Jerry O'Callaghan of JBS USA spoke today in the Beef break out session. Born in Cork, Ireland, O'Callaghan moved to Brazil in 1979 and began his career in the Brazilian beef industry. He joined JBS in 1996 to develop its international business. And develop it, he did.
O'Callaghan outlined JBS' amazing growth over the last several years to become the world's largest producer of animal protein and the third largest food company. They were the first beef company to launch an IPO and today they are involved in a diverse range of products, including: pork, chicken, dairy, lamb, leather and biodiesel. O'Callaghan also spoke on historical and predicted growth in consumption of protein worldwide and described the animal protein industry as a very promising sector.
Sustainability and social involvement are also important to JBS and O'Callaghan described several projects that JBS is undertaking to minimize their environmental impact and improve the communities in which they operate. The most intriguing of these combined environmental protection, food traceability and state of the art supply chain management.
JBS's Amazon Biome Monitoring program is designed to minimize deforestation in the Amazon rainforest due to illegal clear cutting and beef production on protected and indigenous lands. 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 date goes into a traceability system which can be checked against cattle producer registration data and satellite maps to find suppliers that are operating illegally. Cattle that cannot be verified as legally produced are shipped back to the supplier and they are excluded from future purchases. O'Callaghan spoke with me about this program and also described some of the factors that have contributed to JBS' growth.