It's been an eventful month in the cattle and regenerative meat industry. What we're reading and watching this month:
Carbon sinking beef is already here...
"Interestingly, White Oak’s LCA was conducted by Quantis, the very same third-party firm that conducted Impossible Burger’s latest LCA showing their product to be less environmentally destructive than conventional beef. What Impossible Burger seems to have conveniently omitted is that their GMO soy-based product is still a net carbon emitter in comparison to White Oak’s properly-managed livestock that create a net carbon sink."
""As an independent professional rancher, who has practiced regenerative land management on our family farm for more than 20 years, I can state unequivocally that Impossible Burger's claims about regenerative grazing are incorrect. Not only is our business financially successful on a large scale, but we are accumulating data showing that our practices are enhancing the carbon sequestration potential of the soil on the lands we manage."
Transparency and traceable origin is heating up...
"As consumers seek out premium animal products, grass-fed beef is riding a wave of popularity, hitting $480 million in supermarket sales for the 52 weeks ending April 20. This represents 15% year-over-year growth, compared with the rest of the sector’s 3% uptick, according to data from Nielsen. By value, 75% to 80% of grass-fed beef sold in the U.S. comes from abroad, according to the Stone Barns report."
"R-CALF USA wants producers to decide whether to fund these checkoff programs. If they choose not to, the group wants the mandatory $1-per-head assessment on cattle sold to instead go to the government to pay for work benefiting ranchers."
And super carbon positive beef is also not far away...
Whether you're cow-calf, backgrounding, or grass-finishing, there is another company you should know about. Elm Innovations has been working with UC Davis and Stanford on enteric methane emissions reduction through kelp supplements. Field trials are still under way, but kelp supplements might reduce enteric methane production in the rumen by 70%-90%, while not impacting animal gains and digestion performance. Kelp also sequester additional carbon and have been called grasslands of the ocean.
Combined with silvopasture, regenerative grazing, and kelp, a full-cycle meat supply chain that isn't just carbon neutral, but draws down large amounts of carbon for the planet truly seems within reach.
Joan King Salwen spoke at Grassfed Exchange's regenerative science panel in April. Videos of the panel will be forthcoming.