Supermarket Perimeter - March 2021 - rmt - 11

NICK ALBI, KATHY IMAGES - STOCK.ADOBE.COM

A sustainable food system is comprised of three different, but intersecting, pillars:
* Environmental sustainability encompasses biodiversity, carbon and water footprints, wildlife habitat, soil
and rangeland health and the ability of cattle to consume human inedible feeds, among others.
* Social sustainability consists of beef's contributions
to society, with the most prominent being the provisioning of high-quality protein which contributes to
a nutritious diet. Additionally, worker safety, animal
welfare and technology use are priorities of the beef
industry with other contributions coming from recreational value, tourism, and the culture and traditions
of beef producers as farms and ranches are passed
down from one generation to the next.
* Economic sustainability includes the overall economic
impact of the beef industry, local contributions that
improve rural economies and livelihoods, affordability
of beef to consumers and the ability of farmers and
ranchers to continue producing high-quality beef.
True sustainability is a balance of these three aspects,
which prioritizes the planet, people, animals and
progress.
BEEF AND THE PLANET
The United States produces 18% of the world's beef
with just 6% of the world's cattle, and it does so while
caring for the planet.
In fact, according to the US Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA), greenhouse gases (GHG)
from beef cattle only represent 2% of emissions in the
United States. These noteworthy numbers are possible
because of improvements in management practices,
genetics, and the nutritional quality of feed.
Another inherent advantage of beef is cattle's ability to upcycle human-inedible plants into high-quality
protein. 90% of what cattle eat comes from forage and
plant leftovers that cannot be consumed by humans
and would otherwise go to waste. Responsible use of
resources such as land and water also contribute to the
environmental sustainability of beef.
Despite the hype around " plant-based " diets, it
should be noted, if all US livestock were eliminated and
every American followed a vegan diet, GHG emissions
would only be reduced by 2.6%, or 0.36% globally.
SOCIAL IMPACT
Worker safety and animal welfare are of paramount
concern to the beef industry and it is only by prioritizing
the people and the animals that the industry can continue to produce high-quality protein - which is likely
the most prominent aspect of societal contribution.
With 10 essential nutrients and on average, 25 grams

of protein per three ounce serving, lean beef supports a
healthy lifestyle and provides the nutrients for bodies to
thrive throughout all life stages. It's important to recognize cattle also contribute more than twice as much
high-quality protein to the US food supply than they
consume, directly contributing to food security.
In addition to the nutritional and other societal
contributions outlined, beef farmers and ranchers are
integral members of their communities. 91% of US
beef farms and ranches are family-owned, and 78%
of cattle producers plan to continue to invest in their
communities by passing their operation down to future
generations.
ECONOMIC IMPACT
According to a forthcoming economic contribution of
the US beef industry report, the beef industry produces more than 27 billion pounds of beef annually,
which provides 144 billion three-ounce servings and
contributes $30 billion in total value added to the US
economy.
And when it comes to beef sustainability, the bottom line is that the beef industry is focused on sustainability and continuous improvement in all three pillars.
Supply chain partners can be at peace knowing that
the beef they sell has an overall positive environmental,
social and economic impact on the industry and society
at-large.
To learn more about the US beef industry's commitment to responsibly and sustainably raising
beef and the resources available for retailers, visit
BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com.
Myriah Johnson is senior director, Sustainability
Research, and Jess Soule is associate director, Beef
Sustainability Research, at the Denver-based National
Cattlemen's Beef Association, a contractor to 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 may 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. The National Cattlemen's
Beef Association (NCBA) is a contractor to the Beef Checkoff Program.
The Beef Checkoff Program is
administered by the Cattlemen's
Beef Board, with oversight provided by the U.S. Department of
Agriculture.
supermarketperimeter.com

Meat_SP_0321.indb 11

THE 3
PILL ARS OF
SUSTAINABILIT Y
IN THE BEEF
INDUSTRY

1
2
3

Environmental

Social

Economic

retail MEAT TRENDS

11

3/1/2021 12:47:03 PM


http://www.BeefItsWhatsForDinner.com http://www.supermarketperimeter.com

Supermarket Perimeter - March 2021

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