In light of the recent publishing of the USDA grassfed claim I wanted to review the management protocol we use at American GrassFed Beef to clearly indicate how we produce our beef.
This standard is intended to embrace the following fundamental
• Grass-based animal production where animals are born and raised on open grass pastures.
• Holistic approach to farm/ranch management
• Responsible animal care that supports humane animal welfare, handling, transport and harvest of grassfed ruminant animals.
A grassfed ruminant is an animal that is born,raised and finished on open, grass pastures where perennial and annual grasses, forbs, legumes, brassicas, browse and post-harvest crop residue without grain, shall be the sole energy source, with the exception of mother’s milk, from birth to harvest. Hay, baleage, haylage, silage, ensiiage from any of the above sources may be fed to animals while on pasture during periods of inclement weather or low forage quality. For purposes of this claim, forage, with the exception of grass, is any plant material harvested prior to the expression of seeds for reproduction. Any incidental grain (derived from seeds naturally attached to herbage,
forage, browse, et cetera) consumed in insignificant amounts and not intentionally fed in an attempt to circumvent this standard shall not disqualify animals from this program.
It is the intent of this standard to prevent the finishing of ruminants for slaughter in confinement such as a feedlot situation, as defined by EPA’s definition of a CAFO, where non grain forage products are substituted for grain concentrates. Grassfed ruminants must graze pasture during the entire growing season and preferably beyond (aside from the exceptions granted in this definition) where they will receive most if not all of their nutrition and be allowed to fulfill their natural behaviors and basic instincts of grazing at all times. AGFB believes exceptions to this provision should be limited to emergencies that may threaten the safety and well-being of the animals or soil. Other exceptions to this provision include management practices such as roundups, sorting, shipping and weaning. This provision should not be interpreted as to exclude a MIG or
other high intensity rotational grazing system.
ANIMAL HEALTH AND WELFARE:
• Mineral and vitamin supplements are provided free choice to adjust the animals nutrient intake and correct deficiencies in its total diet energy source.
• Protein/energy supplements will be provided if required to meet the animals nutritional needs during periods of inclement weather or low forage quality. These supplements will be provided along with pasture or stored forages. Supplements if fed will not consist of starchy grains which have a detrimental affect on CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) or omega-3 fatty acid levels in the grassfed ruminants meat or milk.
• The feeding of mammalian or avian animal by-products is prohibited.
• Fresh water will be supplied free choice at all times.
• No fed or injected antibiotics, ionophores, or hormones of any type will be administered to AGFB grassfed ruminant animals.
• Any animal in need of medical attention will be treated to relieve its symptoms. If prohibited medication or antibiotics are required for treatment the animal will be tagged, identified and removed from the AGFB grassfed program.
• A written record of all vaccines/medications and/or other substances used in the animal health care program will be maintained.
• AGFB is committed to adhere to a holistic and sustainable approach to farm/ranch management designed to enhance the land, water and air environmental quality and use the highest standards of animal husbandry in the grazing program to support humane treatment and welfare of the animals.
ORIGIN AND IDENTIFICATION:
• Animals eligible for acceptance in the AGFB grassfed program must be born and raised in the United States of America.
• These animals will be selected for the grassfed program at 6-8 months age.
• Animals will be tagged at this time with a unique number and color ear tag.
• These same tags will be used to identify the animal when delivered to the processor.
• Animal records must be maintained for 24 months after animals are harvested. Genetically engineered and or cloned animals are prohibited.