About 120 beef producers, retailers, foodservice operators, processors, academics, allied industry partners and non-governmental met July 14-15 for the first U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef General Assembly meeting.
The USRSB was formed in March 2015 and has 93 founding members. It is a multi-stakeholder initiative developed to advance, support and communicate continuous improvement in sustainability of the U.S. beef value chain.
"Continuously improving beef sustainability requires the cooperation and collaboration of every segment of the beef value chain, from the rancher to the consumer," said USRSB Board Chairman Nicole Johnson-Hoffman of Cargill.
Johnson-Hoffman said the General Assembly meeting represented the first opportunity for the members to gather in one location and set a course toward establishing criteria and actions for mutual goals.
The primary outcome of the two-day event was to align members to five objectives of the USRSB: 1) the establishment of sustainability indicators; 2) development of a method to verify those indicators; 3) creation of a program philosophy for implementing sustainability objectives; 4) generation of field projects that prove sustainability concepts; and 5) establishment of goals for progress.
At the meeting, USRSB members voted to ratify the following Board of Directors:
Allied: Mark Shaw, Micro Technologies; Jennie Hodgen, Merck Animal Health
Civil Society: Nancy Labbe, World Wildlife Fund; Chad Ellis, Noble Foundation
Processor: Nicole Johnson-Hoffman, Cargill (Chairman); Cameron Bruett, JBS
Producer: John Butler, Beef Marketing Group (Chairman-Elect); Ben Weinheimer, Texas Cattle Feeders Association
Retail: Brittni Furrow, Walmart; Susan Forsell, McDonald's Corporation
"Cattle producers are committed to raising a sustainable, safe and nutritious product for consumers around the world," said USRSB Chairman-Elect John Butler, a Kansas cattle producer. "The USRSB allows everyone in the beef value chain to work together to positively shape the industry for future generations."
Related: Sustainable Beef Standards Released
Throughout the two-day event, attendees reviewed sustainability efforts in the crop, dairy and potato industries, as well as results of beef sustainability pilot projects in Florida and Canada.
Three USRSB working groups – Indicators and Goals for Progress, Verification, and Field Projects – met to discuss their objectives, scope of work and next steps.