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


Executive Director's Message

This will be the last connect before Christmas, so I'd like to wish all GRSB members a very happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

I was in China last week to speak at a Green Trade conference, but with the underlying plan of stimulating interest in beef sustainability efforts there. China is an interesting case for GRSB, as a very large market, and indeed significant importer of beef. For China itself beef is a small scale commodity in relation to pork or chicken, but because of the size of the population, even small shifts in consumption patterns can have a big impact on global trade.

Over the past 5 years imports of beef (direct and indirect) to China have more than trebled, and now account for around 15% of world trade (see Gira article). Those figures do of course include grey imports through Hong Kong and a significant amount of buffalo from India. Whichever way you look at it, it is a hugely significant market, and imports only account for a small percentage of total beef consumption in the country, so it is clearly important for us to have a presence there in some form. There is an increasing interest in sustainability in China, and given the levels of air pollution while I was there, I can see why! WWF and Solidaridad both have a presence in the country and I expect to follow up on this first trip during 2017.

All the best over the festive season, and I look forward to seeing you all again in 2017.

Ruaraidh Petre
Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef
Executive Director
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Carbon Sequestration a Positive Aspect of Beef Cattle Grazing Grasslands
Donald Stotts, Tri–State Livestock News | December 1, 2016
Beef cattle grazing on grass pastures might not be the first thing people think of when discussing the subject of combatting greenhouse gas emissions, but it is an agricultural practice providing significant dividends to the effort.

"Environmental as well as economic sustainability are key elements of best management practices for agriculture, as most people involved in agriculture are well aware they are stewards of the land," said Keith Owens, Oklahoma State University associate vice president for the university's statewide Oklahoma Agricultural Experiment Station system. "Air, water, soil; we pay attention to all of them."

Summit Showcases Dairy Strong Sustainability Alliance  
The Cattle Site | December 7, 2016
A new Wisconsin–based initiative aimed at fostering continuous improvement throughout the dairy supply chain took center stage recently at a national summit exploring the growing sustainability movement in agriculture.

The Dairy Strong Sustainability Alliance (DSSA) was among projects chosen from around the country to be featured in panel discussions at the 2016 Sustainable Agriculture Summit, held 15–16 November in Atlanta. The conference brought together diverse perspectives from across the food and agricultural supply chain.

The event was hosted by Field to Market, the Innovation Center for US Dairy, the National Pork Board, the Stewardship Index for Specialty Crops, the US Poultry & Egg Association, and the US Roundtable for Sustainable Beef.

Canadian Beef Industry Works to Sustainably Increase Production
The Cattle Site | December 5, 2016
Canada has an opportunity to play a leading role in meeting rising global food production needs responsibly through investments in agriculture research across a variety of disciplines.

On Friday (2 December), the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC) and the national Beef Value Chain Roundtable (BVCRT) released a strategy to achieve high priority beef research objectives that support increasing productivity while remaining environmentally, socially and economically sustainable.

The new Canadian Beef Research and Technology Transfer Strategy will support the industry's ability to manage challenges and sustainably supply demand. This strategy builds upon the success of the 2012–2018 National Beef Research Strategy. The new strategy's research objectives are to be captured by 2023.

Videos Showcase Management Practices of Leading Beef Businesses
BEEF Central | December 5, 2016
A new series of nine YouTube videos has been released featuring some of Queensland's leading graziers talking about their businesses. The videos have been produced by Queensland's Department of Agriculture and Fisheries with support from Meat & Livestock Australia (MLA), and offer an insight into how successful grazing businesses operate and the many elements managers must consider.

The Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries Bill Byrne acknowledged DAF's FutureBeef team, which managed the production of the videos and ensured they covered topics that were important to Queensland's grazing industry.

Global Trust in Sustainable Agriculture NZ's Big Opportunity: Rabobank  
Fiona Rotherham, The National Business Review | November 28, 2016
Rabobank's The Sustainable Returns: Finding the value in Environmental Sustainability report says improved environmental practices can deliver an immediate monetary benefit, through price premiums and long–term strategic advantages.

Report author Blake Holgate says many consumers now consider buying food products with sustainability credentials as a precondition rather than a value–add feature.

Experts Join Forces to Highlight Dangers of Antimicrobial Resistance
Clint Jasper, ABC News AU | December 7, 2016
Australia's top vet and a range of local and international experts have come together to highlight the global dangers posed by antimicrobial resistance.

