Beef sustainability assessment preliminary results presented

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Oklahoma cattleman and vice-chair of the checkoff’s producer communications working group Richard Gebhart discussed the importance of sustainability during the press conference announcing preliminary results of the Beef Industry Sustainability Assessment. (Journal photo by Jennifer Carrico.)

The Beef Promotion Operating Committee released the preliminary results of the Beef Industry Sustainability Assessment during a press conference held during the 2013 Cattle Industry Convention in Tampa, Fla.

“Sustainability doesn’t have an on/off switch. It’s a journey,” said Oklahoma cattleman Richard Gebhart. “This particular journey started two years ago when the Beef Promotion Operating Committee decided to fund the sustainability project. Raising cattle in a sustainable way has been important to the cattle industry for a long time, but this is the first opportunity we have had to use science to tell that story.”

This assessment is on-going and has been conducted by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association, a contractor to the Beef Checkoff Program. BASF Corporation and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service have played a part in collecting and interpreting the data needed for this assessment.

NCBA director of sustainability Kim Stackhouse-Lawson said this assessment will provide a roadmap for the journey toward a more sustainable beef industry. “The U.S. beef industry is one of the most complex biological, economic and social supply chains in the world. Measuring each of these takes time and the results will be critically important to the future stability and profitability of the industry.”

A sustainable beef industry is critically important as we work toward the goal of feeding 9 billion people by the year 2050, a global population explosion that experts estimate will require at least 70 percent more food with few additional resources.

“We have a sustainable product today, but we want a more sustainable product for tomorrow,” she said.

More results are expected in April 2013.

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