Certified Sustainable Beef Workshop introduces new approach

Alberta beef industry is one of the most sustainable industries in the province

Red Deer County is inviting beef farmers to talk about a new approach to the industry at the Certified Sustainable Beef Workshop, at Crossroads Church on March 19th.

“It’s a pretty big deal for the beef industry—in some ways, it’s one of the first emerging market opportunities for the beef industry centered around overall sustainability of the product,” said Ken Lewis, conservation coordinator for Red Deer County.

According to Lewis, the Alberta beef industry is one of the most sustainable industries in the province, if not in the world.

“What this is doing is giving the industry the tools to prove it, because the reality of today’s world is we can’t just say we are sustainable,” he said.

The workshop, developed by Verified Beef Production, goes over industry-based organizational tools, protocols and procedures that need to be followed at each step of the production process to qualify beef as Certified Sustainable.

“What’s really neat about this initiative is it’s a way of bringing the product to market that involves the entire value chain from the primary producer right through to the consumer and all the other steps in between,” Lewis said.

The concept of Certified Sustainable Beef is similar to fair-trade or organic food, where belonging to the category conveys to customers that certain measures have been taken throughout the production process.

At this point, Certified Sustainable Beef is not being labeled for customers in this way. Lewis said that this program opens up the potential for that type of labeling to happen in the future, if the industry leads that way.

The categorization is already becoming significant to some buyers like restaurant chains for marketing purpose

Mitch Harty is one of the cattle producers registered to attend the workshop.

The owner of Alberta Dreams Ranch, he keeps about 250-head of cattle and said he is attending the workshop mainly out of curiosity.

“I’m wondering what kind of opportunities are out there to get a little bit of increased value for my product,” Harty said.

A speaker from McDonalds will present at the workshop on what the appeal of Certifiable Sustainable Beef has for consumers.

From Harty’s perspective whether or not the market trend has merit, if there is a demand for Certified Sustainable Beef it’s worth investigating.

“If they want a certain product, we have to shift gears a little bit—the consumer is always right,” he said.

Harty sees this as the direction that things are headed anyways—where farmers are tracking their cattle more closely and documenting their lineage and history in detail.

“There are more and more regulations all the time—when you look at Europe, which is always ahead of us by 10 to 20 years, this is where we’re headed,” he said.

“Basically, I’m hoping that at this meeting, we’ll find out what the criteria is and what they require for sustainable beef.”

A representative from Cargill will talk about The Canadian Beef Sustainability Acceleration Pilot and what they are doing to help producers get involved as quickly as possible.

According to their website, Cargill is an international company committed to feeding the world in a responsible way, reducing environmental impact and improving communities.

“The workshop is about showcasing our industry as a whole, and all the different parts of those value chains that are all working together to produce a product that is sustainable in every way for our consumers,” Lewis said.

There are roughly 800 to 900 beef producers in Red Deer County, according to Lewis.

Just Posted

Jayda Monilaws raises over $7,000 of cupcakes for Central Alberta Humane Society

This is the most the 10-year-old Red Deerian has raised so far

PHOTOS: Alberta male team takes silver in Winter Games relay speed skating

Alberta was close behind Quebec in the team relay speed skating finals

WATCH: Pet therapy brings calmness to Winter Games athletes

Canada Winter Games in Red Deer continue on until March 2nd

Jayda Monilaws is selling cupcakes again for Central Alberta Humane Society

The 10-year-old Red Deerian is selling cupcakes today from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Alberta was crowned champions in Wheelchair Basketball at Canada Winter Games

Ontario won silver while Quebec took home the bronze medal

National Energy Board approves Trans Mountain pipeline again

Next step includes cabinet voting on the controversial expansion

R. Kelly charged with 10 counts of sexual abuse

R&B star has been accused of sexual misconduct involving women and underage girls for years

Child advocacy centre raising funds through Dream Home Lottery

The child advocacy centre in Red Deer uses its resources to help kids all over Central Alberta

Trudeau tells Canadians to listen to clerk in SNC-Lavalin matter

Privy Council clerk Michael Wernick delivered a blunt assessment at the House of Commons justice

Mueller report looming, new attorney general in hot seat

Robert Mueller is required to produce a confidential report to pursue or decline prosecutions

B.C. woman shares story of abuse with church officials ahead of Vatican summit

Leona Huggins was the only Canadian in the gathering ahead of a historic summit at the Vatican

Sylvan Lake’s Megan Cressey misses Freestyle Skiing Big Air podium

Alberta’s Jake Sandstorm captured silver in the men Freestyle Skiing Big Air contest

Why do zebras have stripes? Perhaps to dazzle away flies

Researchers from University of Bristol look into why zebras have stripes

Poll: More voters believe Canada doing worse under Trudeau government

22 per cent believed the country is doing better and 27 per cent said things are the same

Most Read