pacheco, Sophia Gnych, Forests News | March 17, 2016
In the midst of efforts to achieve 'zero deforestation', it's important to remember that halting deforestation is not just about forests, and it is not always good for local people, depending on how it is done. Commitments should therefore also involve finding investment and production models that work for all stakeholders – public or private, big or small – and supporting the smallholder farmers who depend on agricultural commodities for their living.
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All Ahold USA Banner Stores Get MSC, ASC or BAP Certification for Entire Seafood Category
SeafoodNews | March 7, 2016
All of the seafood sold at Ahold USA's banner stores, including its Nature's Promise Brand and its own private label brand, are now certified sustainable either by the Marine Stewardship Council, Aquaculture Stewardship Council or the Best Aquaculture Practices program.

Cargill Eliminates 20% of Shared–Class Antibiotics Used For Beef Cattle
Drovers CattleNetwork | March 8, 2016
Cargill is eliminating 20% of shared–class antibiotics, those deemed important for human medicine and farm animals, from its four feed yards in Texas, Kansas and Colorado, and four additional feed yards operated by Friona Industries, which is a strategic business partner that supplies the company with cattle. The total number of cattle involved annually is approximately 1.2 million. This move comes after Cargill evaluated both existing third party research and research previously conducted by the company regarding reduced antibiotic use, and evaluated customer and consumer input. For the beef cattle covered by this announcement, Cargill does not use any antibiotics for growth promotion that are medically important for human health.

Data Collection for Agricultural Supply Chains Set For Streamlined Upgrade  
edie.net | March 17, 2016
Supply chain NGO Sedex has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with SAI Platform – considered the global food value chain initiative for sustainable agriculture – to improve the availability of supply chain data in a way that removes duplicate data collections and introduces new learning resources.

A variety of big brands are already working in partnership with the two organisations separately, but have reportedly welcomed the collaborations and the efforts to simplify the data handling process.
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Summing Up: Grass Versus Grain
John Maday, Drovers CattleNetwork | March 10, 2016
Over the past two weeks, we've been running a series of questions and answers regarding the practice of feeding grain to cattle. The series developed after a college student, conducting research for a public–health class project, sent Drovers list of questions regarding the relative merits of finishing cattle on grass versus grain–based rations. Her questions, while somewhat biased, reflect common misperceptions of grain feeing and the kinds of question consumers are asking.

Canadian Beef Investment to Enhance Technology Use
The Cattle Site | March 11, 2016
Agriculture and Agri–food Minister Lawrence MacAulay has announced an investment of over $4 million to the Canadian Cattlemen's Association (CCA) for three innovative projects. These projects will support the industry with new and existing markets both at home and abroad. Canada's cattle industry remains one of the largest single sources of farm receipts totalling $9.8 billion in 2014, with approximately 1.3 million tonnes of beef produced annually.

Five (More) Minutes With the TPP: Steve Dittmer Speaks His Mind  
Chuck Jolley, Drovers CattleNetwork | March 11, 2016
Steve Dittmer, Executive Vice President of the Agribusiness Freedom Foundation(AFF), read my discussion with R–Calf's Chief Exec, Bill Bullard about the Trans Pacific Partnership and politely enquired about equal time. Mr. Dittmer welcomes the TPP. According to their web site, the AFF "promotes free market principles throughout the agricultural food chain." It's important to note that he is the heart and soul and probably the ghost–like after life of the organization. He is a self–avowed free marketer and those of us who know him pretty much agree with that description. So let's be upfront: He is for the TPP.

Back's 'Backlash' Blast  
Colin Bettles, Farm Weekly | March 7, 2016
West Australian Liberal Senator Chris Back says the title of a new book about the controversial 2011 Indonesian live cattle export crisis carries an "uncanny" resemblance to his last name. But the contents of, 'Backlash – Australia's conflict of values over live export,' co–written by RSPCA Australia Chief Science and Strategy Officer Dr Bidda Jones – conflicts with his version of history.

Australia Beefs Up Indonesia's Cattle Production Skills As Workers Undertake Intensive Training
Lisa Herbert, ABC Rural, AU | March 13, 2016
Thirty Indonesians working within the country's beef industry are in Australia for six weeks of intensive training on beef production systems.

Funded by the Indonesia–Australia Partnership on Food Security, the training has been coordinated by the University of New England's School of Environmental and Rural Science. Training coordinator Peter Fitzgerald said the program sought to build the technical knowledge of those involved in Indonesian beef production through theory and hands–on experience.

"There's a lot of Australian cattle that wind up in Indonesia out of the northern beef industry," Mr Fitzgerald said. "So if we can ensure that best practices are being followed in Indonesia, based on training out of Australia and in Indonesia, then it should be a win–win for both Australia and Indonesia."

22 Organizations Working to Restore Soils in 2016  
Food Tank | March 14, 2016
According to the recent United Nations report, Status of the World's Soil Resources, the world can ameliorate soil degradation if more sustainable practices are promptly implemented. The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) defines soil degradation as "a change in the soil health status resulting in a diminished capacity of the ecosystem to provide goods and services for its beneficiaries. Degraded soils have a health status, such that they do not provide the normal goods and services of the particular soil in its ecosystem."
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