Our Programs

Applications of the Grasslands Alliance Standard in the Marketplace

Image 10: Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) technical assistance specialists in Texas work with clipping (vegetation monitoring) plots to determine forage supply and set stocking rates. Source: http://sustainablerangelands.blogspot.com/

Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) technical assistance specialists in Texas work with clipping (vegetation monitoring) plots to determine forage supply and set stocking rates. Source: http://sustainablerangelands.blogspot.com/

Grasslands Alliance Certification: Grazing operations can be certified when they meet the Grasslands Alliance standard’s critical criteria, score high enough overall on remaining criteria, and commit to additional improvements before the next audit in the three-year cycle. Ranches and farms that earn the certification can market their beef products with the Grasslands Alliance’s seal of approval so that buyers and consumers can recognize them. Restaurants, retailers, and other beef buyers can employ the seal to convey their sustainability commitment to other businesses, stakeholders, and customers. The Grasslands Alliance’s certification mark is currently under development.

Enabling Producers to Achieve Stepwise Continuous Improvement Goals: Sustainability is the goal, and earning certification is a milestone to celebrate. The Grasslands Alliance understands that many operations will need time and support to achieve certification. Producers should benefit at every step along the way. Those who do not yet qualify for certification and corporate buyers who seek to improve their supply chains can partner with the Grasslands Alliance to achieve step-wise continuous improvement goals. For example, completing the Grasslands Alliance application helps ranchers and farmers assess the current status of their natural resource base, identify improvement opportunities, and develop a better ranch or farm management plan to implement the improvements. Entry into the program brings producers to the attention of commercial buyers who are planning their beef supply chain sustainability and procurement strategies. The standard will serve as a guide to continuous improvement, and the Grasslands Alliance will provide assistance, information, and peer support during each step of the journey toward sustainability.

Image 6: Before and After changes to better riparian management practices on an eastern pasture operation – a cattle crossing and stream fencing were used along with ecological engineering to restore the aquatic and riparian habitat along this reach of Oostanaula Creek, Tennessee while still providing cattle watering access.  Funded by the TN Dept of Ag 319 Program. Source: https://ag.tennessee.edu/watersheds/Pages/default.aspx

Before and After changes to better riparian management practices on an eastern pasture operation – a cattle crossing and stream fencing were used along with ecological engineering to restore the aquatic and riparian habitat along this reach of Oostanaula Creek, Tennessee while still providing cattle watering access.  Funded by the TN Dept of Ag 319 Program. Source: https://ag.tennessee.edu/watersheds/Pages/default.aspx

Enabling Buyers to Achieve Beef Supply Chain Sustainability Goals: The Grasslands Alliance can help commercial buyers and brands manage risks and opportunities in their beef supply chains, benchmark their own sustainable sourcing guidelines against the standard, and develop accurate and transparent claims about more sustainable beef. The program will underwrite marketing claims with independent, third-party, sustainability certification.

Grasslands Alliance Support Programs 

The standard guides continuous improvement, and every transition to better practices, every investment, must contribute to the triple bottom line. They must be economically and logistically viable. The Grasslands Alliance is developing support programs to enable participating producers to reap environmental and economic benefits alike. The program will adaptively address concerns about costs, time requirements, and other real-life barriers to improving ranch and farm management. As the program expands, we will facilitate access to valuable capacity-building resources and opportunities for participating producers, including:

  • Technical Assistance and Training: The Grasslands Alliance is committed to identifying the best ways to connect producers with the technical assistance they need to realize the triple bottom-line benefits of improving management systems and practices.
  • Financial Assistance: The Grasslands Alliance is committed to identifying ways to facilitate connections between producers and the financial resources they need to cover the up-front costs of investments in management improvements. With a variety of federal, state, and private incentive and financing programs available, some producers need advice choosing the right ones for their operation.
  • Monitoring, Evaluation, and Research: Are the Grasslands Alliance’s programs making a measurable difference?  Are native plant and wildlife populations healthier on certified ranches, is the grass and soil more productive, and are operations boosting productivity, cutting costs, and improving profits? Our Monitoring, Evaluation, and Research Program will collaborate with academic, NGO, agency, and ranching partners to answer these questions by establishing baselines and tracking continuous improvement of measurable results on a subset of participating ranches and farms. The Grasslands Alliance will take advantage of monitoring results to optimize our programs. Click here to learn more about how the Rainforest Alliance measures the impact of its work to ensure that its programs are as effective as possible.

Please Contact Us for opportunities to partner with the Grasslands Alliance on developing and implementing our support programs.