LEXINGTON, Ky. — You have probably noticed in recent years the emergence of a new term, “sustainable beef.” What this means and why we even need to discuss it is certainly topic for debate; however, major retail purchasers of beef in the United States have made declarations they will begin sourcing “sustainable beef” in the coming years. The term also appears frequently in questions posed to beef producers by our consumers. This means it will impact us whether we want it to or not. And why not? Too often beef has let others define our story and, when it comes to some of the key themes of sustainability, the U.S. beef community has a great story to tell.
In this effort, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), a contractor to the Beef Checkoff, has undertaken significant scientific research into the sustainability of beef production. The first phase of the Beef Industry Sustainability Assessment has been completed using data from the Meat Animal Research Center in Clay Center, Nebraska. The results were also certified by NSF International, lending credible, third-party verification to the study, helping to prove that beef is sustainable. The results of phase one can be found here: http://beefresearch.org/
In phase two of the assessment, the work is being expanded to include data from all of the individual cattle-producing regions across the country. Regional data collection is necessary to continue to improve the accuracy of the beef-industry sustainability research. To learn more about regional data collection and to see what the data collection results look like once they are aggregated, please read “Why is regional data collection important for sustainability research? and “Characteristics of Beef Cattle Operations in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas. By looking at regional practices and incorporating that information into the study, the research will be more representative and we will be better able to tell the beef story through sound science. To accomplish this goal we need help from you, beef producers!
We are asking cow-calf and stocker operators to complete this 15-minute survey. All results will be confidential and will not be traceable to the individual operation. https://www.surveymonkey.com/
We are asking feedyard and backgrounder operators to complete this 25-minute survey. All results will be confidential and will not be traceable to the individual operation. https://www.surveymonkey.com/
The Beef Industry Sustainability Assessment is not an attempt to force a change in practices or advocate a one-size-fits-all approach to beef production. There are few things less sustainable than a one-size-fits-all approach. Rather, we are working to benchmark and showcase beef’s improved sustainability over time. If you are interested in learning more about this Beef Checkoff Research Program please visit www.beefresearch.org. Thank you for your help in this important project for the beef industry.
Thank You for your time,
Kentucky Beef Network
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