NewStream Farm Animal Care, Volume 3, Edition 8
Taking the Longview
Posted: November 26, 2015
What happens when McDonald's, Cargill and a broad swath of beef producers get together on a picture perfect afternoon in Southern Alberta?
It's about asking questions. It's about providing answers. It's about taking a big step forward to showcase Canada's beef industry progress in the eyes of consumers, who every year are taking a greater interest and higher expectations on where their food comes from.
This in a nutshell is the mindset that is driving the McDonald's Verified Sustainable Beef (VSB) pilot project. A large number of beef producers filled the east Longview hall recently on a Chinook fueled picturesque afternoon in Southern Alberta as McDonald's and Cargill hosted an interactive information sharing event on the pilot and how producers can participate.
Packed house at East Longview Hall for VSB meetings.
Mechanism is the key for VSB
"We need to tell our story. It's as simple as that," says Cherie Copithorne-Barnes, one of the key spokespeople on hand, a fourth-generation rancher and chair of the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB). "McDonald's and others can tell it. But consumers want to see us too. That's a big part of what today is about. That's a big part of what this pilot is about."
The pilot project is designed to demonstrate and verify the sustainability of the Canadian beef supply, through transparent collaboration, communication and celebration of the work done throughout the beef supply chain in Canada. The gist is that Canadian beef producers can participate in the pilot to demonstrate their commitment to sustainable beef production, through a self-assessment process followed by independent 3rd party ranch, feedlot and processor on-site verifications.
There has been a lot of coverage of the pilot and lots of growing interest in participation. One thing Copithorne-Barnes is critical to understand is this is not about major upheaval.
"As beef producers, we're already there with 99% of what we're being asked to do. We just have needed the mechanism to show it."
A big advantage for Canada is resources in place, noted several of the speakers. For example, BIXS (Beef Infoxchange System) and the Verified Beef Production (VBP) program are major assets.
More information on the pilot is available at www.vsbpilot.ca.