Animal programs

Sustainability of beef production a priority for Cattlemen and Merck Animal Health

Sustainability of beef production a priority for Cattlemen and Merck Animal Health

The sustainability of beef production is becoming more important every day for all segments of the US beef cattle industry. And that was a topic covered this week in Amarillo, Texas, at a beef media event hosted by Merck Animal Health.

Jessica Finck, Ph.D at Merck Animal Health Value Chain and Consumer Affairs, explains why sustainability is a priority for their business and the customers they serve.

“We all want to keep animals healthy because healthy animals are sustainable,” Finck said. “Not only are they more sustainable from a cost-effectiveness perspective, they are also more efficient users of their environmental resources and this also contributes to social acceptability.”

Jake Cowen is a rancher from Benjamin, TX and explains why sustainability is important to him and their stocking operation.

“We want to put back into our operation,” Cowen said. “We want to feed our country with what it gives us and take care of the land and take care of the livestock so that we can continue to prosper and the land can prosper. And we can continue to do what we love to do. and pass it on to the next generation.

Dr. Finck says sustainability is also important to consumers.

“It’s really about that transparency and that farm-to-table story,” Finck said. “We’re very involved in trying to bridge that gap and trying to help with that transparency and that story to make sure both ends of the spectrum understand each other and what the needs are.”

Debbie Lyons-Blythe is a cattle producer from White City, Kan, and is also the current chair of the US Roundtable for Sustainable Beef. She says the definition of sustainability for her is simple.

“Well, sustainability can mean a lot of different things to a lot of different people, but I’m saying it very simply,” Lyons-Blythe said. “Take care of the earth, take care of animals, take care of people and make money. Because if you have these four things, you can be a continuous business and a sustainable business.”

She says Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) certification will be important in the sustainability conversation.

“I think that’s sort of the foundation of animal welfare sustainability,” Lyons-Blythe said. “Going forward I think a program will come up soon where we can actually make money from the term sustainability, I think one of the key things is that you will need to be BQA certified. So my La biggest recommendation is first, get BQA certification.”

For more information on beef quality assurance and to become certified, visit

Source: Agricultural Information Network and Western Agricultural Network