Sustainability has become a buzz word in the beef industry.
Today, 7.2 billion people consume 1.5 times what the earth can sustainably produce. By 2050, the world population will reach 9 billion.
If producers want to be in the business of selling beef over the next 25, 50 or 100 years, they must sell a product consumers feel good about buying.
Marketing studies have shown consumers expect the food they purchase, including beef to be environmentally sound (doesn't harm nature), financially viable (farmers receive a fair price) and socially responsible (supports local communities, animals are well cared for and is wholesome and nutritious).
In this evolving internet age, consumers are more aware, have more choices and are expressing greater expectations than ever before. And the beef indusry must continue to find ways to accomodate the consumers of the 21st century.
Even with the increased discussion about sustainability across the beef value chain, to date there has been little explanation of what sustainability means from a practical management perspective.
The question remains - how does the average beef producer get started on the road of continuouis improvement and apply the principles of sustainable management?
In our 21st century beef production system, where the consumer is king and sustainability is an expectation, not a request, decisions about bull selection, grazing management, water management, calving season date, feed conversion, red meat yield, animal husbandry practices and others take on increased meaning in the context of sustainability. A realization that these management decisions play a role in the continuous improvement of sustainability of the beef value chain is a starting point that producers and other value chain participants must understand.
30% of America's poorest land supports $100 billion of the country's economy and produces 26 billion pounds of protein while providing rural employment and economic development.
Cattle farmers and ranchers take pride serving as good stewards of the land and our nation's resources while producing the safest, most wholesome food supply to feed a growing global population.