On June 11, 2003, a group of producers, food service industry personnel and consumer interest representatives established the American Grassfed Association. The goal of the association is to promote the grassfed industry through government relations, research, concept marketing and public education.
Our certification standards apply to all farms and ranches approved by AGA for the production of ruminant animals and products. Only farms and ranches certified to AGA standards may use AGA’s logo, trademark, service mark and/or design mark. Our standards are verified by an independent, third-party, on-farm audit by auditors from Animal Welfare Approved.
Grassfed producers began meeting in early 2003 with partial funding from the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union Cooperative Development Center in Denver, Colorado. Later, AGA was awarded a $25,000 U.S. Department of Agriculture Business Development Grant to promote the association with producers, professionals, and consumers.
In the early years, one of AGA’s top priorities was working with the USDA to establish a legal definition for grassfed and to implement a labeling program to help producers receive a premium for products meeting the definition, while providing a service to consumers wishing to buy grassfed products. The USDA introduced their definition in 2006, and AGA’s producers and board decided to develop a more stringent standard. The AGA certification program and standards were introduced in 2009.
In addition to the certification program for grassfed ruminant producers, AGA communicates the value of grassfed products to consumers, chefs, and the media and serves as a resource for information. Through conferences, email and print publications, and other initiatives, AGA offers education to producers and others interested in grassfed meats. The association is headquartered in Denver, Colorado. Grassfed producers, chefs and restaurateurs, distributors and processors, health care professionals, members of the media, and consumers are all welcome to join. Visit our Membership Page for information and a form.
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.