Integrity Beef Sustainability Pilot Project Unveiled Nationally- Two Year Project to Verify Sustainable Practices Along Beef ChainMon, 27 Feb 2017 06:04:08 CST
Environmental, social and economic sustainability is a long-held objective of the United States beef industry and the focus of a new, national research project that has been dubbed the Integrity Beef Sustainability Pilot Project.
McDonald’s USA, Tyson Foods, The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation, Beef Marketing Group (BMG) and Golden State Foods on Friday announced the two-year pilot research project that will seek methods to improve sustainability across the entire beef value chain, test metrics established by the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (USRSB) and explore scalable solutions that could be applicable to beef production across the country. Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays was the moderator of a panel of principles in the project that unveiled details of the plan to participants of the 2017 Texoma Cattlemen's Conference on Friday in Ardmore. Hays offers a special audio overview of the plan, featuring comments from the Noble Foundation, the Beef Marketing Group and McDonald's. You can hear that special report by clicking on the LISTEN BAR below.
While the project was made public for the first time on Friday, a national release of the information is happening on this Monday morning, with Noble Foundation officials expecting media interst from across the country because of the efforts to provide a verifiable chain of sustainability from the bite of grass a beef cow eats to the end user enjoying a McDonald's Big Mac.
The Noble Foundation, the largest, independent agricultural research organization in the United States, will coordinate and provide project management services for the overall project.
“Our efforts will examine every step of beef production from the ranch to the consumer’s plate,” said Billy Cook, Ph.D., director of the Noble Foundation Agricultural Division. “For generations, agricultural producers have found ways to increase production through more efficient practices and responsible land stewardship. This project translates this approach of continuous improvement into a real-world, systems-wide application that holds the potential to someday benefit producers and customers around the globe.”
“McDonald’s is synonymous with burgers, which is why we believe we have a responsibility to help evolve our industry to produce beef in a more sustainable way,” said Rickette Collins, McDonald’s senior director of global supply chain. “We see this program as another step forward on the journey toward a more sustainable beef supply and, through collaboration, will help develop a more sustainable and efficient beef supply chain that benefits the environment, producers and, ultimately, our customers.”
Each of the five organizations involved in the project represent a different step in the beef production chain. Ranchers who are a part of the Noble Foundation’s Integrity Beef Alliance will raise the cattle for the project. The Integrity Beef program emphasizes progressive management methods, ranch stewardship and humane care of all livestock.
BMG will feed the cattle in one of their feedyards in Kansas. BMG, which has been at the forefront of the sustainability effort, is a cooperative that works with local farmers, cow-calf producers, stocker operators and auction markets to maximize efficiency not only in their feedyard but across the entire value chain.
“Each of our collaborating organizations actively seeks new methods and innovations that ultimately lead to increased sustainability,” said John Butler, BMG chief executive officer. “Imagine what will happen when you bring all five organizations together to examine the entire process. The possibilities of additional knowledge, improved efficiencies and new ideas are almost limitless. ”
BMG will send the cattle to Tyson Foods for harvesting. Some of the meat will then go to Golden State Foods, which supplies McDonald’s with some of the 100 percent beef patties served at its restaurants.
“We’re pleased to be part of this pilot project, which complements Tyson Foods’ ongoing commitment to operate sustainably,” said Leigh Ann Johnston, Tyson Foods director of sustainability. “We’re continually exploring new ways to be more efficient in every corner of our business, including energy and water conservation, and recycling.”
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