GFM Network News


A pilot program to promote sustainable beef has convinced her family to purchase more cattle produced that way for its feedlot, said Karleen Clark 
(second from left). She operates KCL Cattle Company with (left to right) husband Jared; Tanner and Celia Granberg (Clark’s sister); and their parents 
Les and Lisa Wall.

Producers can now take beef sustainability to the bank

Raising ‘certified sustainable’ beef earns producers a premium and McDonald’s is going all in

Four years after McDonald’s chose Canada to launch its landmark sustainable beef initiative, some producers and feedlots are happily cashing cheques for participating in that effort. And while the amounts so far have been fairly small, it’s a big plus for producers, say participants. “We started on that journey because we thought it was important […] Read more

BIXS launches buying club

The Beef InfoXchange System (BIXS) has launched a buying club for those enrolled in its data collection system. The club will offer producers “deep discounts from retail partners,” said BIXS president and CEO Hubert Lau. There’s a $50 annual fee for joining the club but it’s not charged until a participant’s savings have reached $100, […] Read more


Database follows the money to the packing plant

Study of carcass data shows cattle from an elite breeding program were worth more than $200 a head than the average calf

Sharing data through the entire beef chain adds value that can translate to economic gains — although how much of that might go to cattle producers is a question yet to be answered. McDonald’s Canada, Beefbooster, and BIXSco — the company now running the Beef InfoXchange System — recently collaborated with Livestock Gentec to analyze […] Read more

The nitty-gritty of becoming a ‘verified sustainable’ beef producer

Alberta Beef Producers chair Greg Bowie, who was verified in May, explains what’s involved

Thinking of becoming a producer of ‘verified sustainable beef,’ but wondering just what it involves? There are 31 indicators (available at vsbpilot.ca) that cow-calf producers must meet to qualify for McDonald’s program — and at first glance, it can all seem overwhelming. But it’s actually not that challenging, says Greg Bowie, a seedstock producer from […] Read more


Basic info from cattle database will remain free

But new owners of BIXS also need to create revenue now that government funding has dried up

Cattle producers will be able to access basic data from the now privatized Beef InfoXchange System (BIXS), but may have to pay for some types of information, says the head of the company. “BIXS is totally voluntary, just like the Internet,” said Hubert Lau, president and CEO of BIXSco. “You can use the Internet and […] Read more

McDonald’s has promised its customers that it will ‘begin purchasing‘ verified sustainable beef in 2016, and officials say they will make good 
on that promise in Alberta next year.

McDonald’s sustainable beef pilot moves into high gear

Fast-food giant has a long list of ‘indicators’ and is seeking producers 
ready to prove they’re good stewards

Updated Mar. 16, 2015 for clarification: This story states below (paragraph six) that the indicators for the verified sustainable initiative are scored from 1 (poor) to 5 (excellent). In fact, McDonald’s Canada is still developing the terms that go with the scoring system. In its presentation at the Alberta Beef Industry Conference, an example was given […] Read more


BIXS national co-ordinator Larry Thomas (left) will work with ViewTrak officials Hubert Lau (centre) and Ted Power to create a new and improved beef information database.

Is this the one? Latest BIXS revamp aims to boost bottom line

CCA is partnering with an IT company with the goal of creating a calf-to-carcass 
system that will benefit everyone in the beef chain

BIXS is getting another overhaul — but this revamp could make the beef database a lot more attractive to cattle producers. The Beef InfoXchange System has struggled since its creation four years ago to attract producers, but the company taking it over says it will be expanded and enhanced to bring in all players — […] Read more

BIXS national manager Larry Thomas won't say how many producers have signed up.

Will BIXS be part of the new sustainable beef system?

The Beef InfoXchange System has struggled to attract producers

In order for McDonald’s to sell “verified sustainable beef,” someone will have to do the verifying — but questions remain about whether the favoured candidate is up to the job. “One of the reasons that McDonald’s chose to do the (pilot) project in Canada was because of the foundations like BIXS, the environmental farm plans, […] Read more


Questions and answers on sustainable beef

Just what exactly does “sustainable beef” mean and who is deciding on the definition? The who is the members of the Global Roundtable on Sustainable Beef. There are now several hundred but the key players are companies such as Walmart, JBS, and Cargill, the World Wildlife Fund, and producer groups, including the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association. […] Read more

BIXS will have to attract many more users or it “will die,” said Holly LaBrie, the program’s administrator.

BIXS open for business, but only a fraction of producers have signed up

Fewer than 1,000 producers have signed up for the cattle-tracking database, 
but officials say the revamped system is greatly improved

Fewer than 1,000 producers have signed up for the second go-round of a beleaguered cattle-tracking system — even though it’s free and designed to boost their bottom line. The Beef InfoXchange System (BIXS) is also intended to be the foundation for the “verified sustainable beef” initiative that McDonald’s is piloting in Canada. At the recent […] Read more