WICHITA, Kan. – Cargill Cattle Feeders LLC has enlisted the help of consultants to create a verified beef supply chain sustainability assessment program for the company's feed yards. Cargill Cattle Feeders is the cattle supply arm of the company's US beef business.

Kennedy and Coe LLC, a Wichita-based consultancy, will apply its expertise in sustainability and its ResourceMax assessment service as part of the initiative. The assessment will begin with a yearlong focus on economic, environmental and community impacts of Cargill's four feed yards in Texas, Kansas and Colorado. Cargill personnel will perform data collection, while Kennedy and Coe will generate ResourceMax reports. The reports will later be analyzed and benchmarking will be established to support ongoing improvement and verification of Cargill's sustainability efforts. Dr. Dan Thomson, a bovine veterinarian and director of Kansas State Univ.'s Beef Cattle Institute, will provide technical support.

"The goal of this project is to provide sustainability information that stakeholders find relevant across the supply chain, including suppliers, customers, NGOs, producer groups, trade associations and consumers," said Sara Harper, Kennedy and Coe's director of sustainability and supply chain solutions. "Today, people have a desire to know how the food they eat is produced and where it comes from. Cargill is pioneering transparency and collaboration with its beef customers to share information important to consumers."

Cargill said the sustainability assessment could eventually be expanded to include cattle production in collaboration with stocker operations, ranchers and Cargill's strategic feed yard partners.

"As global demand for animal proteins to nourish people continues to rise in concert with increasing population and consumer income levels, it is important to improve the way we use resources to produce beef," said John Keating, president of Cargill's North American beef business. "As a leading beef producer, we believe it is critical to improve the way we manage resources, and we will develop a way to measure the effective use of inputs and outputs ranging from water and feed, to worker safety, manure management, air quality, energy use, land stewardship and animal welfare. We believe this is a step in the right direction that complements our overall focus on sustainable supply chains and will also benefit our customers."

In other Cargill news, the company's latest animal nutrition technology utilizes "big data" analysis to deliver customized nutrition solutions to its customers.

The Cargill Nutrition System (CNS) is a new nutrient formulating platform that combines global nutrient analysis of feed ingredients, the latest nutrient application research and ingredient sourcing. The company said CNS provides customers with clarity and consistency in feed application. The CNS database is comprised of more than 2 million nutrient samples, covering more than 200 ingredients and 10 million annual nutrient predictions.

“Our customers operate in an ever-changing environment. CNS allows us to design products and solutions that take their unique and changing conditions into account and help manage them effectively,” said Scott Ainslie, director of Strategic Marketing & Technology for Cargill's animal nutrition business. “CNS combines 'big data' nutrient analysis, world-leading nutrient application expertise and Cargill's sourcing power to allow us to provide customers with clarity in feed application, rather than just a 'best guess,' to achieve better production costs and higher performance.”

Cargill said its CNS already is delivering benefits to its customers, from poultry producers in Indonesia to sow producers in Vietnam.

“By understanding species' specific nutrient requirements better than anyone else, we are able to consistently deliver improved solutions to our customers,” said Henk Enting, poultry technology director for Cargill's animal nutrition business. “Without CNS, poultry would continue to be overfed a number of fermentable nutrients, potentially resulting in performance issues for the animal due to undigested nutrients, as well as unnecessary spending by our customers. As a result of changing the diet, customers in Indonesia saw a decrease in wet litter and feed cost savings.”