Progressive Beef, a cattle management and sustainability program for feedlot operators, is one of the first programs to be recognized by the U.S. Roundtable for Sustainable Beef for being an industry leader in sustainable beef production. The Progressive Beef program continues to grow: In 2020, there will be more than three million head marketed. Currently 48 yards are certified or in the process of becoming certified and participation has doubled in the last year.

“The Progressive Beef program puts recognized critical checks/balances on beef production to help pass value down through the supply chain,” explains Heather Donley, who implements the Progressive Beef program in feedyards. “By getting certified, feedyards are part of a program that offers a supply solution to retailers and foodservice operators where the production practices are known, proven and can be communicated to consumers.”

The Progressive Beef certification includes training and customized standard operating procedures, many of which are centered around continual improvement of sustainability topics such as cattle care, water and energy use. These practices are then verified annually by third party independent audits, conducted by USDA-approved auditors. Feedyards already have many of these procedures in place, needing only minor changes in practices in order to earn the Progressive Beef certification. The certification allows feedyard operators and cattle owners to be rewarded for the hard work they do every day.

With an increase in consumer interest for transparency, product sourced from Progressive Beef certified feedyards is in high demand. Consumers more than ever want to know where their food is coming from and want to ensure it was handled well and treated properly from the start.

In August 2018, it was announced that Tyson Fresh Meats, the beef and pork subsidiary of Tyson Foods, Inc., had become the first beef processor to license the Progressive Beef program. Though this program is not exclusive to Tyson, the license allows the company, which relies on purchasing high quality cattle from independent producers across the country, to work with their customers to fulfill a need of offering a beef program that creates a higher confidence level for consumers while differentiating themselves from other beef programs.

In the foodservice industry, Wendy’s recently endorsed the program and is moving towards having the majority of their beef supply sourced by Progressive Beef certified feedyards by 2021.

To find out more information on the Progressive Beef program, visit www.progressivebeef.com.

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