A group of 130 representatives from across the beef value chain gathered this week in Denver, Colo., for the third annual U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (USRSB) General Assembly Meeting to share accomplishments from the past year and to set the direction of efforts moving forward.
Sessions were held to update attendees on the progress of working groups, which included the Indicator Working Group’s efforts to finalize the beef sustainability metrics. The fourth iteration of the metric report was recently distributed to USRSB membership for review. Additionally, the Engagement, Measurement & Progress Working Group is developing Sustainability Assessment Guides -- tools for the beef supply chain to use to self-assess sustainability efforts.
Other meeting highlights focused on findings and updates in beef sustainability research and beef consumer segmentation market research.
Ashley McDonald, senior director for sustainability for the National Cattlemen’s Beef Assn., said USRSB was formed in 2015 to collaborate on improving the sustainability of the U.S. beef industry.
“When we come together, it’s really a great forum to discuss what consumers are talking about, to talk about what producers are doing on farms and ranches and feedlots across this country and to share that knowledge between the different sectors,” she said.
The beef industry is continually achieving more efficiencies, McDonald said, adding that there are a lot of exciting things going on in the beef industry that should be shared with the entire beef value chain.
USRSB business updates included new board of director election results. The 2017-18 board of directors includes: chair Rickette Collins, McDonald’s Corp.; chair-elect Kim Stackhouse-Lawson, JBS USA; secretary/treasurer Debbie Lyons-Blythe, Blythe Family Farms LLC; past-chair John Butler, Beef Marketing Group, and members Ben Weinheimer, Texas Cattle Feeders Assn.; Steve Wooten, Colorado Cattlemen’s Assn.; Todd Armstrong, Elanco Animal Health; Jessica Finck, Merck Animal Health; Meghan Mueseler, Cargill; Keith Anderkin, Arby’s; Nancy Labbe, World Wildlife Fund, and Chad Ellis, Noble Research Institute.
The roundtable currently has 104 members and includes representation from producers, allied industry, packers/processors, civil society and retail.
Moving forward, the organization will focus on finalizing the sector-specific metrics, developing the Sustainability Assessment Guides and supporting pilot projects, field trials and research with leadership from the Engagement, Measurement & Progress Working Group. USRSB continues to work toward ensuring that U.S. beef is the trusted global leader in environmentally sound, socially responsible and economically viable beef.