Producer Panel Shares Outlook, Efforts on Sustainability at BIF Symposium
Three producers share what the term means to them, as well as why and how they are communicating sustainability efforts to consumers.
In the last few years, the word “sustainability” has become the topic of many conversations in the cattle industry. Ranchers, feedyard managers and others in the beef supply chain are putting together sustainability plans for their operations.
Sustainability was the topic of the first panel discussion on June 2 at the 2022 Beef Improvement Federation Research Symposium and Convention in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Panelists Decky Spiller, Silver Spur LLC, Kiowa County, Colo.; Trey Patterson, CEO, Padlock Ranch, Ranchester, Wyo.; and Eric Jakobsen, vice president, Cattle for AgReserves, Salt Lake City, Utah, shared their views and described sustainability efforts on their respective ranches.
“We felt like we were operating fairly sustainably because we were still in business,” said Jakobsen. “But we felt like we needed to formalize that and put in place some kind of a program that would not just make us a better business, but would allow us to prove to the world that we were producing sustainably.”
Each panelist shared different ways they are working toward sustainability on their ranch. Patterson and Jakobsen lined out the components they have created to reach sustainability and Spiller described Silver Spur’s more informal approach to setting themselves apart as sustainable producers.
Padlock Ranch has five elements of purpose that define what sustainability is, said Patterson. Those five elements are financial excellence, excellent people, natural resource sustainability, being a positive member of the community and being an emblem for the family.
Cattle for AgReserves has four similar pillars, said Jakobsen. They include an environmental pillar, an animal health and welfare pillar, a community and worker pillar, and an economic pillar.
Put simply, said Jakobsen, “we want to be profitable. We want to take care of our people. We want to take care of our cattle. We want to take care of our properties, and we figure if we can do that we can operate sustainably..
Silver Spur has a slightly more informal approach, said Spiller. Their goal is to set themselves apart from other ranches and give back to the land what they took out of it.
Each panelist expressed a common theme: communicating their ranch’s plan to the consumer. The panelists spoke on the topic of communication and its importance when it comes to the world of sustainability.
“If we’re going to be sustainable, then we have to be active participants in the marketing of our product and the face of our product, and the public has to know who we are,” said Spiller.To watch the panel’s full presentation, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=My5YP5vjoJU.
More than 300 beef producers, academia and industry representatives attended BIF’s 54th Annual Research Symposium and Convention in Las Cruces, New Mexico. For more information about this year’s symposium, including award winners, coverage of the symposium and an archive to coverage of past conferences, go to BIFconference.com.
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