JBS director Jerry O’ Callaghan told ASA conference delegates that the biggest challenges facing his company is that of procuring sufficient cattle on a weekly basis to meet its processing needs.

JBS is a Brazilian company that is the largest food processing company in the world – in terms of sales – producing factory processed beef, chicken and pork, and also selling by-products from the processing of these meats. It is headquartered in São Paulo. The business has an annual turnover of €30 billion.

“We proactively communicate the prices that we are paying for cattle on a regular basis,” he said.

“Even to the extent of buying a hour-long slot every week on Brazil’s farming television channel. Our aim is to be totally transparent with our farmer suppliers, both in terms of the cattle that we need and the prices we are paying.  We have no option but to take this approach. Our business is very much pitched at supplying a commodity, no-frills product to customers in South America, North America, Australia and Asia.

“When required we will enter into fixed price contract supply arrangements with our farmers. We will also pre-pay a proportion of the price agreed for cattle that are in the supply chain.”

According to Jerry JBS is also committed to achieving the highest standards of sustainability at farm level in Brazil. A case in point is the company’s JBS’s Amazon Biome Monitoring programme. This has been designed to minimize deforestation in the Amazon rainforest. GPS devices are installed on all JBS cattle trucks in the region and the location of loading pens, farm name, property owner name and tax ID number are loaded into a traceability system.

The system is being successfully implemented to find suppliers that are operating outside of the de-forestation guidelines. Farmers caught in this way will be immediately de-listed as JBS suppliers.