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Reduced Carbon Intensity of Fed Cattle


The American Carbon Registry (ACR), a non-profit enterprise of Winrock International, has in the approval process a new Quantification Methodology for Reduced Carbon Intensity of Fed Cattle.

The methodology was prepared by a Protocol Scientific Adaptation Team convened under the USDA Conservation Innovation Grant entitled Bovine Innovative Greenhouse Gas Solutions (BIGGS). It was adapted from three Alberta Offset System Quantification Protocols for beef cattle feeding, and developed with financial support from the United States Department of Agriculture - Natural Resources Conservation Service.

The production of beef cattle results in GHG emissions including enteric methane (CH4) from digestion of feed in the rumen, and methane and nitrous oxide (N2O) from manure storage and handling. This methodology addresses both emission sources. GHG reductions arise from alterations in feeding strategies and other technologies that reduce the carbon intensity, per kg of fed cattle, at feedyards in the United States.

The methodology allows any feeding practice or management strategy that decreases carbon intensity. The metrics for both baseline and project are intensity-based, using a functionally equivalent unit of kg CO2 equivalent emissions per kg of carcass weight.  It does not prescribe any particular feeding practice because it is recognized that different feedyard operators will use different techniques and several techniques may be used at once and may vary over time. GHG reductions are quantified by comparing actual project performance to a performance standard baseline, based on national datasets analyzed by Colorado State University, representing typical feedyard performance in the United States. Reductions in carbon intensity of fed cattle, provided they are not mandated by any applicable regulation, are recognized as additional and credited relative to the performance standard baseline.

Process documentation


File PDF document BIGGS public comment draft
File PDF document BIGGS public comments and responses
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