Our Definition of “Naturally Raised”

What is natural beef. The USDA’s definition is that the meat doesn’t include any artificial flavoring or coloring. They even recommend ask the supplier what their definition is.

When you purchase our meat, it’s our definition that matters. If you don’t purchase from us make sure you understand how your meat has been raised and where it comes from.

Our definition involves several areas

The Grass They Eat

We say that our business doesn’t involve raising cattle, we grow grass. What the cows eat determines their flavor profile. When you eat at a salad bar do you only eat one thing? Cows are the same, they want to eat more than one type of grass.

We add different types of grass to our pasture to help enhance the flavor of the meat as well as make our cows happy. Our pastures include a mixture of prenial rye grass, fescue, white clover, red clover and lespedeza.

Fertilizer

We do not use any synthetic fertilizers on our pasture. We use natural fertilizer such as urea, chicken litter and cow manure. There’s an ongoing debate about the effect that synthetic fertilizers have on the soil. We play is safe and only use natural fertilizers.

Grass uses nitrogen to grow. When grass uses the nitrogen in the soil you must add nitrogen back to the soil to keep it growing. Another way to add nitrogen to the soil, other than adding natural fertilizer, is to add plants that put nitrogen back into the soil. When your pastures contain 30-40% of these plants your pastures on in harmony. Clover and lespedeza put nitrogen back into the soil. It’s taken a few years but we are not at the 30-40% mark of nitrogen positive plants in our pasture.

Hormones

Every cow already has hormones naturally. It’s essential for their growth. We do not give any additional hormones to our cattle. Most of the feed lot beef that fills the grocery stores and butcher shops have been given extra hormones. The rancher/feedlot is paid based on the cows weight. Giving the cows extra hormones makes them larger and thus more profitable to the rancher/feedlot.

Obviously, giving the cow extra hormones is not natural. There’s a debate on how much of those hormones are passed through the meat and into our bodies. Even though it means we have to wait 1. 5 to 2 years to take our cows to the processor we just don’t believe in adding unnatural substances to our cows.

Flies

Flies are terrible during the summer in Missouri. Flies can pass on diseases and make our cows sick. It’s very important to deter/eliminate as many flies as possible. Most ranchers do that with chemicals. We have decided to work on a more natural solution.

We build barn swallow and martin houses and put them all over our pastures. A single barn swallow or martin bird can eat a 1000 or more flies in one day. The cows are happy and so are the barn swallows and martins.

Water

If grass is the most important part of a cows diet, water is a close second. Most ranchers have one or more ponds that they let their cows water from. I’m sure you’ve seen cows standing in ponds. When the cows are drinking water in the pond they tend to do other things as well.

When cows drink the same water they are urinating and defecating in they get sick. What goes into the cow enters the meat and makes the meat taste the way it does. When a cow drinks water that’s filled with urine and feces it can’t be good for the cow or the flavor of the meat.

We have all of our ponds fenced off from our cows and water is pumped from the pond to water tanks in the middle of each pasture. This makes sure our cows have the best quality water that we can provide. Clear and clean water.

Regenerative Ranching

This is a fairly new concept. We have been doing this since we started raising grass-fed/grass finished beef.

Cows are naturally grazers. They like to move around and eat. In a pasture they say a cow will eat 1/3 of the grass, stomp on 1/3 of the grass and defecate/urinate on the other third. If the cows are open to graze on a large pasture they will even stomp on more grass.

As the cow defecates it’s putting natural fertilizer on the grass. As they urinate, it adds moisture to the soil. Regenerative ranching (also called rotational grazing) concentrates the cows on a smaller area of a pasture (called paddocks) for a short period of time. The more often you move the cows the better it is for the soil and grass.

When grass is eaten down to the ground it stunts its growth, causing it to go dormant for a short period of time before growing again. If the grass is only eaten down by 1/3 the grass is not thrown into this dormant situation and continues to grow. How do you keep the cows from eating the grass to the ground?

If the grass is long enough the cow prefers to tear the top tender part of the grass and move on. The important part is to move the cows before they eat all the grass in the paddock below 1/3.

We move our cows every day to a new paddock. They know it’s coming and they line up when we start to take the step-in fence up allowing them into the next paddock. More than 30 days will pass before the next time the cows will be on that paddock. This gives the grass time to grow without disturbance.

It All Adds Up

Each individual thing that we do may not seem like much but when you add them all up it makes a big difference on the quality of the meat we provide. Families trust us to provide naturally raised beef from our pastures to their plates. We don’t take that lightly.

We love what we do. We have a responsibility while we’re here on this Earth. We are here to take care of the animals and take care of each other. Providing naturally raised grass-fed/grass finished beef to others is our way of being good caretakers.

Naturally raised grass-fed beef

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