Exploring the Role of Corn Sustainability in the Beef Supply Chain

April 3, 2019

Exploring the Role of Corn Sustainability in the Beef Supply Chain

Apr 3, 2019

Key Issues:SustainabilityAnimal Agriculture

Author: Mark Lambert

The National Corn Growers Association participated in the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef’s Feed Transparency Summit at McDonalds Headquarters in Chicago last week. Representatives from the major grain aggregators, feed yards, packers, brands and retailers, as well as non-governmental organizations (NGOs) were also present.


“Continuing to be a part of these conversations is extremely important, as corn and DDGs are a primary component of rations fed to beef cattle,” said NCGA First Vice President and Iowa farmer Kevin Ross. “The meeting was the first step towards exploring opportunities to pilot a collaborative project between the grain and beef value chains to improve transparency. Consumers are asking more and more questions about where their food comes from. The summit brought together stakeholders from across the beef supply chain to discuss that.”


Each group in attendance had the opportunity to expand upon the challenges and opportunities within their industry and shared their perspectives on what the broader value chain needs to be aware of.


“Special attention was given to the role of investors in pushing grain aggregators, packers, and brands and retailers towards having public commitments to sustainability and measurable metrics and targets,” Ross added. “We shared NCGA’s sustainability goals and initiatives with the group, so they were aware of what we already have in place and what we are working towards to help demonstrate corn’s positive impacts to the environment and the beef value chain.”


Moving forward, the group agreed to continue discussions on publicly available sustainability metrics and data. Attendees representing NCGA included: Nathan Fields, vice president of production and sustainability; Sarah McKay, director of market development; Kevin Ross, Iowa farmer and NCGA first vice president; Ken Harman, Illinois farmer and NCGA board member; Brandon Hunnicutt, Nebraska farmer and NCGA board member and Paul Hodgen, Indiana farmer and Indiana Corn Marketing Council board member.