The stewardship of terrestrial and aquatic habitat in relation to water, soil, and biodiversity in an area. Impacts of land use and land use conversion, both caused by and prevented by ranching and farming activities and other supply chain land use decisions.
Why is this indicator important to the Feedyard sector?
Proper management, improvement and protection of land resources that are owned or operated by the feedyard are focused on utilizing manure and stormwater runoff to provide water and organic nutrients to crops. The feedyard facility itself (i.e., cattle pens, feedmill, feed storage areas) is addressed in the water resources indicator.
Has a nutrient management strategy or plan been implemented?
Why did we choose this metric?
A feedyard owner and operator who implements a nutrient management strategy or plan will have a significant impact on the sustainability indicators of land resources and water resources as listed above. Application of nutrient-rich wastewater can reduce the need for artificial or commercial fertilizer, increasing the probability of the feedyard and potentially other nearby farms by providing an economically feasible and readily-available source of nutrients. This is also a positive impact on the sustainability indicator of air and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The efficient recycling of nutrients through a nutrient management strategy, or plan, in most cases will also reduce air and GHG emissions.
A feedyard owner and operator who implements a nutrient management strategy or plan will have a significant impact on land resources sustainability outcomes. Outcomes of such a strategy or plan include:
- Managing wastewater
- Monitoring soil health
- Prescribing the proper application rates of nutrients to crops and pastures
In many areas of the U.S., feedyards procure feed inputs from other farmers, elevators, commodity buyers or neighbors. In those instances, the feedyard does not have any control over the land where those commodities were grown and in most cases the feed inputs, such as corn, are not traceable to a specific farm.
Why do these outcomes matter?
The ability for all feedyards, no matter their size or location, to develop a plan that works for their operation will be key to making significant strides in beef sustainability. Due to differences in soil types, climate, and other factors, it is important for feedyards to base such strategy or plan on the best regional data and resources. Improving nutrient management through the adoption of this metric will have positive incomes on land stewardship, water resources, and potentially offset fertilizer requirements for feed crop production.
Increasing adoption of the U.S. Beef Industry Sustainability Framework land resources metric on feedyards in the U.S.
How does this metric continuously improve beef sustainability?
Increasing the number of feedyards developing and implementing a nutrient management plan in the U.S. can have a significant positive effect on outcome-based metrics associated with land resources. Any measurable progress toward increasing the proportion of U.S. feedyards that implement a nutrient management plan will be recognized as continuous improvement in this area.