- What is grassfed?
- What kinds of products are grassfed?
- What are the advantages of grassfed products?
- What are the disadvantages of grassfed products?
- Where can I buy grassfed products?
- How can I be certain the product is truly grassfed?
- What is the American Grassfed Association?
- What are the activities of the American Grassfed Association?
- Who may join the American Grassfed Association, and what’s the difference between membership and certification?
- How do I cook Grassfed?
The American Grassfed Association defines grassfed products from ruminants, including cattle, bison, goats and sheep, as those food products from animals that have eaten nothing but their mother’s milk and fresh grass or grass-type hay from birth to harvest – all their lives. They are also raised with no confinement and no antibiotics or hormones, and must be born and raised in the U.S. For grassfed non-ruminants, including pigs and poultry, grass is a significant part of their diets, but not the entirety of their diets, since these animals need to consume grains. The USDA defines grassfed as ruminant animals fed solely on grass and forage from weaning to harvest with no confinement during the growing season. AGA has developed a certification program and our own set of stringent grassfed standards.
A: Virtually any air-breathing food animal can be raised partially or entirely on grass. The most common products are beef, bison, lamb, goat, and dairy (milk, butter and cheese). Pork and poultry are omnivorous animals, and while they may be raised on pasture and consume a diet high in grass, they can also require nutrients from grain.
A: Grassfed meat is:
* Healthy for people. 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 gases.
* Healthy for communities. Small family farms provide jobs and strong economies in rural communities and create sustainable businesses for succeeding generations.
A: A disadvantage for grassfed meat producers is that animals raised entirely on grass mature more slowly, lengthening the production time of grassfed products. A disadvantage for the consumer is that true grassfed products are not available in all the retail outlets, making it necessary for the consumer to find and purchase directly from a producer. Among the goals of the American Grassfed Association is to help consumers find grassfed products, which we do with listing our producer members on our website by state, species and other means.
A: Many consumers find it best to buy grassfed meats directly from the producer. Specialty grocery stores also carry them, and even mainstream supermarkets are beginning to carry these products. To find a producer near you, visit our Producers Page.
A: The best way to ensure that the product is truly grassfed is to look for the AGA logo on the label. Only producers who meet our strict standards can achieve certification. Current USDA labeling for grassfed can be very misleading. AGA standards and seals assure you that the product you are buying commits to the following: that the animals can only be fed grass and forage, can never be confined, never receive antibiotics or hormones, and must be born and raised in the U.S. If you don’t see the AGA logo, talk to the farmer and ask what the animals were fed and where they lived their lives.
A: Established in 2003, AGA is a membership organization made up of producers of all types of grassfed livestock; professionals in education, health, food service and other related industries; and consumers. The goal of the association is to promote the grassfed industry through government relations, research, concept marketing and public education.
A: The primary activity of AGA is the certification program. In addition, AGA produces conferences where producers and end-users can gather for education and networking, publishes email and print newsletters, and performs legislative, consumer, and media outreach and education.
9. Who may join the American Grassfed Association, and what’s the difference between membership and certification?
A: Grassfed producers, chefs and restaurateurs, processors and distributors, and anyone interested in grassfed products are invited to become non-certified members of AGA. Visit our membership page for more information.
Producer Members may apply for certification upon completion of the membership process. AGA-Certified Producers must understand and meet our standards and agree to a yearly audit. In addition, they pay a licensing fee for the use of the AGA logo in their marketing materials. Membership in AGA does not grant certification. No member may claim to be AGA certified or use the AGA logo until after a full and complete certification audit and approval from AGA.