Explore Beef - Explore Beef News http://www.explorebeef.org/news.aspx Explore Beef News en-EN Explore Beef News Cylosoft, Inc. Thu, 01 Mar 2012 05:05:10 GMT 20 Tracking Beef’s Shrinking Footprint http://www.explorebeef.org/news.aspx?id=1349

Tracking Beef’s Shrinking Footprint

New study in Journal of Animal Science documents shrinking environmental footprint of beef over past 30 years

December 19, 2011 (Centennial, CO.) – A study published in this month’s Journal of Animal Science found that raising a pound of beef in the United States today uses significantly fewer natural resources, including land, water, feed and fuel than in the past. “The Environmental Impact of Beef Production in the United States: 1977 compared with 2007” (Journal of Animal Science, December 18, 2011) by Jude Capper, Ph.D., Washington State University, documents that each pound of beef raised in 2007 used 33 percent less land, 12 percent less water, 19 percent less feed and 9 percent less fossil fuel energy than equivalent beef production in 1977. Waste outputs were similarly reduced, shrinking the carbon footprint of beef by 16.3 percent in 30 years.

According to Capper’s research, improvements in the way cattle are raised and fed in the United States between 1977 and 2007 yielded 13 percent more total beef from 30 percent fewer animals. Raising more beef from fewer animals maximizes natural resources while providing essential nutrients for the human diet. As the population increases, it is crucial to continue the improvements demonstrated over the past 30 years to meet demand for nutrient-rich beef while reducing resource use and mitigating environmental impact. Turning back the clock on these advancements is not the solution to feeding a world population that recently reached 7 billion and will grow to 9.5 billion by the year 2050, concludes the author.

“As the number of mouths to feed increases and the quality of diets in many areas around the world improves, the demand for nutrient-rich protein like beef will increase,” says Capper. “At the same time, resources like land, water and fossil fuels will become increasingly scarce. These realities are like two trains speeding toward each other on the same track. If we listen to alarmists shouting at us to slow down, we could face a head-on collision of epic proportions. The only way to avoid this disaster is to accelerate the pace of progress.

Capper attributes much of the reduction in beef’s environmental footprint to raising cattle on grass pasture before finishing them on an optimal balanced diet of grasses, grains and other forages in a feedyard. According to previous research conducted by Capper, each pound of grain-finished beef requires 45 percent less land, 76 percent less water and 49 percent less feed and  at the same time generates 51 percent less manure and 42 percent fewer carbon emissions than grass-finished beef.

“As we work on solutions for the future it is important to understand how far the U.S. livestock industry has come in reducing its environmental footprint in the recent past and how this significant reduction was achieved,” says Capper. “The facts are in. Improved cattle diets in the feedyard and responsible use of science-based technologies to improve the ability of cattle to convert feed to pounds of beef, reduces the amount of land, water and fossil fuels it takes to raise beef. “

Capper says focusing resources to provide more nutrient rich foods like beef, which provides more than 10 percent of the daily recommended value of ten essential nutrients and vitamins for less than ten percent of daily calories (based on a 2,000 calorie per day diet), is a critical success factor in meeting nutrition needs at home and abroad.

”Making the best use of resources like land, water and energy to raise nutrient-rich beef is the key to sustainability,” says Capper. “The result is delicious, healthful beef you can feel good about.”

# # #

About the Beef Checkoff 
The Beef Checkoff Program was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. The Checkoff assesses $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, in addition to a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products. States retain up to 50 cents on the dollar and forward the other 50 cents per head to the Cattlemen's Beef Promotion and Research Board, which administers the national Checkoff program, subject to USDA approval.

About the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association 
The National Cattlemen's Beef Association is a contractor to the national Beef Checkoff Program, which is administered by the Cattlemen's Beef Board. Consumer-focused and producer-directed, NCBA and its state beef council partners work together as a marketing organization on behalf of the largest segment of the food and fiber industry.

Funded by The Beef Checkoff. © Copyright 2011, all rights reserved.

