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GSF Partners on USRSB Pilot Project Showcasing U.S. Beef Industry Sustainability Framework

Updated: Oct 4, 2023

July 28, 2020

The Integrity Beef Sustainability Pilot Project, the first of its kind supported by the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (USRSB), completed its innovative two-year study to validate, track and trace beef sustainability claims across all segments of the supply chain. The study applied the U.S. Beef Industry Sustainability Framework to 36 ranches, 92,577 acres of land, and 3.5 million pounds of beef raised, processed, and served in the United States.

“This pilot successfully tracked animals from birth to the beef patties at the restaurants,” said current USRSB Chair Dr. Wayne Morgan, GSF’s Corporate Vice President and President, Protein Products and Operations Support Services. “Providing information up and down the supply chain is valuable when identifying opportunities to improve, and ultimately allows us to answer the questions our customers are asking.”

The pilot project determined the scalability of the Framework, a comprehensive set of beef sustainability indicators, metrics and guidance material for every segment of the supply chain. As a key project partner, Golden State Foods collaborated with the Noble Research Institute, Integrity Beef Alliance, Beef Marketing Group, Tyson Foods, and McDonald’s Corporation. With GSF as a charter member, USRSB formed in 2015 as a multi-stakeholder initiative developed to advance, support, and communicate continuous improvement in sustainability of the U.S. beef value chain.

Project managers worked with ranchers and feedyards to keep detailed production and health records, as well as complete a self-assessment to identify specific management practices on the operation. Assessments and sustainability outcomes were also measured at the packer, processor, and retail levels to determine carcass performance, resource use, and the safety and wellbeing of both animals and people. Across all sectors, feedback from participants showed value in utilizing a self-assessment tool, which identified opportunities for improvement at every level in the supply chain.

Project managers worked with ranchers and feedyards to keep detailed production and health records, as well as complete a self-assessment to identify specific management practices on the operation. Assessments and sustainability outcomes were also measured at the packer, processor, and retail levels to determine carcass performance, resource use, and the safety and wellbeing of both animals and people. Across all sectors, feedback from participants showed value in utilizing a self-assessment tool, which identified opportunities for improvement at every level in the supply chain.

“Receiving feedback about the quality of my carcasses demonstrated the practices and genetics I invested in were paying off,” said Meredith Ellis, a rancher part of the Integrity Beef Alliance and part of the pilot. “Understanding the value of sustainable practices helps motivate ranchers and demonstrates how the Framework can benefit operations in the long term.”

The self-assessment developed through the pilot, along with the U.S. Beef Industry Sustainability Framework, are now being incorporated into the USRSB’s interactive educational modules for each segment of the industry, which will be available to the public free of charge by the end of 2021. These interactive tools will be the basis for trainings and seminars across the country to further implement the Framework at scale.

More than 20 additional USRSB-supported programs continue to test the U.S. Beef Industry Sustainability Framework, as the organization strives to innovate and make the U.S. beef industry the globally recognized leader in environmentally sound, socially responsible, and economically viable beef. Find more information at www.usrsb.org and www.integritybeef.org/beef-sustainability.​

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