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

The first week of May, I was in Boise, Idaho for the US Rountable for Sustainable Beef General Assembly meeting. My apologies to the New Zealand Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, as unfortunately, my presence in Boise caused me to miss the NZRSB meeting.

The USRSB event started on Tuesday, May 2nd with a tour hosted by Simplot. We visited three of their facilities: the Grand View Feedyard, the CSBeef Plant at Kuna, Idaho (a joint venture between Simplot and Caviness), and finally the Simplot French Fry plant in Caldwell, Idaho.

For those interested in the Circular Economy, this was an object lesson that was developed before the term Circular Economy existed. JR Simplot started out producing and processing potatoes, onions and other row crops and by the mid 1940s was the largest shipper of fresh potatoes in the country and supplied the military with millions of pounds of dehydrated onions and potatoes. Wartime shortages of fertiliser saw JR Simplot set up his own fertiliser plant in Idaho, as well.

The company developed the first commercially viable frozen French fries in the world, and is a leading producer of all types of frozen potato products today, as well as producing hundreds of other vegetable products. All of which produce a mountain of by-products, which, of course, JR and his company utilise in ways that turn a profit.

At the Grand View Feedyard, you can see 100,000 cattle being fed rations that include potato peels and other waste from the French fry plant. The cattle in the yard come from both Simplot’s own herds and from beef on dairy animals. In typical style, the company developed three pedigree herds for these, with Angus, Hereford and Charolais crossed to maintain heterosis in the cattle being fattened.

They also custom feed cattle. In order to maintain the cow-calf herds, the company grazes up to 4 million acres, including large areas and permits on federal lands throughout Idaho and Washington. We learned of some of the complications grazing federal land can bring, as these lands are mostly shared-use with hunters and other recreational pursuits.

The French fry plant is certainly impressive in scale and the innovations and technology that have been brought to bear on what probably seems, to most of us, as a pretty simple product. The plant is anything but simple, and seeing potatoes go from fresh and still soil covered to French fries through miles of pipes, colour and size sorting machines, peeling machines, cutters, blanching etc certainly gives you something to think about next time you sit down to a take away from your favourite food service outlet!

This was a very interesting glimpse into a diverse and innovative private company; it’s hard to do such an information packed tour justice in a brief email, but if you do ever have a chance to visit, I’m sure you would enjoy it.

On Wednesday, I joined Samantha Werth and Monica Hadarits (Executive Directors of USRSB and CRSB respectively) on a panel to talk about the collaboration between our Roundtable Network members, national and global. Increasingly, we find that there is a need to share the load when it comes to representing sustainable beef and to discuss communication approaches for different audiences, particularly those that relate to either national or global policy developments.

It strengthens our network tremendously to have such a large number of experts spread around the world on whom we can call. No matter what the field of expertise may be, we can almost always find the right people to help develop talking points and messaging. So Sam Werth co-chairs GRSB’s Climate Working Group with Brenna Grant from Canada, as well as other members of national roundtables, are involved in each of our Working Groups.

Later in the morning, there were three breakout sessions. I attended one on the human element of sustainability to help inspire me with some ideas for the Social Impact Working Group. Following lunch there was a follow up on the discussion started with Simplot during the tour on Public Lands and grazing management plans.

As the USRSB Goals involve a target of developing grazing management plans on 385 million acres of land by 2050, this discussion is an important piece informing how they can deliver on that goal.

I really enjoyed the discussion on the societal role of meat, moderated by Eric Mittenthal from NAMI, in the afternoon. Considerations around nutrition and malnutrition, land use, access to resources, efficiency and circular land use are critical to our understanding of sustainable food systems for the future.

All too often, these factors are glossed over in the global discussions about food systems, where the complexities are often reduced to a discussion of emissions per kg, which, as Jason Rowntree described during the panel, is a sad case of carbon tunnel vision.

The meeting continued with interesting sessions on Thursday on data and genetic tools, use of blockchain for value chain sustainability, and climate smart beef. All in all, it was an excellent opportunity to catch up with people and on the progress being made by USRSB. Thanks for having me!

