GFM Network News


Verified Beef looks to remote audit system

Reading Time: < 1 minute Verified Beef Production Plus (VBP+) is exploring new ways to deliver certification services to producers. A new electronic audit management system has entered a pilot testing phase, and the organization is looking at ways to deliver VBP+ certification services by remote audit. The goal is to ensure the same conclusions are determined from the remote […] Read more

Tracking beef produced under sustainable beef protocols from ranches all the way to a store or restaurant is a big undertaking. VBP+ 
is using government grants to make its part of the tracking system more streamlined and cost-effective.

Sustainable beef pilot moving up to the next level

With more than a thousand ranchers and feedlots on board, the challenge is making the operation itself sustainable


Reading Time: 3 minutes A shot of federal funding for Verified Beef Production Plus will help make the running of the sustainable beef program itself more sustainable — while improving it for participating producers. The $602,000 federal grant will help the Canadian Beef Sustainability Acceleration Pilot take a step up and become an ongoing program, said Shannon Argent, business manager […] Read more


Lakeland College gets VBP+ certification

Reading Time: < 1 minute Lakeland College is the first post-secondary institution in Alberta to attain Verified Beef Production Plus (VBP+) certification. Having the school’s herd of 220 beef cattle fall under this certification makes it “an example for future producers,” said Melissa Downing, Alberta VBP+ co-ordinator. “We can help influence students going through the program so they can become familiar […] Read more

Upcoming cattle sale sessions just for VBP+ cattle

Reading Time: < 1 minute Two upcoming cattle sales will be devoted exclusively to Verified Beef Production Plus cattle. The buying sessions, put on by JGL Livestock, are the first time cattle procurement has been offered exclusively for VBP+ cattle. The animals will be processed at Cargill’s High River plant and are eligible for the Canadian Beef Sustainability Acceleration pilot […] Read more



Number of beef cows in Alberta by region (comparing 2001 to 2016).

The long decline is over as cow herd finally stabilizes

A lot has changed in the past decade and a half — but what comes next for Alberta’s cattle sector?

Reading Time: 5 minutes The big shrink seems to be over — but Alberta’s cow herd is considerably changed from the pre-BSE era. The latest Census of Agriculture found 1.57 million head in the province in 2016, a very slight increase (of 13,500 animals) compared to five years earlier. The herd is not only much smaller than prior to […] Read more


Pooling cattle from audited sustainable beef operations and tracing the beef every step of the way is a big logistical challenge — but now that it’s been done, it could open doors to new markets for cattle producers.

A new dawn? Sustainable beef puts money in producers’ pockets

It’s only $10 a cow, but pilot marks the first time producers 
have been paid for their stewardship efforts

Reading Time: 4 minutes The first rubber-meets-the-road test of the years-long effort to make sustainable beef a paying proposition has been a success. After three months of testing, the Canadian Beef Sustainability Acceleration pilot project has shown that tracing certified sustainable cattle and beef through the supply chain is possible at current volumes. “It’s one of the first times […] Read more

Verified Beef Production Plus launches expanded website

Reading Time: < 1 minute The Verified Beef Production Plus (VBP+) program has a new website, with information for both consumers and producers. The website, verifiedbeefproductionplus.ca, has information on topics such as VBP+ online training, five easy steps for getting on the program, and details on modules for animal care, biosecurity, and environmental stewardship. There is also an auction listing […] Read more


Melissa Downing

New provincial VBP+ co-ordinator hired in Alberta

Reading Time: < 1 minute Melissa Downing is the new provincial co-ordinator for the Verified Beef Production Plus program. Downing is an agrologist, and she and her husband raise cattle near Metiskow in east-central Alberta. This is a pivotal time in the beef industry and VBP+ “has the potential to establish Canada as a leader in sustainable verification and result […] Read more