The beef production system involves complex biological processes. Understanding that the concept of sustainability infiltrates every phase of the beef production lifecycle, in 2012 and 2014 the Beef Checkoff and the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service conducted a lifecycle assessment designed to scientifically quantify and benchmark environmental, social and economic aspects of beef industry sustainability. The goal of the assessment was to provide a clear picture as to where beef operators along the supply chain could identify ways to improve efficiency and sustainability. The research included an evaluation of thousands of data points to quantify the industry’s progress from 2005 to 2011.
Today, U.S. cattle farmers and ranchers are able to produce the same amount of beef with one-third fewer cattle than they did in 1977. The concept of sustainability is ever-changing, and the industry is constantly learning new ways to improve beef production. Beef producers are committed to preserving natural resources so further generations can continue to feed the world. The checkoff will continue to look for ways to assist them in this endeavor.