Feedlot feed waste management finds positive reaction
Bias information about livestock farming and its impact on the environment has long circulated around the world. But recently, the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association conducted a large research project to counter this negativity.
âOur goal is to increase public confidence in Canadian beef production,â said Amie Peck, Stakeholder Engagement Manager with the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association.
The CCA recently raised awareness with a campaign titled Guardians of the Grasslands, a short documentary that explored the role of cattle in preserving the grasslands of the Great Plains.
In a webinar, Peck said the CCA is now focusing on how feedlots minimize food waste in order to reach a wider audience.
âSo we have to be able to connect with this desire (of consumers) to feel that they are doing something that might be kind of where the conversation on the prairies is failing,â she said.
âIt’s really a little bit separate from the individual when with food waste they say, ‘OK, I’m doing this at home, I can see how it relates to agriculture and other sectors. “
CCA’s research was conducted with 88 participants, mostly urban residents or those not related to agriculture. They were shown a series of commercials and a video illustrating how feedlot production can have a positive impact in areas such as food waste and climate change.
âThe key message is that Canadian beef producers are integral to reducing food waste in Canada,â said Peck.
Respondents said they had heard negative things about beef production, such as that it is bad for the environment, but their perspective was changed by additional information.
The CCA showed attendees social media ads and content describing how feedlots use food waste. Some use grocery waste as animal feed when it is near its expiration date or when it is deemed unfit for human consumption. Another ad showed cattle eating mashed brewer’s grain, a byproduct of beer making.
âAnd the most common reaction we saw here was really, ‘I can’t believe I didn’t know that. Why is this not shared more widely? ‘ So, you know, what we’re seeing is that it works, âPeck said.
They also showed participants a video of a rancher who collects produce from a grocery store and feeds it to his cattle. Again, Peck said this generated a positive response.
âWhat we heard from respondents is that again it turned out to be very attractive, extremely positive and really important,â she said.
âIt shows how farmers responsibly form alliances and partnerships to feed livestock. And there have been a lot of comments about the farmer as a spokesperson, which makes the video more personal and interesting.
Peck said he interviewed attendees after showing them the content to see which message resonated the most – the role of livestock in protecting grasslands or the role of feedlots with food waste. She said 53 percent found the food waste message more relevant to them, while 34 percent preferred the grassland message.
Peck said it’s because urban residents find food waste to be more relevant.