NCBA Mon, 19 Dec 2011 00:00:00 GMT
U.S. Beef Farmers and Ranchers Issue First Social Responsibility Report http://www.explorebeef.org/news.aspx?id=288 U.S. Beef Farmers and Ranchers Issue First Social Responsibility Report ‘Cattlemen’s Stewardship Review’ Chronicles U.S. Beef History, Outlines Industry Challenges and Offers Future Goals

DENVER (April 1, 2011) – U.S. cattlemen are pleased today to announce the release of “The Cattlemen’s Stewardship Review: Connecting Our Vision and Values,” which is a first-of-its-kind inside look at cattlemen’s influence on the nation’s communities, the economy, public health and the environment.

“Our jobs as cattlemen are complex and it takes an entire community of people to responsibly bring beef from our pastures to your plate,” said Richard Gebhart, Oklahoma cattleman, University of Tulsa professor and vice-chair of the beef industry’s Joint Issues Management Subcommittee. “After reading this, people might be pleasantly surprised to learn that they have more in common with the values and vision of cattlemen than they previously thought.” 

The “Cattlemen’s Stewardship Review” comes at a critical point in time when people are more disconnected from agriculture and food production, yet there is an increasing interest in knowing more about who raises food. In fact, nearly three-out-of-four people say that they want to know more about how beef is raised and who raises it, according to research conducted by The Beef Checkoff.

Built on a statement of seven fundamental principles adopted by U.S. cattle farmer and rancher leaders at the Annual Cattle Industry Convention in February 2011, the Review details cattlemen’s commitment to preserving the environment, raising healthy cattle, providing quality food, enhancing food safety, investing in communities, embracing innovation and creating a sustainable future for generations to come.

The Review is broken into five key sections, which showcase key accomplishments of U.S cattle farmers and ranchers, including:

  • U.S. cattlemen provide 20 percent of the world’s beef with only 7 percent of the world’s cattle, meaning that they are helping provide valuable nutrients to a growing population both in the United States and abroad.[1] 
  • Since 1993, cattlemen have invested $30 million of their beef checkoff dollars in safety improvements. Collaborative beef-industry efforts have helped reduce the incidence of foodborne illnesses, including E. coli O157:H7, which now affects less than one person in 100,000 people.[2] [3]
  • More than 90 percent of feedyard cattle raised in the U.S. today are influenced by Beef Quality Assurance (BQA), a checkoff-funded program that sets guidelines for animal care and handling.
  • Between 1977 and 2007 the “carbon footprint” of beef shrank18 percent as farmers and ranchers raised 13 percent more beef with 13 percent fewer cattle. When compared to 1977, each pound of beef raised in 2007 used 20 percent less feed, 30 percent less land, 14 percent less water and 9 percent less fossil-fuel energy.[4]
  • Environmental efforts by cattle farmers and ranchers help manage and protect more than 500 million acres of permanent grassland and a variety of wildlife and endangered species.[5]
  • Nearly one-half of cattle farmers and ranchers volunteer with youth organizations and more than one-third donate their time to other civic organizations, compared to a national average of 7 percent of all Americans. [6]

 

Most important, the Review identifies opportunities for farmers, ranchers and checkoff-funded programs to continue to grow and improve down the road. Visions for the future include:

  • Responsibly conducting and sharing research about beef and healthy diets, pathogens and food safety and animal health and nutrition;
  • Continuing to expand and refine quality-assurance programs to encourage broader adoption of beef quality-assurance standards;
  • Conducting a multi-phase, multi-year lifecycle assessment that details the environmental footprint of U.S. beef; and
  • Identifying more consistent and complete ways to quantify the beef industry’s contribution to the community and the country’s economic stability.

“This Review showcases the many roles cattlemen play and celebrates some of our successes to-date,” said Gebhart. “This is a starting point though, for further discussion and discovery about the beef industry’s role in raising good food, healthy animals, healthy environments and strong communities. In essence, it is our roadmap for the future.”

The Review is available at www.ExploreBeef.org, along with short videos of stakeholder interviews discussing the beef industry’s accomplishments.

# # #

The Beef Checkoff Program was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. The checkoff assesses $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, in addition to a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products. States retain up to 50 cents on the dollar and forward the other 50 cents per head to the Cattlemen's Beef Promotion and Research Board, which administers the national checkoff program, subject to USDA approval.



[1] USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, 2011.

[2] Preliminary FoodNet Data on the Incidence of Infection with Pathogens Transmitted Commonly Through Food, 10 States, 2009. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5914a2.htm.

[3] The Beef Checkoff Program, 2011. 

[5] U.S. Department of Agriculture, Major Uses of Land in the United States, 2002.

