What's in the news right now about an environmentally sound, socially responsible and economically viable beef value chain?


Executive Director's Message:

I am writing this from Egypt where I am attending CoP27, but I will save reporting on that for the next edition of Connect. In this one, I would like to focus on the Global Conference on Sustainable Beef that took place last week, where I had the good fortune to meet many of you for the first time in several years! 

GCSB 2022 was a great success in my view. I am keen to hear your feedback! For those of you who did not make it, we will have recordings of the majority of the plenary sessions on our website shortly.

It is worth recalling some of the discussions that took place in Denver, and thinking about how they may influence our activity planning for the coming year. (We already have a longer term strategic plan. We need to fit activities to available resources for 2023).

We started by hearing from several producers in the United States, with words of welcome from Erika Murphy, Steve Wooten and Debbie Lyons Blythe. It was fascinating to see just how different the environment is on each of their three properties, despite two being in Colorado and one in neighboring Kansas. To me, this underlined how important it is to have our national roundtables. Cattle production systems are incredibly varied, with carrying capacity ranging from <1 to 100 acres per cow, just in the US.

In his keynote, Jason Weller with JBS gave us food for thought with the idea that we could be more outspoken about the positive role that cattle can play in ecosystems. Could we reframe cattle as a keystone species in healthy agro-ecosystems?

As he was followed immediately by Peter Byck, this was a timely question. The evidence of the research Peter has been coordinating would seem to suggest that when cattle grazing is managed adaptively with short intensive grazing and prolonged rest, multiple benefits accrue. If you are looking for the published results available so far you can find them here.

This work on grazing systems is so positive, reducing the need for external inputs and costs, complements the development of technologies that are harder to implement in grazing systems, especially feed additives.

To jump forward just a bit, Juan Jose Molina's presentation in the nature positive panel presented another very beneficial land management strategy called silvopastoralism. Once again, yields, carbon storage, water cycle, animal well being and biodiversity have all benefited tremendously on El Hatico ranch in Colombia.

Both of these strategies, adapted to local contexts, hold great promise worldwide and we should encourage investment in their use.

Next, we had an overview of our Global Goals and the efforts that the Working Groups associated with each are doing, as well as a presentation from Sure Harvest on the development of a framework to measure and report progress.

We will come back to that soon, as this monitoring and reporting has to work for all members. Thanks to our Working Group leads, and indeed, all the members who put in so many hours into this work.

Our panel on Nature Positive Production looked at systems in Paraguay and Brazil to preserve native vegetation and monitor compliance with Forest Codes in those countries. Also, from Queensland, they viewed definitions of what constitutes valuable habitat vs. encroaching scrub. These definitions can be problematic for producers and others wishing to understand land conversion.

Our afternoon sessions started with breakouts covering all of our national roundtables. I can't emphasise enough the importance of the national roundtables. This is where the rubber meets the road – all of the practical implementation takes place through them. We are fortunate to have such a dedicated group of individuals leading them and galvanising so much on the ground activity. I could only attend one of these, but if Paraguay, Canada, Argentina and New Zealand are anything to go by, our national roundtables are active and in good hands.

The second afternoon group took us back to a plenary session on supply chain transparency and this is where we heard more about the need for data, and how it might be collected. We also heard a lot in this session about the value of that information for producers themselves, when they get it in the right form.

Data can help producers make management decisions to make more money and grow cattle with a smaller hoofprint. Every thing from relatively straightforward management information, which can be extracted through the use of RFID tags, to much more in depth understanding of carcass phenotype and genetic potential, can be useful.

However, there are concerns both about the ownership and sharing of such data, as well as accessibility to producers. To quote Lamar Steiger on this panel, “If you are not part of a data sharing platform within the next ten years, you will end up being excluded from some markets.” It will be important to ensure that producers truly are benefiting from this, and it is not a cost with no reward.

I was fascinated by the discussion on nutrition and balancing production and consumption (and food waste) on Wednesday morning. This is the first time that we have had the topic on our agenda, and I think it merits much more attention.

I had not heard of metabolomics until a few months ago. It is the science of what your body can actually do with the thousands of compounds in foods. If you did not see this panel, I recommend looking up both Stephan van Vliet and Ty Beal for insight into that and into micronutrient deficiencies, which are prevalent around the world including high income countries, particularly among women and children.

