ESG Conversations to Become More Frequent Over Time and Impact Cattle Industry

Click here to listen to Ron Hays talk with Don Close about ESG.

Editor’s note- Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster Ron Hays was at Day One of the 2023 International Livestock Congress in Houston where the total focus was on the impact of ESG to Beef cattle. Over the several Beef Buzz reports, Hays will explore what was discussed at the Congress as it relates to Cattle and this exploding concept. 

Senior Farm and Ranch Broadcaster, Ron Hays, attended the 2023 International Livestock Congress at the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. Following the presentation, Hays visited with the moderator, Don Close, talking about the impacts of ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance), on the beef cattle industry.

“I don’t think there is anything that is impacting agriculture globally as broad as the whole environmental and sustainability component,” Close said. “The classic line that, ‘if you are not at the table, you are soon going to be on the menu,’ I think that is the real message here that we can do the work now to largely determine our own future, or we can sit back, and it will be determined for us.”

The three big drivers in consumer decision-making, Close said, are price, taste, and food-safety.

“On the sustainability side, in my view, I am not convinced that consumers want to know where their food comes from as much as they want to know they have the ability to determine where their food comes from, should they choose to look into it,” Close said.

One thing that livestock producers have seen in this ESG conversation is the proposed rules from the Securities and Exchange Commission, requiring companies to go to their suppliers and get greenhouse gas emission data, which could include livestock producers. Even if cattle produces wanted to deliver that information to cooperate partners, Close said there is no way to measure it at this point.

“I just don’t think we are there yet with the measuring capabilities to implement that phase of it,” Close said. “Can that be in our list of goals looking forward? I have no opposition to that, but I think we need to be really careful that we can indeed measure and document what we are claiming before we have a lot of liability out there, making claims that are very likely going to change.”

That data, Close said, can be measured in a number of ways, but the industry has a long way to go before agreeing on an accurate and effective way to do so. The ESG conversation, Close said, will only become more frequent as time goes by.

“It is not going to go away, and they need to be educated, they need to be informed, and they need to be in a position to make good decisions going forward,” Close said.

The Beef Buzz is a regular feature heard on radio stations around the region on the Radio Oklahoma Ag Network and is a regular audio feature found on this website as well. Click on the LISTEN BAR for today’s show and check out our archives for older Beef Buzz shows covering the gamut of the beef cattle industry today.

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