[6] Profile of U.S. Cattlemen, Aspen Media & Market research, July 2010.

NCBA Fri, 01 Apr 2011 00:00:00 GMT
Colorado Food Banks to Receive 16,000 Pounds of Beef http://www.explorebeef.org/news.aspx?id=281 Local Beef Processor and Nation's Cattle Farmers and Ranchers Join Forces to Make Largest-Ever Beef Donation and Delivery to Feeding Colorado

DENVER, Colo. (February 2, 2011) – It’s easy to think that in the land of the plenty, everyone has consistent access to high-quality, nourishing foods, like beef. However, according to the United States Department of Agriculture, in 2009, more than 50 million Americans were food insecure and did not have consistent access to enough food for an active, healthy lifestyle. Today, in conjunction with the largest gathering of the nation’s cattlemen and women for their annual meeting in Denver this year, Greeley-based JBS USA – the world’s largest animal protein processor – and cattle farmers and ranchers from around the country will make the largest-ever donation and delivery of 16,000 pounds of beef to Colorado’s Feeding America Food Banks, drawing attention to the very serious issue of food insecurity right here in our own communities.

"JBS has a strong tradition of community involvement, particularly with food banks,” said Bill Rupp, chief operating officer of JBS. “In 2010, we donated nearly 30,000 pounds of food, which went directly to families in need right here in Colorado. We began as a family business and providing families with high-quality food remains our key priority today."

The beef donation will be delivered to Food Bank of the Rockies (10700 East 45th Avenue, Denver, Colorado). Food Bank of the Rockies, which provided 76,000 meals a day in 2010, will divide and distribute the donation to five Feeding America member food banks throughout the state of Colorado, reaching 1,500 nonprofit agencies statewide. 

“One in eight people are food insecure in Colorado. In addition to the large number of people who go hungry, one of the biggest challenges our food banks face is providing high-quality, nutritious protein,” said Kevin Seggelke, president and CEO of Food Bank of the Rockies. “This generous donation from JBS will allow us to fill important nutrition gaps for families in need.”

High-quality and nutritionally efficient foods, such as beef, are important to help meet daily nutritional requirements. One, three-ounce serving of lean beef provides 10 essential nutrients, including protein and B vitamins. Iron and zinc deficiencies are common worldwide and beef is a good source of iron and an excellent source of zinc.

By continuing to innovate and advance what they do, the entire beef industry is able to work together to provide nutritious food to feed a growing population around the world.

“Compared to 50 years ago, there are half as many farmers and ranchers today feeding a United States population that has more than doubled,” said Debbie Lyons-Blythe, cattle farmer from Kansas in town for the 2011 Cattle Industry Convention and National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) Trade Show. “Our population will only continue to grow, so farmers and ranchers like me remain committed to feeding a growing population, by providing an affordable supply of high-quality, nutritious beef so that all Americans can have enough food for a healthy, active lifestyle.”

The entire beef industry is committed to working together to produce high-quality, nutritious beef. To learn more about JBS’ leadership in the beef industry, visit www.jbssa.com. America’s cattle farmers and ranchers, through Beef Checkoff programs, invest in research and programs to improve beef safety and quality and to educate consumers on how beef is produced. To learn more about how America’s cattle farmers and ranchers are working to fight hunger, visit www.ExploreBeef.org. To learn more about how you can help fight hunger in your backyard, visit www.feedingamerica.org.

# # #

About JBS

With 140 production facilities worldwide and over 120,000 employees, JBS is the largest animal protein processor in the world. Our global, diversified, low-cost production platform is the foundation for a variety of products including food, leather, pet products and biodiesel. An international industry leader, JBS has production and processing plants in Brazil, Argentina, Italy, Australia, USA, Uruguay, Paraguay, Mexico, China and Russia.

About Food Bank of the Rockies

Food Bank of the Rockies, a non-profit organization, distributed nearly 36 million pounds of food last year through 800 partner agencies. Those agencies administer 1,100 hunger-relief programs in Northern Colorado, including Metro Denver, and the entire state of Wyoming. Of the 367,000 people served annually, nearly half are children.  Since 1978, FBR has provided 392 million pounds of food to our member agencies, which translates to more than 298 million meals for people in need. Food Bank of the Rockies’ key programs are Fighting Hunger Feeding Hope, Denver’s Table Food Rescue and FBR’s Nutrition Network for children and seniors.  Food Bank of the Rockies is a member of Feeding America.  For additional information, please visit www.foodbankrockies.org.   

