Every industry has its own jargon - Ag is no different. We have customers call us with these questions frequently so I thought I would detail them out a bit!
The word sustainability in agriculture is gaining awareness. For our ranch, that means doing everything we can to cut waste and protect our land as much as possible. We want to be here a long time so
Planting trees for shade instead of shade structures
Walking cattle across roads to their next stop instead of hauling
Using manure for fertilizer
Buy our feed locally and therefore lower shipping coats and emissions on trucking
All make sense for the longevity of our operation. There is an environmental perspective, but it isn't all environmental. What we've found is that much of the environmental savings are also very economical.
GRASS FED VS GRAIN FED
This gets such a conversation going that I made a whole seperate blog post on it. Check it out here: GRASS vs GRAIN
This is largely marketing. We do not implant our grass fed cattle but it would make them more cost effective if we did. Whether your animal is given hormones or not, the final product shows less trace or difference than a peanuts. Do you look for hormone free peanuts? Don't believe me? Check this out:
I did a whole blog post on this as well. Check it out here:
ORGANIC vs ALL NATURAL
Finally, one that isn't marketing. Our grass fed does qualify as Organic. The USDA actually has a definition for this:
"As for organic meat, regulations require that animals are raised in living conditions accommodating their natural behaviors (like the ability to graze on pasture), fed 100% organic feed and forage, and not administered antibiotics or hormones."
What keeps our grain fed beef from being organic? The organic feed and the hormones. We do feed our grain fed cattle corn that is not certified organic. We do implant our cattle to help them make that incredible marbling you like. But we do qualify as All Natural:
The USDA defines natural beef as beef that contains no artificial ingredients and is minimally processed (processed in a way that does not significantly alter the product). Beef producers are required to include a statement explaining what “natural” means on the label.
This mainly refers to the use of feed-through antibiotics on a daily basis whether the animals need them or not. We do not feed any feed through anit-biotics. We also know that your beef has not seen an antibiotic in at least 6-9 months because we don't doctor in the feedlot without removing the animal from production. We know you don't want us to leave a calf sick and hurting but are worried about your families food. The withdrawal time on most antibiotics is 30 days but we pull from food production to make sure everyone is secure in knowing Barnard Beef is safe.
I hope this helped clear things up. We had a really hard time having kids - we had 7 pregnancies in 5 years and only 3 kiddos. I would never feed the kids I cried and prayed for something I didn't think was safe for them. And I would never feed your family something I didn't think was good enough for mine.
All my best ~B