Cargill Cattle Feeders, LLC, the cattle supply arm of the company's U.S. beef business, has entered into an agreement with Wichita-based consultancy Kennedy and Coe, LLC, in a joint effort to create a verified beef supply chain sustainability assessment program for Cargill feed yards. Kennedy and Coe will leverage its extensive beef-industry and sustainability expertise and unique ResourceMax assessment service developed by the company's Vela Environmental division.
Based on the successful development of benchmarking and measurement criteria, this type of assessment could eventually be expanded to include cattle production in collaboration with stocker operators, ranchers, as well as with Cargill's strategic feed yard partners.
"As global demand for animal proteins to nourish people continues to rise in concert with increasing population and consumer income levels, it is important to improve the way we use resources to produce beef," said John Keating, president of Cargill's North American beef business. "As a leading beef producer, we believe it is critical to improve the way we manage resources, and we will develop a way to measure the effective use of inputs and outputs ranging from water and feed, to worker safety, manure management, air quality, energy use, land stewardship and animal welfare. We believe this is a step in the right direction that complements our overall focus on sustainable supply chains and will also benefit our customers."
The assessment will begin with a yearlong focus on the economic, environmental and community impacts of Cargill's four feed yards in Texas, Kansas and Colorado. After the initial phase of discovery and data collection performed by Cargill personnel, ResourceMax reports will be generated, the data will be analyzed and benchmarking will be established to support ongoing improvement that will be appropriate, meaningful, holistic and verified. Kansas State University's Dr. Dan Thomson, bovine veterinarian and director of the school's Beef Cattle Institute, will provide technical support. Cargill beef customers also will be able to provide their sustainability criteria, resulting in a customized assessment report that gives them data to measure and document their organization's supply chain sustainability progress.
"The goal of this project is to provide sustainability information that stakeholders find relevant across the supply chain, including suppliers, customers, NGOs, producer groups, trade associations and consumers," stated Sara Harper, Kennedy and Coe's director of sustainability and supply chain solutions. "Today, people have a desire to know how the food they eat is produced and where it comes from. Cargill is pioneering transparency and collaboration with its beef customers to share information important to consumers."
"Cargill is a founding member of the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, and we believe this initiative will align well with that organization's principles and criteria," explained Keating. "Given that beef will continue to be an important form of protein for people, we want to do as much as possible to ensure that it is produced responsibly and sustainably for current and future generations to enjoy."