Brad Morgan gave a good overview on the topic of food waste. One thing that really stuck in my mind was that if food waste was a country, it would have the third largest GHG emissions in the world!

We then looked at water scarcity in the case of the high plains of the US, but the problem extends to many other parts of the globe. The take-home message was that there is very little time to drastically change water use, particularly for feed production.

Once aquifers are dry, there will be limited potential to grow feed in those areas; "We have to stop growing the wrong crops in the wrong places," said Gina Gigot. Once again, investment and information sharing is urgently needed to help increase adoption of practices that can avert the problems that are so urgently upon us.

It was exciting to hear that the Minderoo foundation will be investing in animal welfare, and to gain a deeper understanding of what that means to different people in different regions and parts of the supply chain. A shift to the four Domains of welfare gives us a more positive framing of the concept as well as being more animal centric.

The next panel on genetics was really encouraging in terms of the gains that are being made through a much better insight into genetic progress, even though the beef and dairy sectors have not seen nearly such rapid gains in this area as poultry, swine and fish have.

Partly, that has to do with generation interval, but much more to the fact that there are so many individual producers making decisions about breeding, not all related to beneficial traits. Composite breeds, beef on dairy and the insertion of genes from one breed into another (transgenic cattle) are all possible routes to accelerate genetic progress.

After lunch on Wednesday, we heard about several important partnerships, with which we already have some relation. The need to work together on sustainability is clear. As a network of roundtables, I think we understand this. However, there is more that we can do to work collaboratively with other sectors including leather, dairy and other animal sectors, as well as feed producers.

We wrapped up with a discussion of what we had heard from Jeannette Ferran-Astorga and Justin Sherrard from our executive committee, and joined later by Ian McConnel. They reiterated some of the common themes that came out of the conference including the need for investment, collaboration, data sharing and the urgency of action both in sustainability improvements on the ground and in communication. The final conclusion was to take what we had heard forward to our next planning meeting.

A huge thanks to all of you who made this such a success from the Sponsors to the planning committee, executive committee and board. I would also particularly like to thank Katie Ambrose and Scott Stuart, Julie James, Kellie Lassack, Polly Welden and, of course, Josefina Eisele for all they did to make the conference happen and run so smoothly. Though our team is often behind the scenes at events like this, they have put in months of preparation and worked long hours during the conference to keep everything on track. Thank you!


Ruaraidh Petre
Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef
Executive Director
November 16, 2022

Final Results of 2023 GRSB Board of Directors Election

The 2023 election of the GRSB Board of Directors is now complete and the following organizations have been elected to the new Board.
(Newly-elected and re-elected members are italicized.)


Meat & Livestock Australia (AU) 
Canadian Cattlemen’s Association (CA)
National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (US)
Sol Dorado (PY)


Textile Exchange (US) 
Corteva Agriscience (US) 
Rabobank (NL)


OSI Group, LLC (US)
Cargill (US)
Harvest Road (AU)


McDonald’s (US)
Restaurant Brands International (Burger King) (CA)


Texas A&M, Dept. of Animal Science (US)
National Wildlife Federation (US / LA)
World Wildlife Fund (US/Global)


Southern African Regional Roundtable Sustainable Beef

U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (US)

Mesa Paraguaya de Carne Sostenible (PY)

Mesa Boliviana de Carne Sostenible (BO)

Congratulations to these GRSB members! 

This Board will elect the 2023 Executive Committee during December.

We are delighted to welcome 
WA Regenerative Livestock Producers Inc.
as members of GRSB.

We look forward to working with you!

GRSB honored Immediate Past President Bob McCan
for his outstanding service
to the organization 
in 2020-2021. 

Cameron Bruett, Past GRSB President,  provided an inspirational closing keynote address at the 2022 Global Conference on Sustainable Beef.

Thank you to our wonderful sponsors of the
2022 Global Conference on Sustainable Beef!

Please see a summary of all meetings, calls and webinars on our event calendar in the member area of the website.

If you don’t have a password for the members area,
please click on "Forgot Password" at Login. 


This message has been sent to you at {Organization_Name}
If you no longer want to receive these letters, you can unsubscribe at any time