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


Executive Director's Message

As I write this week's Connect, we are working on finalising the strategic plan that we worked on through our earlier questionnaires and sessions in Chicago. One of the things we agreed on was that GRSB will be setting goals for our organisation, so we are working on what those may look like.

The obvious place to start is with materiality analyses done by each of the roundtables, and indeed our own Principles and Criteria, which we created as an expression of materiality in 2014. There are going to be differences between regions, just as we established in our global metrics report last year. However, we can expect there to be some issues that come up for all regions.

Having examined all of our regional members' materiality analyses, we will create groups to work on the most common areas of overlap. All members of GRSB will be invited to participate, and we will aim to have representation from all regions in each of those groups, which may mean some sequential work to avoid overload. While I cannot say with certainty what areas identified to set goals for will be, I have looked for articles this week that reflect common areas of discussion in beef sustainability.


Ruaraidh Petre
Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef
Executive Director
Welcome to the Table...
Minerva Foods
Dateline: June 2019 | Constituency: Commerce & Processing – Organization
Minerva Foods is one of the South American leaders in the production and sale of fresh beef and its byproducts, as well as live cattle exports, and it also maintains operations in the beef, pork and poultry processing segments. The Company operates 25 slaughterhouses, 11 of which in Brazil, five in Paraguay, three in Uruguay, five in Argentina and one in Colombia, with a combined slaughter capacity of 26,380 head of cattle per day.

It also maintains a meat processing plant in Brazil – Minerva Fine Foods and two proteins processing plants located in the cities of Rosário and Pilar, in Argentina which are part of the Swift Argentina band, with capacity to process 162 and 55 ton/day, respectively. The Company exports to more than 100 countries in five continents through thirteen sales offices and operates 14 distribution centers, 9 of which in Brazil, one in Paraguay, two in Chile, one in Colômbia and one in Argentina.

Tyson Foods, Inc.
Dateline: June 2019 | Constituency: Commerce & Processing
Tyson Foods, Inc. is an American multinational corporation based in Springdale, Arkansas, that operates in the food industry. The company is the world's second largest processor and marketer of chicken, beef, and pork after JBS S.A. and annually exports the largest percentage of beef out of the United States.

Fatcows SRL
Dateline: June 2019 | Constituency: Producer/Producer Organization
We are small producers with a long–term vision of the business. We grow grass feed cattle in the North of Argentina. We are looking forward to export meat in the mid–term.

Cabana La Pastoriza
Dateline: June 2019 | Constituency: Producer/Producer Organization
We are an Angus breeder ranch, located in Argentina. We have been in the cattle industry for 3 generations, We work permanently in genetics improvements and we sell bulls and heifers all around the country and the world.

Meat & Livestock Australia
Dateline: June 2019 | Constituency: Producer/Producer Organization
Through our subsidiary companies, we also accelerate innovation across the value chain and deliver the industry's integrity and on–farm quality assurance programs. MLA is primarily funded by transaction levies paid on livestock sales by producers and are used to support marketing, research and development activities. MLA also receives matching funding from the Australian Government, unmatched grants and co–investment from other industry stakeholders.

The Role of Roundtables


Beef Sustainability: It's Not A Buzzword Anymore
Ben Weinheimer, BEEF Magazine | June 12, 2019
As we continue to become a more technologically dependent and sophisticated society, the knowledge gap between consumers and food will grow. It is up to the industry to fill that gap with truth and accurate information.

The U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (USRSB) was formed for this very reason. It is our goal to make the U.S. beef supply chain the trusted global leader in environmentally sound, socially responsible and economically viable beef. This means sustainable beef comes from profitable operations and businesses committed to caring for animals, the environment, employees and communities.


Deforestation / Land Conversion


Top Food Firms Spot Supply–Chain Risks to Forests in Real Time
Michael Taylor, Thomson Reuters Foundation via Money Web | June 17, 2019
Deforestation is a key driver of global warming, accounting for about 15% of emissions of heat–trapping gases.

