The Canadian beef industry is working to improve water and soil quality, support the health and safety of all people throughout the supply chain, improve beef quality, and incorporate technology to strengthen farmers’ bottom lines. Building upon five-year goals that were outlined in the 2020-2024 National Beef Strategy, the industry has now identified a suite of ambitious ten-year goals that will provide positive and clear messaging about the process to continually improve practices, product quality, enhance natural environments and utilize technologies to benefit people health, safety and profitability.
The first three goals released in September 2020 addressed: 1) Greenhouse Gas and Carbon Sequestrations, 2) Animal Health and Welfare and 3) Land Use and Biodiversity. The last four goals released April 19, 2021 address: 4) Water, 5) People Health and Safety, 6) Beef Quality and Food Safety, and 7) Technology. The goal topics covered recognize the breadth of benefits from beef production beyond supplying global protein demand.
These goals will be used by the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB) to inform the update of their Sustainability Strategy. They will also inform the Beef Cattle Research Councils (BCRC) update of the National Beef Research and Extension Strategy for 2023-28. As well as, positioning the Canadian beef industry as part of the solution on these topics, rather than the problem, in Ottawa. In setting these goals, industry is aiming to build government and public support for beef production and its activities through a clear consistent message that addresses the challenges faced head on while also communicating its benefits.
An iterative process was used to develop the proposed goals including a literature review, stakeholder interviews with researchers, veterinarians and producers that provided feedback on what was feasible for industry to accomplish. This looked at past performance recognizing that previous achievements came from multiple small incremental improvements across the system as a whole. Also recognizing that there are diminishing marginal returns with biological limits in some areas; while other areas may experience acceleration due to technology, adoption and new opportunities. Where feasible, scenarios were provided that included a continuation of historical trends and potential breakthroughs.
Preliminary options were presented to the Beef Advisors, the Canadian Cattlemen Associations (CCA) Environment Committee, the CRSB membership and a producer task force with representatives from the Beef Cattle Research Council (BCRC), Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB), CCA and National Cattle Feeders Association (NCFA) for feedback and discussion. Questions that were raised throughout the process are addressed in the FAQ section in each fact sheet.
These goals will be reviewed and reported against with the National Strategy 2020-24. This will provide a mid-point update and opportunity to revise if new science is available.
Q: Are these goals the only ones being set? Does this not miss the bigger picture?
A: A series of goals are being set around:
Individual fact sheets provide the Goals, Context, How the goals could be achieved and FAQs.
This suite of goals covers productivity and support the delivery of a higher quality product. These goals recognize the breadth of benefits from beef production beyond supplying global protein demand.
Q: Will COVID-19 impact our ability to meet these goals?
A: We are committed to the health and welfare of our industry, our cattle and the consumers we serve. Our members are doing everything within their power to mitigate the impacts of COVID-19. We acknowledge the rapidly evolving nature of the pandemic may impact the ability to fully achieve some of these goals and we are committed to adjusting to the reality of the situation as required.
The National Beef Strategy promotes a united approach to position the Canadian beef industry for greater profitability, growth and continued production of a high-quality beef product of choice in the world.