When you aim to produce the ‘best beef in a better world,’ you’ve got a lot on your plate. But Sean McGrath tackles the target bite by bite.
McGrath also appreciates that the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB) process emphasizes principles and is adaptable on practices.
“I know ranchers don’t like being told what to do, and I would probably be very near the top of that list,” he chuckles. “The principle applies, and then how you accomplish it on your operation is up to you.
A big part of ranch sustainability in McGrath’s mind is economics. So the price to becoming certified has to make sense.
“I think that’s where some of the funding from FCC and Cargill comes in. It’s not necessarily going to change life on our farm, but at least the recognition to reward the effort I think makes a difference.”
“The annual incentive is typically higher than the cost to get certified. The exciting part is not only could it help pay for someone to get certified, but it also recognizes there’s time and effort that goes into the process, so that’s why we thought it was important to have the incentive payment be above what the certification costs are,” explains FCC Sustainability Program Director, Curtis Grainger.
Round Rock Ranching was one of the operations to benefit from the FCC Incentive.
“It doesn’t take that big a cheque to make my day a lot better!” smiles McGrath. “The amount isn’t going to pay off a tractor or buy a new truck, but even just the recognition helps.”
When it comes to aiming for improvements on his ranch, or as an industry, McGrath’s philosophy is to aim for progress over perfection in.
“We’re probably better to start and be 75 per cent right, and make 2 per cent improvement a year over twenty years, rather than wait twenty years to start.”
Did you know? The FCC Sustainability Incentive has been expanded beyond beef. While the partnership with CRSB was first out of the gate, launching in May of 2022, there were two other partnerships established later in the year. One was with McCain’s Regenerative Agriculture Framework on potatoes and the other with the Cargill RegenConnect program for grains and oilseeds.
“Consumers are demanding sustainable commodities, not just in beef but in all sectors. At FCC, we represent all of agriculture and food, so we think it’s our role to provide this type of programming not just in a couple of sectors, but in all the sectors we do business with,” says Grainger. “So CRSB was really critical in establishing that first step in creating something that could be duplicated across industries, which is really exciting.”