WICHITA, Kan. – According to the company that initiated the pilot project 12 months ago, the Canadian Beef Sustainability Acceleration (CBSA) program has succeeded and stakeholders are developing a long-term strategy based on end-user demand and the value proposition for cattle producers. Based on the year-end results, published Dec. 11 by Cargill, the production of verified sustainable Canadian beef produced under the program has benefitted producers and their customers in the foodservice and retail segments.

According to Cargill, supply is not keeping up with demand and more producers are needed, including cow-calf operators. The pilot program organizers are actively recruiting Canadian ranchers as plans are being made to create a more consistent supply chain. 

“The team is focused on increasing the supply of beef from certified sustainable sources, as current customer demand is outpacing supply and the financial reward for producers is only possible if the program consistently meets the needs of retail and foodservice participants,” Cargill said in a statement.

Only Canadian cattle are permitted in the program and currently all processing occurs at Cargill’s High River plant in Alberta, although the company. Cargill first reported success with this program back in March

Guelph, Ontario, beef plant will be qualified to process cattle as part of the CBSA program in the future.

Looking back at the past year, the numbers justify the continued support of the program. Approximately 1.5 million lbs. of certified sustainable beef was produced during the most recent three-month period of the program. This nearly tripled the 550,000 lbs. produced during the first quarter. For the year, 3.7 million lbs. of beef was produced as part of the CBSA program, according to Cargill.   

Depending on the cattle number, weights and demand from the end users participating in the program, cattle producers received quarterly per-head credit payments, which ranged from $10 in the first quarter up to more than $20 per head at the halfway point. 

More information for producers interested in participating in the program is available at www.cbsapilot.ca, but in general, certification requires producers to become Verified Beef Production Plus trained or by completing Where Food Comes From verification.