Cargill Cattle Feeders said this week it has entered into an agreement with consultancy Kennedy and Coe, LLC, to create a verified beef supply chain sustainability assessment program for Cargill feed yards.
Cargill said the 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.
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.
Related: Sustainable Beef Standards Released
After the initial phase of discovery and data collection performed by Cargill personnel, Kennedy and Coe's ResourceMax assessment service – developed by the company's Vela Environmental division – will generate reports. The report data will be analyzed and benchmarking will be established to support ongoing improvement that will be "appropriate, meaningful, holistic and verified," Cargill said.
"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," said John Keating, president of Cargill's North American beef business.
"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," Keating added.
Kansas State University's Dr. Dan Thomson, 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.
Cargill is a founding member of the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef.
"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."
Source: Cargill Cattle Feeders