MINNEAPOLIS — Cargill announced on July 19 that it developed a Gold Standard-approved beef methodology in partnership with TREES Consulting that provides a framework for the entire beef industry to reduce methane emissions.

“We know that the industry is looking for more accurate tools to measure methane reduction,” said Joanne Sharpe, Cargill’s global ruminant sustainability lead. “As producers look at their current levels of production efficiency and work toward sustainability goals, we are committed to finding ways to ensure they can be recognized and rewarded for their efforts. As part of our methane reduction priorities, this methodology is a key step toward opening new possibilities to reduce GHG emissions in the beef supply chain.”

Gold Standard was created in 2003 by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) and other international organizations to set a standard for climate interventions that is quantifiable and maximizes impact.

The new methodology, “Reducing Methane Emissions from Enteric Fermentation in Beef Cattle through Application of Feed Supplements,” provides a resource for beef producers to look to a set of parameters to quantify, audit and verify methane reductions.

Cargill noted that common causes of methane emissions in the beef industry include cattle’s digestion through eructation and from manure handling.

In Cargill’s wholistic approach to sustainable beef production through its Reach4Reduction program, the company is targeting cattle feed and nutrition. The program highlights the importance of feed management and nutrition from everything from feed formulation to preparation to digestion. Cargill’s strategy is that, while cattle digestion is inevitable, it can reduce the intensity of methane emissions through supplemental changes in feed and nutrition and increased animal productivity.

“Changing agricultural practice can help reduce methane emissions, and this new methodology provides beef producers with a way to reliably measure the impact of those changes,” said Margaret Kim, chief executive officer at Gold Standard. “Cargill’s support is helping pave the way for the animal agriculture industry to reduce methane emissions and it complements Gold Standard’s other efforts to reduce the impact of agriculture on our planet — such as our recently published methodology which reduces the methane emitted by rice production.”

Producers adopting the new methodology will establish a baseline of emissions for a minimum of three consecutive years. Following that period, cattle given feed supplements will be monitored to track changes in methane emissions. Those embarking on this project are recommended to track emissions for a five-year period, which can be renewed for an additional five years, excluding the baseline.