The GFW Pro platform enables commodity producers and buyers, investors and green groups to act faster to protect forests. Food retailers and producers can monitor deforestation risks throughout their supply chains in real time using satellite images accessed via a new website. More than 80 commodities companies and organisations are already using the website, including Cargill, Golden Agri–Resources, Louis Dreyfus Company, Mondelez, Olam, Procter & Gamble and Unilever.

Cargill Puts Up $30 Million to End Forest Destruction in Brazil
Kristen Leigh Painter, Minneapolis Star Tribune | June 13, 2019
Cargill is in a powerful position as the world's largest commodities trader and has taken steps in recent years to slow deforestation in those regions.

How Cattle Can Help Save the Birds of the Great Plains
Molly Loomis, National Geographic | December 18, 2018
Ranchers and environmentalists are partnering to curb the decline of prairies and songbirds. It's a sweltering summer day in central Montana. Here, in the heart of Big Sky country, no matter how hot it gets, blue jeans and cowboy boots are the norm, to protect against the whipping wind and the threat of thunderheads that can materialize without warning on the horizon.

Rancher Bill Milton surveys his land with wildlife biologist Dan Casey from a bumpy dirt road etched into the mottled green and gold landscape, 50 miles outside of Billings. Rolling through the land in Casey's Prius, we're on the western margin of the northern Great Plains, where shortgrass prairie once dominated the landscape. Casey points out an apple–sized bird on the right hand of the road.

Australia's Land Clearing "Crisis": 300 Scientists Call for Crackdown
By Lexi Metherell, ABC AU | March 11, 2019
More than 300 scientists have called for a halt to soaring land clearing across Australia.Native vegetation protection laws have been relaxed over the last decade in some states. New South Wales and Queensland are considered the worst offenders, leading to Australia now being described internationally as a "deforestation hotspot".


Antimicrobial Stewardship

Antimicrobial Resistance Probably Isn't What You Think
Victoria G. Myers, Progressive Farm | June 3, 2019
A recent summary from the FDA looked at the amount of antimicrobials sold or distributed for use in food–production animals before and after implementation of the VFD. The highest reductions were reported in antimicrobials in feed, followed by water. The chicken industry led with a 47% decrease. Cattle and swine were each 35% lower.

Joined Up Approach to Antimicrobial Resistance in US Cattle Production Urged
Aerin Einstein–Curtis, Food Navigator | June 6, 2019
Members of both the veterinary and agricultural production worlds need to work together to address antimicrobial resistance in cattle production, said Brian Lubbers, director of clinical microbiology, Kansas State University veterinary diagnostic laboratory.

Official US Studies Help Reduce Antimicrobial Use in Pigs and Cattle
Brenda Dionisi, Global Meat News | June 5, 2019
New data from the United States Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will help guide US animal health officials in ensuring livestock producers use antimicrobials in a more judicious way, said this federal government agency.


The Role of Ruminants in Our Food System

Alltech ONE19 Speakers Champion Beef as Way to Feed Hungry Planet
Amanda Radke, AG Week | Jun 3, 2019
How do farmers and ranchers address the need for safe, affordable and widely accessible food to nourish a growing world population while also practicing sustainable, regenerative agriculture to protect our planet's natural resources?

That's a big question, but the ONE: Alltech Ideas Conference in Lexington, Ky., on May 20–22, aimed to provide answers. The conference, also known as ONE19, included 116 speakers communicating to 3,500 attendees from 70 countries.

Purpose At Work: How To Engage Consumers to Do Good at Scale
Simon Mainwaring, Forbes | June 4, 2019
People are looking for solutions to today's most pressing issues. Corporate impact initiatives show consumers that your brand shares their values. While corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a great start, consumers want to participate in social impact. Brands that offer people a way to make a difference on issues they care about strengthen their emotional bonds with consumers.


