Canadian Beef Advisors (CBA) — a cooperative community made up of the national organizations representing the entire beef production chain — rolled out its national beef strategy 2030 goals at the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef annual general meeting recently.
Tyler Bjornson, chair of the CBA, says the vision around the national beef strategy is to support a “dynamic, profitable, Canadian cattle and beef industry.
“We developed a five year strategy, for 2020 to 2024 built around four pillars of beef demand, competitiveness, productivity, and connectivity,” he explains.
With this latest announcement, the CBA hopes to build on the five-year goals and identify ambitious 10 year goals that provide positive, clear messaging, about the industry’s desire to improve practices, their carbon footprint, and to enhance natural environments in addition to the key economic goals that were set out in the original five year plan, says Bjornson.
The goals announced at the meeting focus on greenhouse gas emissions and carbon sequestration, animal healthcare, and land use and biodiversity.
“Our intent is to tackle four more topics, where additional goals will be rolled out in the spring of 2021 to round out the entire national beef strategy, those topics will be water, beef quality and food safety, people health and safety, and technology,” says Bjornson.
It all sounds good, but putting this into operation must be a challenging process, especially with cascading goals and action plans attached to each goal. Part of the intent of the CBA’s goals are to encourage innovation and push industry to think differently, and potentially move out of their comfort zone.
“So when it comes to how do you execute on these, and how do you operationalize these things, two immediate opportunities come to mind. One is that they can be used by the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef to inform the update of their sustainability strategy, given that these three goals fit squarely into that theme. In addition to that, it can also inform the Beef Cattle Research Council’s update of their national beef research and extension strategy for 2023 to 2028,” says Bjornson.
The next intent of the goals, by having the over-arching beef strategy is then to inform the work of the individual organizations and partners that make up the entirety of the national beef advisory.
The goals seem to be a response to consumer criticism, and building public trust is based on doing the right things for the land, the animals, and the environment, and the CBA thinks that a proactive leadership position is a win, instead of being “dragged into the future”. Particularly in the greenhouse gas emissions dialogue, beef producers play an enormous role in maintaining native grasslands and the land use and biodiversity goal surrounding that very element will help to maintain the 35 million acres of native grassland.
Success in maintaining those acres will be achieved if the focus is on the economic viability of producers, and supporting programs that recognize and incentivize conservation practices, says Bjornson.
Listen to the full conversation between Bjornson and RealAgriculture’s Shaun Haney here: