(Bob) Sustainability can mean a lot of different things. But members of the beef community have boiled down their definition. (Butler) From a broad perspective, it’s being socially responsible, environmentally responsible and economically sound. (bob) Sharing this information creates value in many ways. (Butler) We think that a consumer has an appetite for more information about their food. If we answer that food, do we increase the trust, the trust that they’ve got in our system to produce that food? I think the answer is ‘yes.’ Does that help them make an easier decision to buy a steak versus another protein? I think the answer is ‘yes.’ (Bob) Feeding a growing global population requires consumer trust and cooperation within the beef community. (Bruett) So does that mean all beef is going to be natural, organic, bottle, no. Does it mean it’s all going to be large corporate ag? No. It’s going to have to be a balance. We’re going to have to find the right systems in the right places to meet those needs. But we’re all going to have to work together. And so this trend that we see where we vilify our neighbor and say my product is more safe than yours or is better for the planet than yours…this is foolishness. We need to celebrate the diversity particularly in American agriculture because we’re going to be the people that feed the world. (Bob) Improving sustainability requires more than simply looking at production practices. Bruett says “false perceptions” have already had a negative impact. (Bruett) So how do we take back this narrative? How do we partner with those who sell the product, talk more about the good things we are doing so that when people who already love the products we produce and have no intention of not consuming them, that they can continue to feel good about it? (Bob) Butler believes beef producers must do more than simply tell the story,they need to show quantifiable results. (Butler) And so, you know, one of the key nuggets for me is that this is, this is bigger than marketing. Right? So, it’s not just telling the story, but it’s actually engaging in activities to allow us to commit and really do something around continual improvement so we become more efficient. Yes, we can tell the story, yes, marketing is a piece of it, but it’s not all of it. (Bob) Even as new challenges continue to arise, he says the beef community’s commitment to sustainability will remain unchanged. I’m Bob Cervera.
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