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·         Media Release: Low Carbon Beef Offers New Sustainability Certification: LCB Enrolled

Cattle producers can now seek LCB Enrolled verification to signal their cattle were raised with reduced GHG emissions


·         Is There Really Such a Thing as Low-Carbon Beef?

The USDA is making it easier for farmers to market their meat as “low-carbon.” Not everyone is happy about it.



Low Carbon Beef Offers New Sustainability Certification: LCB Enrolled


Source: Low Carbon Beef LLC

via Drovers - July 29, 2022


Low Carbon Beef LLC is a cattle certification company that enables cattle producers to monitor, measure, and verify reduced greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. LCB’s certification programs are designed to enable cattle producers an opportunity to earn market premiums for cattle that demonstrate reduced GHG emissions. LCB has announced a new certification for weaned calves called LCB Enrolled.


Cattle producers can now seek LCB Enrolled verification to signal their cattle were raised with reduced GHG emissions. Cow-calf producers and backgrounders can see if their calves qualify for LCB Enrolled certification by submitting data to quantify the GHG emissions across four key categories: feeds, fuels, fertilizers, and function. Scores represent the cattle's performance for that specific segment of the beef production lifecycle. Cattle certified as LCB Enrolled will be on track for Low Carbon Beef's USDA Process Verified Program (PVP) if they continue to meet the required standards through each lifecycle segment, with final scoring for the PVP conducted within 60 days of slaughter.


LCB has selected IMI Global, a division of Where Food Comes From (WFCF), as a third-party verification company to verify practices for the new LCB Enrolled program audit.


"We're proud to offer this program for cattle producers to document and validate their efforts to reduce the greenhouse gas impact of their operations,” said Dr. Colin Beal, founder and chief executive officer of Low Carbon Beef. "We’re excited to work with IMI Global, which has set the standard for cattle verification, certification, and audit programs. LCB Enrolled provides cattle buyers an opportunity to purchase cattle that are strong candidates for the LCB USDA PVP and offers cattle sellers an opportunity to add value to their cattle."


"Our goal is to help the marketplace add value through voluntary third-party verification and we appreciate Low Carbon Beef's trust in us for the verification of their LCB Enrolled program,” said Doug Stanton, vice president of sales & business development for IMI Global.


Low Carbon Beef is actively enrolling cattle for certification and pilot programs. Cattle producers who are interested in having their calves certified as LCB Enrolled are required to be BeefCARE approved and should contact [email protected] for more information.


About Low Carbon Beef


Low Carbon Beef LLC is a certification company and a USDA Process Verified Program service provider that certifies cattle raised with reduced GHG emissions, enabling cattle producers to earn premiums for cattle that qualify for the programs. Founded in 2018, LCB is the only lifecycle-based approach to certifying cattle with a significantly reduced carbon footprint over U.S. baseline beef production. Experts in lifecycle assessment and animal science developed the LCB methodology to ultimately provide consumers with the ability to differentiate beef produced with reduced GHG emissions and provide the cattle industry with a way to quantify and document commitments to sustainability. Learn more at


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Is There Really Such a Thing as Low-Carbon Beef?

The USDA is making it easier for farmers to market their meat as “low-carbon.” Not everyone is happy about it.


Matt Reynolds, WIRED

Jan 17, 2022


There are a lot of ways to describe a hunk of beef. Take a stroll through the meat department of a grocery store in the United States and you’ll be presented with a smorgasbord of meaty descriptors detailing the upbringing of your dinner: Angus, antibiotic-free, hormone-free, grass-fed, vegetarian-fed, and so on. But soon you might see another, more perplexing, description on the label: low-carbon.


In November, the US Department of Agriculture approved a program that will open a path for beef producers to market their meat as low-carbon. Producers who can prove that their cattle are raised in a way that emits 10 percent less greenhouse gases than an industry baseline can qualify for the certification scheme, which is run by a private company called Low Carbon Beef.


This is the first time that the USDA has approved this kind of certification for beef, and it will make it easier for manufacturers to eventually suggest that their products are more environmentally friendly than those of their competitors. “If you go to the meat aisle, you can’t really tell whether this pound of hamburger generated more emissions than another pound of hamburger,” says Colin Beal, a former rancher and the founder of Low Carbon Beef. Beal says some small producers have already been certified by his company, although applications to label beef as low-carbon must go through a separate USDA approval process. A USDA official said the agency had not yet received any such applications.


But some scientists are worried that such labels might mislead shoppers by dramatically understating the climate effects of raising cattle. Beef has one of the biggest carbon footprints among food items. In 2018, climate scientists Joseph Poore and Thomas Nemecek released their global analysis of the greenhouse gas emissions involved in producing 40 common foods. Beef came out way on top: Per gram of protein, beef produces about nine times more emissions than poultry, six-and-half times more than pork, and 25 times more than soybeans. Even lamb, which comes second in Poore and Nemecek’s analysis, produces less than half the carbon emissions of beef per gram of protein.


A steak labeled as low-carbon is likely to have produced many times more emissions than other foods that a shopper might reach for as an alternative, says Matthew Hayek, an environmental scientist at New York University. “The point of a label is to precisely communicate something to consumers,” he says. A low-carbon label “implies that it’s lower carbon than something else that they could pick up right there.” Most of the time, for beef, that simply won’t be true.


There’s also the question of where you set the benchmark for low-carbon beef. Producers who want to be certified must provide detailed data on how their cattle were raised, and Beal’s company uses that data to estimate the carbon emissions involved in taking those cows from birth to slaughter. If the assessment finds that these emissions were at least 10 percent lower than the Low Carbon Beef benchmark, then the beef can be certified as having reduced greenhouse gas emissions. Producers can then use this certification to support marketing claims made on their labels, which must be approved by the USDA. The agency uses similar programs to regulate much of the wording that appears on meat labels.


To achieve its certification, Low Carbon Beef requires the meat to come in at least 10 percent below 26.3 kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalents per kilogram of carcass weight—a way of expressing greenhouse gas emissions that takes into account the different warming impacts of gases such as methane. But this may be a little on the high side: A 2019 study of beef production in the US found that it produced on average 21.3 kilograms of carbon dioxide equivalents per kilogram of carcass weight.


Karen Beauchemin, an expert on cattle nutrition at Canada’s Department of Agriculture and Agri-Food, also said that Beal’s benchmark seems a little too high: