Do Labels Really Matter?
December 13, 2021
Greenwashing is the process of conveying a false impression or providing misleading information about how a company's products are more environmentally sound. Greenwashing is considered an unsubstantiated claim to deceive consumers into believing that a company's products are environmentally friendly.
Many farms, both large and small are making misleading claims that their beef is grass-fed when in actuality it is not 100% grass-fed from birth to processing. There is a difference.
It can take from 30 - 36 months to raise a beef from start to finish on grass alone. Most of these farms do not want to wait this long. It cuts into their profits after all. So in an attempt to gain market share they label their beef “grass-fed.” All this means is that the animal has been on grass for a portion of their life. Yes, most calves do start out on grass alongside their mother on pasture. But, when they are weaned from mom the majority are sent to feedlots (CAFOs) where they will receive rations that are grain dominate. High grain diets like this are not natural for ruminant animals like cattle and sheep. These diets lead to unhealthy animals that then need routine antibiotics. It also makes them “finish” much faster, which means that the owner has less time and feed invested in them, therefore higher profits.
On our farm when we say that our beef is grass-fed we mean that it is 100% grass-fed and grass-finished.
We strongly believe what scripture says in the gospel of Mark 12:31. “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” To me this means that how I say I raise my animals is the way that I actually do. I do not want you to be confused by how I present my product. I believe that in order to be part of a trusting community, that I must first be trustworthy.
THE LIFESTYLE OF CATTLE ON OUR FARM
Our calves are born in late April to early June on pasture. They spend the summer and fall with mom eating all the forages they can consume. In the late fall we will wean the calves from their mothers. This helps the cow to stay in optimal condition throughout our harsh winters.
During a calf’s first and possibly second winter they receive top quality hay that we have harvested during the growing season when the nutrients are the highest. When they are a year old they will rejoin the cow herd on pasture for a summer of grazing. During this summer most of them will reach their mature body size. As we move from their second summer on pasture into fall, we will start to harvest the animals that have put on a good fat layer. This is largely a factor of genetics. Some animals just mature faster than others. If we have not harvested an animal in their second fall they will be wintered on hay and sent out to pasture for a couple months in their third summer before being harvested for grass-fed beef.
Be sure to grab you copy of our • 6 super simple cooking methods to achieve perfection every time from your pasture-raised meats • booklet. It will give you the confidence you need to cook grassfed, grass finished beef to perfection.