frequently asked questions
Do your cattle ever eat any grain?
Is your beef certified grass-fed?
What does the USDA Grass-fed label mean?
However it does not restrict the use of antibiotics or growth hormones. It also does not restrict the use of cattle purchased from other farms or even other countries. It only requires that animals have access to pastures during the growing season, in Minnesota the growing season is only 6 months a year. That means the rest of the year cattle could be raised in feedlot conditions and still qualify for the program. Lastly, there is no third party verification and mandatory no on farm audits to verify that all the provisions of the certification are being adhered to.
What does the American Grassfed Association’s Grass-fed Label mean?
An AGA-Certified Grassfed animal 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 are the sole energy sources, with the exception of mother’s milk, from birth to harvest. Hay, haylage, silage, and ensilage from any of the above sources may be fed to animals while on pasture during periods of inclement weather or low forage quality.
AGA-Certified Grassfed ruminants must graze pasture 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. The only exceptions to this standard are emergencies that may threaten the safety and well-being of the animals or soil, and management practices such as roundups, sorting, shipping, and weaning.
ANIMAL HEALTH AND WELFARE
Mineral and vitamin supplements may be provided free choice to adjust the animals’ nutrient intake and to correct deficiencies in the total diet energy source. The feeding of animal by-products is prohibited, and no antibiotics, ionophores, or hormones of any type may be administered. Any animal in need of medical attention must be treated to relieve its symptoms. If prohibited medication or antibiotics are required for treatment, the animal must be tagged, identified, and removed from the certified grassfed program. Producers will develop and maintain a written record of all vaccines, medications, and/or other substances used in their animal health care program.
ORIGIN AND IDENTIFICATION
Animals eligible for acceptance in the AGA Certified Grassfed program must be born and raised in the United States of America. Animals must be identified at the earliest opportunity following birth by a producer-determined animal identification system. Each animal’s record must include breed, ear tag or unique identification number, date of birth, and owner. Producer records that trace an animal from birth to harvest must accompany animals when delivered to processor. Genetically engineered and or cloned animals are prohibited.
Pettit Pastures believes that the American Grassfed Association’s certification is superior to the USDA’s certification for the above stated reasons. Also the AGA requires all certified farms to undergo a yearly third party audit to ensure that all of there standards are being adhered to.