Carbon Balance of the Beef Industry


Carbon Neutral Livestock Production — Consumers Want It and Farmers Say It Is Achievable
Angus Verley, Aneeta Bhole, Tyne Logan and Lydia Burton, ABC AU | June 7, 2019
Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) believes a zero carbon footprint nationally — considered by some the holy grail for the red meat industry — is possible by 2030.

It is a target that has the backing of some of the industry's leading farmers, and the demand for projects is on the rise. Climate Friendly, a carbon farming project developer, said the policy was a "hotbed of action".

While Australia is making great strides towards carbon neutrality it's clear that targets have to be designed to be feasible and to benefit producers. The decision of the New Zealand government to require a significant reduction in gross methane output, unrelated to sequestration or offsets is much more challenging for producers and can only be met by reduction in stock numbers or significant reductions in Methane emissions per head (through a combination of feed additives, genetics and other efficiency gains). This is an unnecessarily harsh approach as it is clear that to attain "Net Zero" in terms of Global Warming Potential, requires lower reductions in gross methane emissions, and can of course be offset through sequestration.
Methane Targets Will Challenge Sector – Analyst
Sally Rae, Otago Daily Times | June 4, 2019
Achieving proposed methane targets under the Government's Zero Carbon Bill by 2050 will require changes to future farming practices, Rabobank's animal protein and sustainability analyst Blake Holgate says.

Beef Industry Achieving 'Major Milestones' Towards More Sustainable Production
Beef Central | June 6, 2019
A report card released today into the sustainability of the Australian beef industry highlights the advances being delivered by producers, and demonstrates that consumers can have trust in the way red meat is produced, from paddock to plate.

The Red Meat Advisory Council's 2019 Australian Beef Sustainability Annual Update shows an industry that is achieving major milestones in its care for people, land and livestock.

The report card, released at a dinner in Sydney last night, demonstrates the contribution that cattle producers make to sustainably managing almost half of the Australian landscape and the significant contribution the sector has made to the national emissions profile and health of regional and rural communities.

Carbon Neutrality Part of NAPCo's New Beef Brand Program
Beef Central | June 6, 2019
As part of its move towards launching a branded beef program in coming months, the North Australian Pastoral Co has strengthened its environmental credentials, becoming Australia's first corporate cattle producer to embrace carbon neutral status. "We have cattle grazing pastures now which have been continuously grazed for 140 years, and to me that is sustainability in action," says former NAPCo managing director Nigel Alexander, a great–great grandson of one of the company's founders, in the brand's pre–launch awareness.


Animal Welfare


New Cattle Care System Unveiled
Aidan Fortune, Global Meat News | June 11, 2019
US certification body Food Safety Net Services Certification and Audit (FSNS C&A) has announced the creation of the FSNS C&A Temple Grandin Responsible Cattle Care Program.


Regenerative Production Practices


How Regenerative Land and Livestock Management Practices Can Sequester Carbon
Shauna Sadowski, Green Biz | June 7, 2019
Today, Harris operates his farm as an ecosystem, grazing cattle, sheep and poultry in rotations, using the Savory Institute's holistic planned grazing model. Through holistic planned grazing, animals are frequently moved between paddocks with time between grazings built in for plant recovery. This process aims to mimic the way that wild herds of ruminants move across grasslands. As herds graze, dung, urine and old plant matter are trampled into the ground where they can decompose and enrich the soil's network of microbial life.

Controlling Kangaroos to Increase Carbon Flows
Soils for Life | May 17, 2019
Any animal that is eating grass when it is trying to grow immediately after rain is reducing the flow of carbon into the paddock. This results in reduced ground cover and lowers potential production. If the grazing pressure is excessive it can reduce paddock health. This is why removing sheep and cattle from pastures whenever possible after rain is a good idea, but kangaroos are an animal that we can't manage when they are present.

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