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Innovative Measurement Tool and Extension Pilot for Sustainable Beef Production in Alberta

Alberta Beef Producers

Richard Smith

November 2018 - November 2020

Goal: Financial Viability, Greenhouse Gas

Audience: Cow-Calf, Feedlot, Packer/Processor

Project Type: Pilot

Location: Alberta

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.

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