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


Executive Director's Message

I will be in Ethiopia next week to attend the Global Agenda for Sustainable Livestock meeting. Led by FAO, GASL brings representatives from countries around the world together with multiple stakeholders representing commercial interests from the value chain, input suppliers and producer organisations together with NGOs and grassroots organisations representing indigenous people.

The agenda focuses on:

  1. Food security and health: The livestock sector is critical to human health and global food and nutritional security.
  2. Equity and growth: Livestock is essential to the livelihoods of an estimated one billion poor. The Agenda supports a viable growth in value chains that have access to all necessary resources and services, and in which the poor can find secure livelihoods and participate in growing markets or take up other opportunities outside the sector.
  3. Resources and climate: Livestock production based mainly on materials not competing with direct use as human food, and incentives and rewards for environmental stewardship will allow the sector to transition to existing and new resource use efficient ways of production and a greater contribution to climate change mitigation.

The Agenda supports a viable growth in value chains that have access to all necessary resources and services, and in which the poor can find secure livelihoods and participate in growing markets or take up other opportunities outside the sector.

While GASL's purpose is well aligned with ours, it brings together all livestock sectors, and greater government representation than GRSB and is therefore an important forum for us to be engaged with. The week thereafter I will be in China to discuss sustainable sourcing of beef, which is a hot topic at the moment given the rapid increase in demand from growing economies in the region (see e.g. this story: The Meat Hook: Satiating Asia's Demand for Beef).

I look forward to updating you on both events in the coming weeks.

Ruaraidh Petre
Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef
Executive Director
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Sustainable Agricultural Development for Food Security and Nutrition: What Roles for Livestock? (PDF)
Committee on World Food Security
The Committee on World Food Security (CFS), 43nd Session, 2016, endorsed the recommendations on "Sustainable agricultural development for food security and nutrition: what roles for livestock?" The following recommendations have been elaborated building upon the main findings of the CFS High Level Panel of Expert's report on Sustainable agricultural development for food security and nutrition: what roles for livestock?

The sustainable development of agriculture, including livestock, is essential for poverty reduction and the achievement of food security and nutrition. The recommendations aim to strengthen the contribution of the livestock sector1 to sustainable agricultural development for food security and nutrition (FSN) and contribute to the progressive realization of the right to adequate food, in the overall context of achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, recognizing the essential role of smallholders in achieving food security and nutrition.

Is Sustainable Beef All Talk and No Action?
Bryan Weech, Beef Magazine | April 24, 2017
There's been a lot of talk about sustainable beef. However, the question is will it ever translate into action? And if it does, what will action look like?

You may have noticed the large number of industry events that are either focused on sustainability or weave the topic into their agenda. Seems like almost every industry meeting these days has sustainability as a component of the event.

Can You Innovate Your Way to Better Beef, Chicken, or Fish?
Beth Kowitt, Fortune | April 25, 2017
A promising class of startups believes the solution is not to ask eaters to give up meat but instead to make actual meat more sustainable and alternatives more convincingly meatlike. And the companies are turning to cutting–edge food technology to do it.

Animal Welfare in the Beef Industry: Part 2  
By Bernie Rollin, PhD, Bovine Veterinarian | April 28, 2017
The development of feedlots for beef cattle represents a transitional step midway between husbandry agriculture of the sort represented by extensive cattle ranching and thoroughly industrialized, high– confinement agriculture represented in its extreme by the egg industry.

After the so–called "green revolution" generated a massive increase in the cultivation of grain, particularly corn, people realized that an obvious pathway to adding value to grain is to convert it to beef. No longer was the size of one's beef operation limited by the amount of grazing land one controlled. After spending nine months to a year grazing, cattle could be moved into pens and fed until market weight is reached.

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Bord Bia Leads Study Visit to New Zealand  
Irish Farmers Journal | April 26, 2017
Earlier this month, Bord Bia undertook a study visit to New Zealand in conjunction with the Irish beef and lamb industry. The group, representing both processing and farming sectors, had an intensive itinerary spanning both the North and South Islands.

The participants received a unique insight into New Zealand's red meat industry, by meeting with some of the country's leading livestock producers and processing groups. The farming enterprises visited were entirely pasture–based, with no winter housing. Their focus on grassland utilisation was highly impressive, as well as on breeding functional, docile animals which perform well with low labour input.

Cargill Sells Last Cattle Feedlots, Exiting That Portion of The Beef Industry
By Kristen Leigh Painter, Minneapolis Star Tribune | April 26, 2017
Cargill Inc. is selling its two remaining cattle feedlots in Kansas and Colorado, marking the company's complete exit from this aspect of the beef industry.

The Wayzata–based agribusiness giant is still a major player in beef production with multiple beef processing plants across the southern, central and western U.S. Cargill hopes to finalize the sale of its Leoti, Kan., and Yuma, Colo., feed yards to Omaha–based Green Plains Inc. after regulatory approval. Green Plains is purchasing the yards for $36.7 million, excluding working capital.

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TOP SENATOR: Now That TPP Is Dead, the US Needs a Bilateral Trade Agreement With Japan
Sen. John Thune, Business Insider | April 20, 2017
The Trans–Pacific Partnership trade agreement between the United States and a number of Asia–Pacific countries was designed to open new markets for American goods overseas by reducing or eliminating burdensome tariffs faced by U.S. producers. In the wake of the decision to bow out of the Trans–Pacific Partnership (TPP), we need to look for alternate ways to help U.S. producers so that America can compete and win in the global economy.

One of the first things we should do to help American producers is negotiate a bilateral trade deal with Japan, the largest and most important market for U.S. goods among the TPP countries.

Why the World Needs to Sit Up and Take Notice of India's War on Meat  
BY Vir Sanghvi, South China Morning Post | April 23, 2017
The current anti–beef campaign has two origins, both rooted in a conception of Hinduism. The first is the view that because the cow is sacred to Hindus, it should never be slaughtered. The second is a more general proposition: good people are, almost by definition, vegetarians, and all meat eating is fundamentally evil.

As the beef–ban is slowly being recognised as a fact of modern Indian life, it is the vegetarian–only campaign that is gathering momentum.

63 Indicted in Brazilian Meat Scandal
Traci Eatherton, Tri–State Livestock News | April 21, 2017
Brazil's Federal Police has published its final report involving the country's meat scandal, and has indicted 63 people for participating in a corruption scheme, selling expired or adulterated meat, according to a China news agency.

All have been charged with passive corruption, use of forbidden or illicit substances, falsification of medical records, adulteration of food products or substances, embezzlement, malversation, and use of false documentation, among others.

The investigation, which spanned over several years, broke on March 17, causing a total of 45 nations to implement some kind of restrictions on imports from Brazil. By, March 29, only 13 remained closed, accounting for only 5 percent of Brazil meat exports.

It has reportedly cost Brazil's meat export market billions in revenues.

R–CALF Wants Brazil Beef Ban Until COOL Resurrected
Matthew Weaver, Capital Press | April 25, 2017
An independent rancher organization is petitioning the White House to ban beef imports from Brazil until country of origin labels are required on all beef.

Investigators in Brazil say health inspectors were bribed to overlook expired meat and chemicals and other products that were added to meat to improve its appearance and smell.

The petition had more than 1,700 signatures as of April 25. The group must gather 100,000 signatures by May 13 to get a response from the White House.

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