Great Bend, Kansas-based Progressive Beef, a cattle management and sustainability program for feedlot operators, was recognized by the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (USRSB) for demonstrating successful alignment with the industry’s sustainability framework.
To receive this recognition from USRSB, the Progressive Beef program showed how the collective focus on sustainability benefits both the beef industry and consumers. To become a Progressive Beef certified feedyard, operators and employees must be trained on critical areas including cattle care, water usage, energy usage and food safety. All Progressive Beef certified feedyards must also adhere to standard operating procedures, many of which are centered on sustainability and social responsibility and are verified annually by independent USDA-approved third-party auditors. The program continues to grow: In 2020, there will be more than three million cattle marketed through the program. There are currently 48 yards certified or in the process of becoming certified and participation has doubled in the last year.
“With an increase in consumer interest for transparency, product sourced from Progressive Beef certified feedyards is gaining traction in both the retail and foodservice channels,” says John Butler, CEO of Progressive Beef. “Consumers more than ever want to know where their food is coming from and want to ensure it was handled and treated properly. The Progressive Beef program is one of the easiest ways for retail and foodservice operators to have access to a consistent supply of beef where the production practices are known, proven and can be quickly communicated to consumers.”
The program is also gaining awareness in the foodservice industry. Wendy’s recently endorsed the program and is moving toward having the majority of their beef supply sourced by Progressive Beef certified feedyards by 2021. The chain’s participation demonstrates industry leadership to improve transparency and traceability in the food it serves.
In August 2018, Tyson Fresh Meats, the beef and pork subsidiary of Tyson Foods Inc., revealed it had become the first beef processor to license the Progressive Beef program. Though this program is not exclusive to Tyson, the license allows the company, which relies on purchasing high-quality cattle from independent producers across the country, to work with their customers to fulfill a need of offering a beef program that creates a higher confidence level for consumers while differentiating themselves from other beef programs.