Last week, I made a shorter trip to Palmerston North (on the North Island of New Zealand) to present at the Beef and Lamb New Zealand Beef Breeders forum.

Melissa Clark Reynolds gave a fascinating presentation looking at the factors that will influence sustainability in the future, and certainly for wealthier countries, there was quite an emphasis on public trust and the need for transparency and meeting consumer demands.

Dairy Beef has not taken off as quickly in New Zealand as in some other countries. There are several reasons, including the lack of a feedlot industry due to a shortage of volume markets for feed in the vicinity. It seems there should be some potential for the use of more dairy offspring in grass-based beef production.

This would potentially solve the two problems of bobby calf slaughter and high emissions from the beef cow-calf herd. We heard from Nick Sneddon and Natalia Martín on the research they have been doing into beef on dairy and it certainly looks like there is a value proposition there.

Thanks to Beef and Lamb NZ for the invitation to speak on how our Global work intersects with the work being done by institutions and members of NZRSB in New Zealand.

Thank you, 

Ruardaidh Petre
Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef
Executive Director
17 May 2023

The first week of May, I had the opportunity to present about GRSB and our Sustainability Goal of Nature Positive Production and its measurement at Innovation Forum’s the Future of Food business conference on sustainable, resilient and regenerative food systems.

Most of the presentations addressed how companies can drive effective climate action through agricultural supply chains and reduce environmental impact in line with net zero emissions targets. Regenerative agriculture played a very important role and was featured in most of the panels. How to define, measure and scale regenerative practices and the realities of on the ground shift from "less harm" to "more good".

Representing the livestock sector and meat at an event like this in Europe was not an easy task. After presenting about our work about the goal of Nature Positive Production, I received multiple questions from the audience questioning what we call sustainable meat, which both environmentally and nutritionally was not perceived as a sustainable product.

Added to that, there were many questions related to deforestation and emissions from the product. To a large extent, I was able to speak about our work and the importance of livestock for the environment, biodiversity and human health.

Beyond the fact that the audience was already convinced and educated to see beef as a product harmful to nature and humans, I left with the feeling that with more data and more metrics to present, the science-based land management practices implemented in ranching, and especially by GRSB members, could demonstrate that meat is a sustainable product.

I saw even more clearly our challenge and the urgency of having the necessary metrics to demonstrate that meat is a reliable part of a prosperous food system and the beef value chain is environmentally sound, socially responsible and economically viable.

Working on the monitoring and reporting of global goals is a very important challenge ahead of us. It will not be easy, but it will help us a great deal when communicating our commitment and responsibility with sustainable meat production.

This week I am in Uruguay, meeting with key actors to build their Roundtable at the national level.

Thank you,

Josefina Eisele
Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef
Regional Director for Latin America 
17 May 2023


We are delighted to welcome you as GRSB members. 
We look forward to working with you.

New Partnerships Around Farm-Level Data and Sustainability

The Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (GRSB), an organization dedicated to reducing the net global warming impact of beef, announces AgriWebb as their newest partnership in beef sustainability.

AgriWebb is the creator of world’s leading digital livestock management software, with more than 20% of all grazing animals in Australia under management and trusted by 16,000+ producers across 16 countries to help them manage their livestock, land and business operations all in one place.

“AgriWebb’s mission has always been to equip the livestock industry with a solution that helps farmers and ranchers feed the world more successfully and more sustainably. By joining the Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef, we are taking another step towards accomplishing our mission, and better yet, doing so alongside like-minded organizations and experts,” says Kevin Baum, CEO and Co-Founder of AgriWebb. Read more HERE.

Copyright © 2023 Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef. All rights reserved.

You are receiving this message as a benefit of membership to the
Global Roundtable for Sustainable Beef

GRSB Administrative Offices:
13570 Meadowgrass Dr. Suite 201 Colorado Springs, CO80920 USA

Phone: 1-719-355-2935
Fax: 1-719-538-8847 
Email: admin@grsbeef.org

This message was sent to you by {Organization_Name}
If you no longer wish to receive these emails, you can unsubscribe at any time