Calgary (Rural Roots Canada) – The Verified Beef Production Plus program continues to grow.

Melissa Downing, who is the Provincial Coordinator for the program, says this helps cattle producers show they have good practices.

She says the program has seen a real surge in members over the last three years.

“Because we have had industry initiatives come up, and the retailers and restaurants have stepped up to say they want this product, they want certified sustainable beef.” Downing said.

She says the verified beef program is a way of becoming certified sustainable under the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef standards.

“Once a producer is meeting those standards and certified, they can access those value chains and those markets that might require that. And so the growth of the program has been a lot of it’s been related to that.”

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Downing says producers are seeing the need to tell their stories to consumers.

She says by telling their stories and building that public trust it makes sure that they can relay the good things that they’re doing.

“My kids are the fifth generation on our farm, and I would love for the industry to be strong and a good option for them to become involved in when they’re ready to look at that.”

Downing says they have had many feedlots sign-up, meaning there is demand for cow-calf operations to get on board.

“There’s a lot of opportunities because those feedlots are looking to fill their pens with these VBP+ calves.”

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She says if they get certified, they could market towards those feedlots that are looking for the calves.

The demand by retailers for beef from this program continues, so much so that demand is outstripping supply.

“This puts the VBP+ producers in a perfect position to try to market towards that and it’s good to see that there are programs that are rewarding producers for being involved in a program like this that showcases good production practices.”