Beef Buzz News
OSU’s Dr. Place Calls Sustainability - a 'Wicked Problem' for Beef Industry
Tue, 23 Jun 2015 15:38:45 CDT
The 2015 edition of the Beef Improvement Federation (BIF) convention was held earlier this month in Biloxi, Mississippi. One of the presenters was Dr. Sara Place, associate professor of animal science at Oklahoma State University. She was tackling the issue of sustainability. For the beef industry, she said you have to measure three different aspects to understand sustainability. She said the ‘sustainability’ discussion started with environmental impacts, but that’s not all. She said you also need to consider economic and social issues.
Ron Hays Beef Buzzes wtith Dr. Sara Place of OSU
In measuring sustainability, Dr. Place calls this a “wicked problem”. The definition of a wicked problem is that it is such a problem doesn’t have one solution. She said it can’t be solved, it can only be managed. That’s because there is no clear definition of the problem of sustainability. There is no right or wrong answer and stakeholders have very different ways of looking at the problem. Thirdly, all of the causes and effects that interact in the beef system and all of the elements that fall under sustainability are complicated.
“They are complex, they are interrelated, we can model some of them, we can’t understand all of them,” Place said. “Some of these things are essentially unknowable, so this is what makes sustainability such a challenge. It’s a wicked problem.”
Just because sustainability is a wicked problem, Dr. Place said that doesn’t mean she doesn’t have a good idea about what she thinks sustainability is.
“I would say, longterm business viability, stewardship of natural resources and responsibility to community, family and animals,” Place said. “So, within that definition are those three components - economics, environment and our social issues. So really what it’s about is a balance of those three, at the nexus of those three and of course the challenge is, that’s going to be different for every single operation.”
Dr. Place said the beef industry has to deal with this “wicked problem” of sustainability.
Radio Oklahoma Network Farm Director Ron Hays featured Dr. Place on the Beef Buzz feature. Click or tap on the LISTEN BAR below to listen to today's Beef Buzz.
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