About The Beef Checkoff 

The Beef Checkoff Program (MyBeefCheckoff.com) was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. The Checkoff assesses $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, in addition to a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products. States retain up to 50 cents on the dollar and forward the other 50 cents per head to the Cattlemen's Beef Promotion and Research Board, which administers the national Checkoff program, subject to USDA approval. 

NCBA Wed, 02 Feb 2011 00:00:00 GMT
Student Filmmakers Provide “Behind-the-Scenes” Look at Raising Beef http://www.explorebeef.org/news.aspx?id=283

Films Released in Honor of National Farm-City Week, Nov. 19-25

DENVER (November 19, 2010) – The average American is more than three generations removed from farming and ranching, but they’re also more interested than ever in learning where their food comes from. In honor of National Farm-City Week – Nov. 19-25, 2010 – America’s cattle farmers and ranchers are releasing Close-Up on Raising Beef, a film series that provides a unique “behind-the-scenes” view of how beef gets from pasture to plate. Close-Up is a collection of three short documentaries produced by student filmmakers with funding from the Beef Checkoff Program.

National Farm-City Week is a project of the National Farm-City Council – a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the connection between farm families and urban residents. In the spirit of bridging the gap between the 1 percent of people who raise food in this country and the 300 million people who live here, cattle farmers and ranchers opened their doors to three student filmmakers this summer, providing them with grants to produce these short videos. Viewers get to explore raising beef right along with the students, since none of them were raised with close ties to agriculture or the food industry.

“I became interested in learning more about beef production after I took some environmental science classes that touched on the cattle industry,” said filmmaker Michael DeTerra, a senior at Washington State University in Pullman, Wash. “My film shows how cattlemen ensure optimal care and handling for their animals and features animal behavioral scientist Temple Grandin. It was thrilling and a real honor to meet her.” Grandin is a pioneer in beef cattle handling, and her life story was featured in the 2010 Emmy-winning HBO movie, Temple Grandin.

Cattle are raised in every state in the nation, and in nearly every type of climate and geography. To give viewers a holistic and objective view, the student filmmakers interviewed more than 30 beef farmers, ranchers and experts in 10 different states.

“Working with the families was an incredibly rewarding experience. Before I met them, I'd never realized the amount of care and attention that goes into farming and ranching – it's really quite amazing,” said Kevin Smith, filmmaker and graduate student at Central Michigan University in Mt. Pleasant, Mich.

Michael, Kevin and Katie, a recent graduate of West Virginia University in Morgantown, W. Va., visited farmers and ranchers in California, Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia between May and August, 2010.

“I always enjoy the opportunity to host visitors to the ranch,” said Dave Petty, of Iowa River Ranch in Eldora, Iowa. ”It is with great pride that we share our way of life and that I am able to show visitors that cattle, conservation and the environment all complement each other. With firsthand experience visitors are able to understand how ranchers care for their livestock and land.”

For Close Up on Raising Beef, the filmmakers explored a variety of self-selected topics, including animal welfare, environmental sustainability and the lifestyle and sacrifices associated with being a farmer or rancher. Each student received a $3,000 grant for the expenses related to their film’s production.

The full videos run about 20 minutes each and are available for viewing on www.ExploreBeef.org. Visit the Explore Beef YouTube channel at http://www.youtube.com/user/BeefPasturetoPlate to view short cuts of each film.

 

About the Beef Checkoff 
The Beef Checkoff Program was established as part of the 1985 Farm Bill. The Checkoff assesses $1 per head on the sale of live domestic and imported cattle, in addition to a comparable assessment on imported beef and beef products. States retain up to 50 cents on the dollar and forward the other 50 cents per head to the Cattlemen's Beef Promotion and Research Board, which administers the national Checkoff program, subject to USDA approval.

About the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association 
The National Cattlemen's Beef Association is a contractor to the national Beef Checkoff Program, which is administered by the Cattlemen's Beef Board. Consumer-focused and producer-directed, NCBA and its state beef council partners work together as a marketing organization on behalf of the largest segment of the food and fiber industry.

