November 2018 - November 2020
Audience(s): Cow-Calf Feedlot Packer/Processor Project Type(s): Pilot
Alberta’s beef sector has developed significant expertise in sustainable beef production, but a key barrier remains to mobilizing the full potential of the sector in this area: private sector investment in sustainable beef facilitated by a science-based, globally applicable, user-friendly tool to measure sustainability improvements. The Cool Farm Tool (CFT) is used worldwide by both farmers and multinational brands and retailers to assess and quantify on-farm and supply-chain sustainability, and to focus investments to meet targets and enhance Corporate Social Responsibility. However, the recently released beef module is not well-suited to Canadian beef production. Since the CFT is gaining traction with agri-businesses globally, it is critical that the Canadian beef industry is not left behind, or assessed unfairly, due to differences in production. The goal of the project is to adapt the CFT, considering the management practices and efficiencies of Canadian beef production systems. The adapted tool will be tested with Alberta beef producers, including modelling several beneficial management practices (BMPs) to determine potential sustainability and economic impacts. Beef clubs will be set up across Alberta for producers, industry, and NGOs to share information on sustainable beef production using the CFT as a basis for discussion.
Goal #2: Reduce the greenhouse gas footprint of Canadian beef per unit of product produced
Goal #9:Increase the financial viability of beef production in Canada
Once the CFT is adapted and finalized for use by Canadian beef producers, the focus of the project will shift to extension primarily through the setup of beef clubs.
The beef clubs will be based on similar projects run by McDonalds in the UK/Ireland and by Ducks Unlimited. Clubs will be located across Alberta and led by a local beef producer with logistics and financial support from the project partners. Meetings will be held 1-2 times per year and will focus on addressing sustainability topics of interest with speakers from agriculture, industry, non-profit sector and academia. Meetings will also involve training on how to use the CFT to model and test BMPs and measure on farm sustainability and economic improvements.
Project results and extension will also be promoted by the project partners (Alberta Beef Producers, McDonalds, Ducks Unlimited Canada) through existing communication streams, and more broadly through a North American Cool Farm Alliance Working Group which will launch in June 2019.
Tagged as: Economic