Fri, 16 Sep 2022 09:36:04 CDT
Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster, Ron Hays, had the chance to visit with Robert Wells from Integrity Beef, an alliance that simplifies cow/calf producer management decisions and increases the marketability of calves through the production of high-quality, uniform, value-stacked, preconditioned cattle.
Dr. Robert Wells has been with Noble Research Institute since 2005 and for the last 12 years, he has served as the Executive Director of Integrity Beef. Integrity Beef was established by Noble Research Institute back in 2000 and has now been a “stand-alone” for the last several years. Primarily serving cattle producers in Oklahoma and Texas, Integrity Beef is getting ready to go national.
American Farmland Trust is the lead partner in an eight-state project to amplify the production of climate-smart beef, funded by the USDA Climate Smart Ag grant. Among other major partners selected for the project, is Integrity Beef. In this producer-led collaborative effort to transition the U.S. beef supply chain to carbon neutral, Integrity Beef will play a role in helping ranchers adopt climate-smart grazing practices to substantially reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions and increase carbon sequestration.
“We came together, American Farmland Trust and Integrity Beef, at NCBA this last year and sat down and had a discussion,” Wells said. “We found out that there were a lot of synergies there. A lot of the same desires of where we were trying to go in the industry and get our producers to that same endpoint. We decided to work together to develop a request for funding proposal with the USDA, and Integrity Beef is kind of a linchpin in that because we have the marketing kind of already there, established. Because of that, we can help those producers monetize the higher quality value of their cattle.”
Through the Integrity Beef legacy, Wells said sustainability practices can be documented to show that producers are implementing certain measures to move their ranch forward to be more sustainable in nature.
“We are making it where maybe the son who, before never had the opportunity to come home to the ranch- now the ranch is big enough or making enough money where the son can come home and work side by side with dad,” Well said. “To me, that is the ultimate definition of sustainability, when we can keep the ranch in the same family, and instead of the son having to wait his turn when dad passes on to come onto the ranch and take over, now he can work side by side and get that generational continuity and to be able to start to make that ranch so much more functional and better than it has ever been.”
Ranchers, Wells said, care about the land and making it better than it was the day before.
The Climate Smart Grant will help Integrity Beef move from a regional program to a national program.
“That is where this grant is going to be the spark plug that we needed because it is going to provide some funding,” Wells said. “ Some kind of seed funding or seed money there for us to be able to take this program which we believe has the ability to be a watershed moment in the beef industry, but to take it to that national level and get it launched.”
Hopefully, Wells said, years from now, Integrity Beef can sit back and say they helped the industry value proper grazing management, taking care of employees, the environment, and the animals.
“If we do all of those things, it will take care of ourselves and the ranches in the process,” Wells said. “And we will be good stewards of the land. We will have a bully puppet, so to speak, to be able to stand up and tell our consumers that we are doing the right things and we have got a good, tasty product they can eat.”
Click the LISTEN BAR below to listen to Ron Hays and Robert Wells talking about Integrity Beef making new tracks with Climate Smart Ag Grant.
The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR below for today’s show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.
To visit the Integrity Beef website, click here.