Tyson Fresh Meats announced the company has become the first beef processor to license the Progressive Beef™ program, a cattle management and sustainability program for feedlot operators.
Launched in 2000 by Beef Marketing Group, the Progressive Beef program is a quality management systems approach to beef production with the goal of bringing transparency and verification to consumers.
Feedyards certified in the program focus efforts in three areas: cattle care, food safety and environmental sustainability, and are verified twice per year. Each audit is a report card, and the metrics involved play a key role in the path of continuous improvement.
Currently, more than one million head of cattle are cared for annually through the program at certified feedyards, primarily located in the Midwest and Pacific Northwest.
“Now more than ever, consumers are demanding to know more about the beef they buy,” said Steve Stouffer, President, Tyson Fresh Meats, “We want to not only help our customers answer questions from consumers, but also help the beef industry address these questions.”
“We are pleased to have Tyson Fresh Meats join us in our effort to grow the number of certified feedyards and therefore increase the pool of cattle available under this program,” said John Butler, Chief Executive Officer of Progressive Beef, LLC.
In an interview with Drovers, Butler described the Progressive Beef program as “BQA on steroids. It broadens the application for best management practices.”
By licensing Progressive Beef, Tyson hope to significantly expand the program’s reach beyond the current one million cattle now produced under its guidelines.
“Feeydards that utilize the Progressive Beef program will not be required to sell cattle to Tyson,” Butler said, although the program’s concept is designed to make the beef more desirable for Tyson’s customers.
“We know that by licensing the Progressive Beef program, we will begin to reshape how we do business,” said Chad Martin, Sr. Vice President, Beef, Tyson Fresh Meats, who is heading up the collaboration. “We welcome others to join us in raising the standard so we can all confidently address consumers concerns.”
The license will also allow Tyson Fresh Meats to work with their customers to fulfill a need to offer a beef program that creates a higher confidence level for consumers while differentiating themselves from other beef programs.