Springdale, Arkansas-based Tyson Foods has announced its work to verify sustainable beef production practices on more than 5 million acres of cattle grazing land in the U.S. This would be the largest known beef transparency program in the U.S., and part of Tyson Foods’ focus on sustainably feeding the world while taking care of people, the planet and animals.
Working with Where Food Comes From, the largest provider of certification and verification services to the food industry, Tyson Foods will source cattle from BeefCare verified beef producers who are committed to raising cattle using practices that positively impact the land and animals, and also want to promote it.
BeefCare is a third-party sustainability verification program for cattle ranchers. The program uses third-party audits to verify that farmers and ranchers are using best practices in caring for animals, the environment and the people and communities who support them. BeefCare standards include practices such as having a cattle grazing management plan to help promote vegetative growth and diversity, water availability and quality, prevent/reduce soil erosion and support carbon sequestration. More than 200 ranches are currently enrolled in the program, with plans to expand the program over the next several years. The program is recognized by the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef.
Working with The Nature Conservancy
To ensure improved management of grasslands and rangelands, Tyson Foods also will work with The Nature Conservancy to evaluate and enhance the environmental components of the current BeefCare program. Nature Conservancy experts will provide input to Where Foods Comes From based on scientific analyses and land and livestock management experience.
“We recognize the importance of sustainable beef production practices that take care of people, the planet and animals,” said Steve Stouffer, group president of Tyson Fresh Meats. “Our goal is to work with ranchers to verify, and when possible, improve those practices so that we can be transparent with our customers and consumers about how cattle in our supply chain are raised.”
“Sustainability is a business imperative in the U.S. beef industry to ensure long-term food production, economic security for ranchers and their communities and a healthy environment for us all,” said Dr. Sasha Gennet, director of sustainable grazing lands for The Nature Conservancy in North America. “Tyson Foods is setting a great example of a company that is taking proactive steps to achieve a sustainable beef system that supports farmers and ranchers while improving our critical natural resources, including soil, water and wildlife.”
This latest initiative builds on Tyson Foods’ goal for beef sustainability. In 2018, Tyson Foods became the first U.S. protein company to license Progressive Beef, a quality management system designed for cattle feeding operators that sell to companies like Tyson Foods. Operators certified in the program follow best practices for animal welfare, food safety, responsible antibiotic use and environmental sustainability, and these practices are verified twice per year through USDA approved auditors. In 2020, Tyson Foods will purchase more than 3 million Progressive Beef-certified cattle, which represents more than half of the cattle in the company’s supply chain.
Sustainability throughout the food system is fundamental to Tyson Foods’ core values, which call on the company to “strive to serve as stewards of the resources entrusted to us.” The company has previously set targets to improve land stewardship practices on two million acres of corn, partnered with the World Resources Institute to set science-based greenhouse gas reduction targets, and is collaborating with the World Resources Institute to establish Contextual Water Targets, which take into consideration the entire watershed at 11 priority locations. For more information, visit tysonsustainability.com.
Tyson Foods Inc. is one of the world’s largest food companies and a recognized leader in protein. Founded in 1935 by John W. Tyson and grown under three generations of family leadership, the company has a broad portfolio of products and brands like Tyson, Jimmy Dean, Hillshire Farm, Ball Park, Wright, Aidells, ibp and State Fair.