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U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef Adopts Industry Framework
Feedstuffs | May 1, 2019
Major food and retail companies, cattle producers, veterinarians, scientists and non–government organizations (NGOs) adopted the U.S. Beef Industry Sustainability Framework this week to strengthen the sustainability of U.S. beef. The framework is a product of the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (USRSB), a multi–stakeholder organization whose 116 members represent 30% of the nation's cattle herd, more than 20 billion lb. of beef processed and more than 100 million consumers.
USRSB said the framework leverages individual opportunities for continuous improvement in sustainability unique to businesses and operations that raise, process or sell beef in the U.S. It also allows individual operations to voluntarily assess their sustainability efforts.
"Today, the U.S. beef industry serves a delicious, healthy and sustainable product," said 2018–19 USRSB chair Dr. Kim Stackhouse–Lawson, JBS USA director of sustainability. "The U.S. Beef Industry Sustainability Framework is about telling that story to consumers by improving transparency as well as exploring opportunities to more responsibly use resources, raise animals and care for the people who help beef get to the American dinner table."
Reef Beef Sinks Grazing BMP
Jason Nason, BEEF Central | May 3, 2019
the global head of the beef sustainability roundtable.
Global Roundtable for Beef Sustainability chair Nicole Johnson–Hoffman, NAB Natural Value manager James Bentley and AgForce Queensland president Georgie Somerset at Beef 2018.
Speaking at Beef 2018 in Rockhampton, GRSB president Nicole Hoffman Johnson said the farmer–led basis of the program was what truly set it apart and made it world leading on the global beef stage: "Other countries have done some sustainability work that they're very proud of and they should be, but they haven't put the farmer at the centre of it," she said.
The program, developed over the past 10 years by NRM group the Fitzroy Basin Association, producer representative group AgForce and the Queensland Department of Agriculture, now involves more than 3000 participating beef properties and has been touted as a model for the national beef industry to use to maintain and grow consumer trust.
But almost one year to the week since Ms Johnson–Hoffman's offered her glowing praise for the program, it has been scuttled over fears the State Government could compromise or misuse participating producers' private data.
Farming Minister Robert Goodwill Backs Role of Grazing Livestock in Climate Change Battle
Ben Barnett, The Yorkshire Post | May 3, 2019
Grazing livestock in Yorkshire's uplands are part of the solution to climate change, not part of the problem, the Farming Minister has said.
The Government's chief advisory committee on climate change has recommended people eat less meat as part of sweeping lifestyle and societal changes to cut emissions to net zero by 2050. While Robert Goodwill, who is also the Conservative MP for Whitby and Scarborough, believes livestock production must become more sustainable, he said there are simply no agricultural alternatives to grazing that are suited to rough upland terrain.
The Defra Minister, whose family has farmed on the Castle Howard estate since 1850, suggested the Government will help British agriculture hit its own net zero carbon target via the Environmental Land Management Scheme that it has proposed.
Under the scheme, which is intended to pay support money to farmers for delivering "public goods", farmers could get income for carbon capture, he said.
The Fight to Define Regenerative Agriculture
Jim Giles, Green Biz | April 24, 2019
Regenerative agriculture could convert farms from carbon sources to carbon sinks, and the buzz around the idea is intense. Major companies, including General Mills and Ben and Jerry's, are expressing interest and making commitments.
A recent session on the topic at Expo West, the huge natural products trade show, was filled to overflowing. But some insiders also see trouble ahead. There is no agreed way to certify regenerative products, and as multiple initiatives rush to fill that gap there is a risk of diluting effort and confusing consumers.
The need to change the way we farm is not in doubt. Fertilizer use and livestock grazing release nitrous dioxide and methane respectively, and the sector as a whole was responsible for 9 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 2016. At the same time, the degradation of soils by industrial farming practices is one reason why the United Nations estimates that the productivity of 20 percent of the planet's vegetated surface is declining.