The U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (USRSB), the nation’s leading multi-stakeholder beef sustainability group, announced a new Board of Directors and Executive Officer group during the recent Fourth Annual General Assembly Meeting in Oklahoma City. Elected by USRSB’s diverse membership body of cattlemen and women, beef processors, retailers, restaurants, technology providers and environmental conservation organizations, the new USRSB board will drive the strategic direction and focus of the world’s largest collaborative beef sustainability forum.
An experienced group of beef production and sustainability experts will serve as USRSB officers for the 2018-2019 term, providing leadership and coordination of the interests of all members and stakeholders. Dr. Kim Stackhouse-Lawson, Director of Sustainability at JBS USA and recognized beef sustainability expert, will serve as chair. Ben Weinheimer, Vice President of the Texas Cattle Feeders Association, a national livestock organization representing 28 percent of the fed cattle produced in the United States, will serve as chair-elect. Debbie Lyons-Blythe, Manager of Blythe Family Farms, a multi-generational Angus cattle ranch in the Flint Hills of Kansas that has been in family hands since the 1890s, will serve as secretary/treasurer.
“For the past three years, the USRSB has worked hard to establish itself as the leading national beef sustainability roundtable, providing clear leadership to position the U.S. as the trusted global leader in sustainable beef production,” Dr. Stackhouse-Lawson said. “We are excited to build on our momentum and demonstrate the sustainability of U.S. beef through the USRSB Sustainability Framework and other member-driven efforts that will improve the sustainability of the U.S. beef production system.”
The new officers and board will guide the USRSB through a 60-day public comment period on the new USRSB Sustainability Framework, a set of resources for individuals along the beef value chain to voluntarily assess their sustainability efforts, that was recently released for public comment and can be found at www.USRSBFramework.org. The Framework’s creation was strengthened by USRSB’s diverse membership and considerable influence in the U.S. beef value chain.
“Collectively, our members represents 30 percent of the cattle raised, 80 percent of the beef processed, 28 percent of consumers and some of the leading retailers, restaurants and non-governmental organizations in the United States,” Dr. Stackhouse-Lawson said. “Our diverse membership has come together under one umbrella to establish a sustainability framework that will ensure the U.S. continues to provide the most environmentally sound, socially responsible and economically viable beef available in the world.”
In addition to the public comment period, the USRSB will focus on outreach and education to better inform the public of U.S. beef’s sustainability focus and progress, an area Chair-Elect Weinheimer highlighted as a critical next step.
“Our ranchers, auction markets and feedyards across the country work hard every day to raise and feed cattle in a way that protects the environment and the animals under our care, improves the lives of families and communities, and helps ensure the economic viability of farmers and ranchers now and in the future,” Weinheimer said. “These efforts provide assurance to consumers that the high quality beef they enjoy and share with their families was produced in a sustainable way they can be proud of.”
The 2018-2019 elected board members for USRSB include Rickette Collins, Director, Quality Systems, McDonald’s Corporation, and past-chair of USRSB; Keith Anderkin, Senior Vice President of Procurement, Arby’s Restaurant Group Inc.; Townsend Bailey, Director, U.S. Supply Chain Sustainability, McDonald’s Corporation; Dr. Michelle Calvo-Lorenzo, Technical Consultant for Animal Well-Being, Elanco Animal Health; Chad Ellis, Industry Relations and Stewardship Manager, Noble Research Institute; Dr. Jessica Finck, Meat Scientist, Merck Animal Health; Rob Manes, Director, The Nature Conservancy; Dr. Wayne Morgan, Corporate Vice President, Golden State Foods; and Steve Wooten, 1st Vice President, Colorado Cattlemen’s Association.