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In The Heartland

Are American Pasturage Meats Organic or Better?
By
Rick Hopkins

The USDA defines organic food as being produced by farmers who emphasize the use of renewable resources and the conservation of soil and water to enhance environmental quality for future generations. Organic meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products come from animals that are given no antibiotics or growth hormones. Organic food is produced without using most conventional pesticides; petroleum- based fertilizers or sewage sludge-based fertilizers; bio-engineering; or ionizing radiation. Before a product can be labeled organic, a Government-approved certifier inspects the farm where the food is grown to make sure the farmer is following all the rules necessary to meet USDA organic standards. Companies that handle or process organic food before it gets to your local supermarket or restaurant must be certified, too.

The National Organic Plan (NOP) makes these requirements for organic meat production. We have listed the organic rules and identified the ones which are the same as our own protocol and explained why we do not conform to some of the new USDA rules.

 
Yes
The operator must select species and types of livestock with regard to suitability for site-specific conditions and resistance to prevalent diseases and parasites.
(1)
The operator must provide a feed ration sufficient to meet nutritional requirements, including vitamins, minerals, protein and/or amino acids, fatty acids, energy sources, and fiber (ruminants).
Yes
The operator must establish appropriate pasture conditions and sanitation practices to minimize the occurrence and spread of diseases and parasites.
Yes
The operator must provide conditions which allow for exercise, freedom of movement, and reduction of stress appropriate to the species.
Yes
The operator must perform physical alterations as needed to promote the animal's welfare and in a manner that minimizes pain and stress
(2)
When preventive practices and veterinary biologics are inadequate to prevent sickness, a producer may administer synthetic medications, provided, that, such medications are allowed under the NOP's.
(3)
Parasiticides allowed under § 205.603 may be used on breeder stock, when used prior to the last third of gestation but not during lactation for progeny that are to be sold, labeled, or represented as organically produced.
(2)
The operator must NOT administer any animal drug, other than vaccinations, in the absence of illness.
Yes
The operator must NOT administer hormones for growth promotion.
(3)
The operator must NOT administer synthetic parasiticides on a routine basis.
(3)
The operator must NOT administer synthetic parasiticides to slaughter stock.
(2)
The operator must NOT administer animal drugs in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.
Yes
The operator must NOT withhold medical treatment from a sick animal in an effort to preserve its organic status. All appropriate medications must be used to restore an animal to health when methods acceptable to organic production fail. Livestock treated with a prohibited substance must be clearly identified and shall not be sold, labeled, or represented as organically produced.
Yes
The producer of an organic livestock operation must establish and maintain livestock living conditions which accommodate the health and natural behavior of animals.
(1)
The operator must provide access to the outdoors, shade, shelter, exercise areas, fresh air, and direct sunlight suitable to the species, its stage of production, the climate, and the environment.
Yes
The operator must provide access to pasture for ruminants.
(1)
The operator must provide shelter designed to allow for natural maintenance, comfort behaviors, and opportunity to exercise.
(1)
The producer of an organic livestock operation may provide temporary confinement for an animal because of inclement weather or the animal's stage of production.
(1)
The producer of an organic livestock operation may provide temporary confinement for an animal because of conditions under which the health, safety, or well being of the animal could be jeopardized, or risk to soil or water quality.
Yes
The producer of an organic livestock operation must manage manure in a manner that does not contribute to contamination of crops, soil, or water by plant nutrients, heavy metals, or pathogenic organisms and optimizes recycling of nutrients.
Notes:
 
(1)
American Pasturage assures that all the livestock's nutritional requirements are met by providing high quality pasture and grass hay when needed. Pasture Purefect Beef and Elysian Veal are not raised or fed in confinment. Natural shelter in the form of living wind breaks and shade are provided as determined by the local weather conditions. Calves are weaned on grass pastures preventing the need to confine them or feed them processed feeds.
(2)
If an animal requires any form of veterinary care or medications, that animal will be identified and removed from the herd. We eat our meat and do not want to chance any form of pharmaceutical contamination.
(3)
We do not administer any paraticides as we believe that proper management precludes the need for this expensive and soil destroying practice.

 

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