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Is beef production sustainable?  

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Whether or not beef production is sustainable may turn into a very broad discussion, but the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef is trying to determine what factors have to change in order for producers to stay in business while consumers dictate how animals are raised.

I’ve never been afraid of a steak or a hamburger, but that is a concern of those who are analyzing the future of meat production in this country.

The U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (USRSB) recently held its general assembly meeting to continue its work in raising the bar on sustainability for the United States beef industry. Radio Oklahoma Ag Network farm director Ron Hays sat down with the USRSB’s new chair, Kim Stackhouse-Lawson, to get her reaction on the consumer panel discussion that took place.

“I think the one thing that really resonated with me is how much they love beef,” Stackhouse-Lawson said. “Every single one of them loves beef and love that it’s a part of their diet and their life. But, we know that consumers are increasing their emotional connection to food and we know with that, they’re worried about what might be in their food.”

One woman who participated in panel even said she was fearful of her food, which struck Stackhouse-Lawson with sadness as she claims any producer who hears that would feel – to think that a consumer would be afraid to eat something they had produced. However, she says the USRSB has acknowledged this is a real concern among consumers. Rather than taking a passive stance on this issue, Stackhouse-Lawson says the USRSB was formed to face consumers in a proactive way and get out in front of these concerns to address them head on. The primary mission of the roundtable, she explains, is to bring all the different segments of the beef industry together to pool their resources to better inform the public of the good work that is already being done throughout the value-chain and assure consumers of the safety and the quality of the food being produced.

“So, I think there is an incredible opportunity to lift the good work that is taking place in our beef industry; to talk about the way we do things every single day and to really connect with these people,” Stackhouse-Lawson said. “Because I do think we share a lot of similar values.”