###

NCBA Fri, 19 Nov 2010 00:00:00 GMT
America’s Beef Producers Participate in Global Conference on Sustainable Beef http://www.explorebeef.org/news.aspx?id=282

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact:  Sara Goodwin, sgoodwin@beef.org or 303-850-3454

America’s Beef Producers Participate in

Global Conference on Sustainable Beef

Cattlemen Dedicated to Protecting Environment
While Providing Food for Hungry World

 

DENVER (November 3, 2010) – This week, America’s beef producers participated in the Global Conference on Sustainable Beef to advise attendees on the U.S. beef industry’s on-going commitment to environmental sustainability and investment of checkoff dollars in the science to document it.

“Environmental sustainability is just as important to beef producers as it is to other conference attendees,” says Steve Foglesong, a farmer/rancher from Illinois and president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA), a contractor to the Beef Checkoff Program. “In fact, 85 percent of farmers and ranchers say environmental conservation is important to their success. It is a key part of our ‘triple bottom line.’ Farming and ranching must be environmentally sound, socially responsible and economically viable to be sustainable.”

NCBA President-Elect Bill Donald shared his personal perspective with conference attendees. “When I first heard about the ‘triple bottom line’ I thought, ‘This is what my family has been doing for over a century raising cattle in Montana.’ We just didn’t have a fancy name for it.”

More with Less…

Today’s farmers and ranchers use fewer natural resources to provide a growing population with an affordable supply of great tasting, nutritious beef. Compared to 50 years ago, there are half as many farmers and ranchers today feeding a U.S. population that has more than doubled.[1] The United States supplies 25 percent of the world’s beef with 10 percent of the world’s cattle, which reduces land, feed, water, fuel and other valuable resources needed to produce food for a growing world population.[2] Efficiencies in U.S. food production also have contributed to food affordability. We spend a smaller percentage of our disposable income on food in this country than consumers anywhere else in the world.[3]

Smart Production Practices…

Recent research and government data show beef contributes significantly to a healthy diet and minimally to total greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the United States. Thanks to smart food production practices, the entire U.S. agriculture sector accounts for only six percent of our country’s GHG emissions. Animal agriculture accounts for less than half of that total. [4]  Many experts agree U.S. livestock production practices are an environmentally sustainable solution for raising food and should be considered a model for the rest of the world.

Serving a Purpose…

Cattle serve a valuable role in the ecosystem by converting inedible forages into nutritious beef. More than 85 percent of the grazing land in the U.S. couldn’t otherwise be used to produce food, more than doubling the amount of land that can be used for food production in the U.S.[5] The resulting product is a nutrient-rich source of protein that plays a key role in the human diet. Just one 3-ounce serving of beef is a good or excellent source of 10 essential nutrients, including zinc, iron, protein and B vitamins. Iron deficiency is the most common nutrient deficiency worldwide, and beef provides the most readily available and easily absorbed source of iron.[6]

Investing in Research…

The geography where cattle are raised, and the best practices applied to raising them, is as diverse as the more than 800,000 folks who run America’s cattle farms and ranches. Good science is essential to understanding what works based on geography, climate, natural resources and other factors. Farmer and rancher leaders in September committed checkoff dollars to starting the first phase of a lifecycle assessment project. Lifecycle assessment is a well-known and accepted method for collecting data that lay the foundation for setting and achieving environment goals.

Every beef farmer and rancher and every beef importer contributes to a fund called the beef checkoff, which is used to support research and education efforts related to environmental stewardship.

For more information on America’s beef producers’ commitment to environmental sustainability, visit www.ExploreBeef.org.

[1] U.S. Census Bureau: http://www.census.gov

[2] USDA: NASS: QuickStats http://quickstats.nass.usda.gov/results/698D7F52-06AA-3895-B88B-AE60A531288E

[3] USDA: ERS: Food CPI and Expenditures: http://www.ers.usda.gov/briefing/CPIFoodandExpenditures/Data/table7.htm

[4] 2010 U.S. Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/downloads10/US-GHG-Inventory-2010_Chapter6-Agriculture.pdf

[5] USDA: ERS: Major Land Use: http://www.ers.usda.gov/Briefing/LandUse/majorlandusechapter.htm

[6] USDA: Agricultural Research Service, 2009. USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference: www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp  

NCBA Wed, 03 Nov 2010 00:00:00 GMT