The U.S. beef industry has announced initiation of a landmark checkoff-funded sustainability assessment to quantify inputs, outputs and identify opportunities for continuous improvement in beef cattle raising practices.
The Beef Checkoff will partner with BASF Corp. to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the current state of the U.S. beef industry and identify the most important areas of focus for future innovation.
"We've all heard the terms 'lifecycle assessment and 'carbon footprint,' but what makes this project and our partnership with BASF unique is our holistic focus on sustainability, including not only the environmental aspects of beef production, but also the social and economic aspects of what we do," says Bo Reagan, senior vice president of research, education and innovation for the National Cattlemen's Beef Association.
"This project has been thoughtfully designed to recognize the diversity of the U.S. beef industry while also being scientifically rigorous and credible, and perhaps most important, ends with tools cattlemen can use to improve."
According to Reagan, the first step is to work with BASF to conduct what's known as a hot spot analysis to assess stakeholder perceptions of the beef industry. BASF will then conduct a comprehensive cradle to grave lifecycle assessment of beef production. Research projects will then be developed to give producers tools to enhance the sustainability of their operations.
"While U.S. cattlemen are generally recognized around the world for having top notch practices and environmental stewardship, we also recognize that we must continue improving in order to meet growing consumer needs in the future," says Oklahoma rancher Richard Gebhart.
"It's clear to me after sitting on the advisory panel for this project that sustainability is a journey, not a destination. That's why it was important for us to fund this project. It will help us raise more sustainable beef over time by identifying opportunities to make continuous improvements in technologies and best management practices into the future."
Today's beef enjoys successes and a strong positive reputation because cattlemen and women have historically committed to protecting natural resources and raising more with fewer resources, advancing animal care and food safety, and contributing to their rural communities throughout America.
"The U.S. beef industry has demonstrated it is committed to continuous improvement over time. We look forward to working with BASF on this important project," says Reagan.