Earlier this year, the United Nations' World Health Organisation launched a renewed push to tackle the problem.

In April this year Australia launched its own strategy to deal with the problem, starting with a joint effort between agriculture and health authorities to measure Australia's antimicrobial use.

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Wendy's Joins US Roundtable for Sustainable Beef  
KTIC Radio | December 8, 2016
Wendy's® announced its partnership with the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef and a commitment to advancing sustainability efforts throughout the U.S. beef value chain. With a forty–six year commitment to serving only fresh*, never frozen North American beef, Wendy's has long partnered with leaders throughout the beef supply chain to advance responsible practices in animal production, health and welfare.

By joining the Roundtable, Wendy's will also ensure it has an active voice in discussions about the environmental, social and economic sustainability of the U.S. beef industry.

Future Farm Sustainability: Value or Volume?  
All About Feed | December 2, 2016
More than 1,200 farmers and food and agribusiness industry stakeholders from around the world attended the Farm2Fork Summit held on November 3 in Sydney, Australia.

Hosted by Dutch agricultural bank Rabobank, the event brought together delegates and speakers from across the sector with a focus on food and agri tech and innovation and its role in feeding more than 12 billion people by 2100. Netherlands–based Rabobank Group executive board member Berry Marttin told the summit that innovation was the only way the world would be able to rise to this challenge.

Sustainability Takes Root in Beef Industry  
John Maday, Drovers | November 30, 2016
GRSB defines sustainable beef as "a socially responsible, environmentally sound and economically viable product that priorities planet, people, animals and progress."

The GRSB held its second global conference in Alberta in October. Throughout the conference, presenters discussed and debated methods for benchmarking sustainability and measuring progress. While the topic is complex and sometimes divisive, one fact is clear: improving sustainability in agriculture requires reduction of waste, and resource use overall, across the production chain.
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Scott Morrison Approves Sale of S Kidman and Co. to Gina Rinehart
Shabo Rao, News Corp Australia Network: Perth Now | December 8, 2016
Treasurer Scott Morrison has approved the sale of the S. Kidman & Co, with some of the land and cattle empire to go to Gina Rinehart's company. Mr Morrison announced on Friday the largest station in the Kidman group, Anna Creek and its outstation The Peake, will be acquired by a neighbouring farming family — the Williams.

The rest will be acquired by Outback Beef, which is majority owned by Rinehart's Hancock Beef with a minority interest held by a Chinese partner.

Tyson Foods Creates Venture Fund to Fuel the Future of Food
Tyson Foods, Inc. | December 5, 2016
As part of its commitment to innovation and growth, Tyson Foods, Inc. has launched a venture capital fund focused on investing in companies developing breakthrough technologies, business models and products to sustainably feed a growing world population.

Tyson will make available $150 million to the fund, which has been named Tyson New Ventures LLC, to complement the company's continuing investment in innovation in its core fresh meats, poultry and prepared foods businesses.

EU Beef Producers Concerned with Mercosur Trade Deal
International Leather Maker | December 2, 2016
Copa–Cogeca, the EU farming body, has expressed concerns over the impact a trade deal with Latin American countries could have on the EU beef industry during an event in the European Parliament on November 30.

It is alleged that member countries of the Mercosur trading bloc, comprised of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela as main members and Bolivia, Chile, Peru, Colombia, Ecuador and Suriname as associates, do not have the same traceability standards as the EU and are users of antibiotic growth promoters.

Collars Help to Identify Individual Pasture Intake of Cattle
BEEF Central | December 5, 2016
Research using sensors and wireless networks to measure individual feed intake and efficiency in a commercial grazing environment is underway in New South Wales. The research is being conducted by the NSW Department of Primary Industries (NSW DPI) and CSIRO at the DPI Beef Industry Centre at Armidale.

Bovine TB Outbreak: 6 Questions with CFIA's Chief Veterinary Officer  
CBC News, Canada | December 4, 2016
More than 22,000 cattle at farms in Alberta and Saskatchewan are quarantined due to bovine tuberculosis, causing hardship for ranchers and millions in compensation payments and other costs.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is testing cattle to determine the extent of the outbreak and the source of the contagious bacterial infection. So far six cattle have tested positive for bovine TB, all from one infected herd.

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