October 24, 2023


New partnership aims to enhance transparency in Canada's certified sustainable beef system



A collaboration between Cargill and the Canadian Cattle Identification Agency (CCIA) is set to bring greater transparency to Canada's certified sustainable beef system, which aims to identify areas in the Canadian beef supply chain where cattle lose their certification, Manitoba Co-operator reported.


The newly established partnership will leverage the CCIA's tracking database, allowing producers to monitor certified animals' journey through the value chain.


In accordance with standards from the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB), producers receive premiums for cattle that maintain CRSB certification throughout their entire journey, from the farm to the processor. However, cow-calf producers have had limited means to verify whether their cattle retain certification until the end of this journey, leading to discrepancies in returns.


This new initiative seeks to bridge this gap, streamlining the certification process. As of June 2022, nearly one-fifth of Canada's beef cattle were raised on certified farms, and about 29 million pounds of beef had been sold through the CRSB-certified system between 2018 and that time.


The volume of certified beef represents a fraction of the total beef market in Canada, where approximately 10 million pounds of sustainable beef were sold between July 2021 and June 2022, compared to the annual production of around 3.36 billion pounds.


The partnership with CCIA will utilise the existing tracking database in which all beef cattle participate, consolidating the chain of custody verification process and significantly enhancing data extraction capabilities. The CRSB will be able to fine-tune its framework by utilising the information gathered, identifying weak points in the supply chain, and devising solutions.


While the primary concern for the CRSB is to establish a robust framework, this partnership with the CCIA is expected to address the supply issue and reduce uncertainty for producers. Producers will now have the means to verify the status of certified cattle in the database even after they have been sold to feedlots, a substantial improvement in transparency and confidence within the system.


Kristine Tapley, chair of the CRSB's framework program committee, emphasised the significant progress facilitated by this partnership, indicating it's a substantial step in the right direction, though more work remains to be done.


-      Manitoba Co-operator

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