How do you know it’s really grass-fed?

Posted on Categories Animal Welfare Approved, Grass-fed Beef

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TK Ranch

How do you know
it’s really grass-fed?

CowMany producers are entering the marketplace advertising their meat products as grass-fed, but what does this actually mean? Unfortunately the definition of grass-fed is not regulated in Canada yet, so producers are free to decide what grass-fed means to them and raise their animals accordingly. Some have their animals on a grass diet for a while, but grain finish them either in a feedlot or out on pasture. Others put their animals into a feedlot setting after weaning and finish them on forages like hay. Not all producers make their programs completely transparent and unless you know what questions to ask, you might be buying an orange when you really wanted an apple.

There are several question to ask, but these are four essential ones:

  1. Do the animals ever receive grain (barley, corn, oats, rye — essentially any starch producing grains) in their diets from birth to slaughter?
  2. Do the animals have free access to pasture from birth to slaughter?
  3. Do you ever put your animals into a feedlot and finish them on forages like hay?
  4. Do you raise the animals in your program from birth, or source them from several farms? If they are from several farms how do you know the calves did not receive grain before you bought them?

Since 1995, TK Ranch has been offering strictly grass-fed and finished beef. With an increase in consumer demand for grass-fed beef, many other producers have entered the marketplace interested in offering their own brands. On TK Ranch, we wholeheartedly support other producers direct marketing; in fact, we have mentored many small family farms over the years. We also realize the importance of setting clear standards for the production of grass-fed beef and lamb.

Animal Welfare ApprovedIn the United States, the definition of grass-fed is regulated and producers must be audited to ensure they meet the standards before using this label. Organizations like the American Grassfed Association (AGA) exist to give producers the guidelines and audits they need to meet the standards.

In 2011, TK Ranch approached the AGA to become certified through their organization. We went through the audit process only to be told that the FDA would not allow our certification because we were Canadian. The organization that does audits for the AGA is Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) — the most stringent animal welfare organization in North America. We approached the AWA in 2012 to create a Canadian grass-fed standard and have been working closely with them since. In 2013, TK Ranch became the first certified grass-fed ranch in Canada for both our beef and lamb. By setting this standard, we are helping to create a transparent and measurable process for producers to follow and a label that consumers can trust.

TK Ranch June/July Sale Items
Top Sirloin Steak — 10%
Chicken Drums — 10%
Ground Chicken — 10%

This sale is offered while quantites last.

TK Ranch Upcoming Delivery Dates
CALGARY — June 22nd (order deadline June 16th)
EDMONTON — July 20th (order deadline – July 14th)

Please note — we are closed for a week in July to prepare for the launch of our new on-line order system — so please stay tuned!

Don’t forget to follow TK Ranch on Facebook for new pictures and videos posted daily.

Kind regards,
Colleen Biggs
TK Ranch