AGA Grassfed Standards for meat, dairy , and pasture pork have been developed by a team of animal scientists, veterinarians, ranchers, and range management specialists. They concentrate on four main areas of production:
Diet — Animals are fed only grass and forage from weaning until harvest.
Confinement — Animals are raised on pasture without confinement to feedlots.
Antibiotics and Hormones — Animals are never treated with antibiotics or growth hormones.
Origin — All animals are born and raised on American family farms.
AGA-Certified producers are audited annually by independent, third parties to ensure continuing compliance with the standards.
AGA Statement of Best Practices
Employ a sustainable approach to farm/ranch management designed to enhance land, water, and air quality.
Use the highest standards of animal husbandry in their grazing programs to support humane treatment and welfare of their animals.
Adhere to standards as developed and revised periodically by AGA. AGA’s standards are based on several fundamentals:
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.
AGA defines grassfed animals as those that have eaten nothing but grass and forage from weaning to harvest, have not been raised in confinement, and have never been fed antibiotics or growth hormones. In addition, all AGA-Certified Producers are American family farms and their livestock is born and raised in the U.S.
Grassfed meat is:
- Healthy for people. Research shows that grassfed meat is lean, contains a high percentage of good fats — Omega 3s and CLA — and beneficial antioxidant vitamins and minerals.
- Healthy for animals. Cattle, goats, sheep, and bison evolved to eat grass and not much else. Feeding them a diet rich in grains creates an acidic environment in their digestive systems, leading to disease and the need for treatment with antibiotics.
- Healthy for the planet. Pasture-based farming restores natural ecosystems and wildlife habitat, reduces reliance on petrochemicals, improves the soil with organic matter, and reduces greenhouse gasses, especially CO2.
- Healthy for communities. Small family farms provide jobs and strong economies in rural communities and create sustainable businesses for succeeding generations.
We thank the AGA for their support.