GREAT BEND, Kan. – With Tyson Fresh Meats among the first beef processors to partner with transparency-focused Progressive Beef’s cattle program in 2018, the program’s stakeholders announced spiking participation rates among feedlots and corresponding increases in cattle certified under the management and sustainability system. Progressive Beef officials announced on Feb. 20 that the volume of cattle certified through the program has doubled, to 2 million head, while feedlot participation has jumped from 21 to 60 between 2018 and 2020. Feedlot operations are mostly located in the Midwest and Pacific Northwest. Fast-food giant, Wendy’s recently announced its plans to require the bulk of its suppliers to source cattle only from Progressive Beef-certified feedyards, with a compliance goal of 2021.

When Tyson announced its participation in the Progressive Beef program, one of its goals was to encourage other companies in the beef industry to enlist in the program to increase transparency and trust throughout the supply chain, from farm to fork. As the largest-ever cattle management and sustainability program for feedlot operators, Progressive Beef focuses on three main pillars: cattle care, food safety and sustainability. Through a rigorous verification process, Progressive Beef increases transparency and helps give consumers assurances about the beef they purchase.

“Today’s consumers want to know where their beef comes from and that the cattle were raised with care,” said John Butler, CEO of Progressive Beef LLC. “Progressive Beef certifies that participating feedlots meet strict standards for cattle care, environmental sustainability, and process control. We are excited about the program’s growth and the opportunity it creates to deliver more beef to retail and foodservice operators that exceeds consumers’ expectations of how their food was raised.”

To become certified as a licensed Progressive Beef feedlot requires up to 10 months and the cost varies, based on what programs the operations already have implemented that address animal care, food safety and environmental sustainability. Compliance is confirmed by third-party auditors on an annual basis.