US poultry producers will later this year have the chance to better measure and benchmark the sustainability of their farms.
The US Roundtable for Sustainable Poultry and Eggs (US-RSPE) is looking to create better metrics to measure sustainability, according to Ernie Meier, director of quality systems for McDonald’s.
Speaking to the US House Agriculture Committee as part of its 2023 Farm Bill conversation, Meier said: “Every producer is monitoring the energy use they receive – whether it’s an electric bill, diesel bill, natural gas bill, and so they have a baseline that they can then put into the system.
“They’ll know where they stand and what they are measuring when we generate all of our data, and we have our final reports that we will release once we have this tool launched. Producers will then be able to benchmark where they are amongst other producers and the industry itself.”
The online, scalable and independent tool is set to launch later this year and will include data from both producers and integrators to help the industry benchmark and set new targets. It follows 8 full supply chain pilot assessments across the chicken, turkey, and egg sectors completed last year.
There is much interest in the tool. Jessica Langley, director of sustainability at Pilgrim’s and JBS USA, recently said that as a global food company it had a responsibility, now more than ever, to be more sustainable.
“However, it will take the entire value chain to make an impactful difference as we all move forward. It is equally important for all stakeholders in our supply chain, regardless of size, to be able to work together to continue to improve. US-RSPE gives us a pathway to work together.”
Lankford Ruffin, director of environmental affairs at Butterball, said he was excited by the venture: “Because it was built specifically for poultry and eggs, I can integrate it into our existing sustainability programme easily. And I am confident that the metrics included are important to our stakeholders.”
Ryan Bennett, US-RSPE executive director, added: “It says a lot about those working in poultry that even though chicken, turkey, and eggs are proven to be some of the world’s most sustainably produced proteins, we aren’t resting on our laurels. In fact, we are charging ahead.”
Lawmakers are considering how to fund conservation programmes as part of the new Farm Bill.