Is this really born and raised in the U.S. A.? 

 

Recently, grass-fed beef and its amazing benefits (for the animals, the consumers, and the environment) have gotten considerable attention. However, just labeling a cut of meat “grass-fed” can often blur important facts such as ‘country of origin’ thereby, confusing consumers who may never know if the meat product they just purchased came from animals born, raised, and slaughtered in the U.S., or came from distant shores.

 

To compound the confusion, currently, USDA regulations allow producers to add “Product of the U.S.A.” to any meat product whether or not the meat came from domestic or international sources.

 

At AGA, our certification is third-party verified and guarantees that when consumers buy grass-fed beef with the AGA logo they are ensured it was born, raised, and slaughtered in the U.S.A., that the animals were treated humanely, and that they were grazed regeneratively. This confirms to shopkeepers and consumers that AGA certified producers are improving soils, water quality, biodiversity, and American farming communities.

 

The Cost of Beef

Production costs in American grass-fed beef are generally higher than those of foreign-produced meats (often squeezed to sell below cost to compete in the international packer-dominated market). Likewise, American grass-fed beef does not have subsidized externalized costs like those provided to the grain-finished beef industry. Therefore, American grass-fed beef is more expensive to produce than its foreign and domestic equivalent. That’s why we believe the price of American grass-fed beef reflects the real cost of providing meat to consumers and we stand by the rights of farmers and ranchers to make a living that not only supports their families, but encourages next-generation succession.

 

Defining the taste of ‘care.’

Both U.S. grass-fed beef and imported grass-fed beef will have a robust but unique flavor profile that is expressive of the ‘terroir’ of their ranches. That is; the flavor produced by the combination of cattle genetics, local soil, available forage, and the microclimates of the environments in which the ‘concert of life’ takes place. These subtle regional differences are akin to the renowned wine regions of the world. At AGA, we invite this variety and urge consumers as well as producers to rejoice in and explore this diversity.

 

American grass-fed beef, however, is produced at a smaller scale than imported grass-fed beef, which results in a broad spectrum of nuanced flavors, much different than the intended homogeneity achieved from large scale-engineering in imported grass-fed production.

 

Similar to the pride shown by well-known wine producers, grass-fed beef producers are proud to share the story of their region, the breed of their stock, and the care they put into the grazing practices that define their product.

 

After all, a discerning wine consumer isn’t going to purchase just any bottle of wine without consideration of region, variety, and producer skill level. So, why should a discerning steak lover buy just any grass-fed beef without being intimately aware if its backstory? Maybe it’s time for you to become a connoisseur of grass-fed beef.

 

Scalability and Seasonality: the numbers add up

Right now, high-quality grass-fed beef can be produced seasonally in every state in the U.S. and on a year-round basis in many fair-weather zones of the country. That’s why aggregated industry data suggests that anywhere between 60-100% (or more) of current American beef output could be switched entirely to grass-based production. Moreover, as the industry matures and becomes more efficient at improving grass-fed genetics and pasture management systems that number could even increase. That suggests American farmers and ranchers are well-positioned to fill 100% of the growing demand for high-quality grass-fed beef.

 

In the future, we may have tastings and pairings for grass-fed beef to help consumers make their appropriate selection and develop a taste for the variety, flavor, and quality that comes from an excellent grass-fed eating experience. Furthermore, as consumers become more familiar with the exceptional quality of the growing number of skilled and caring producers, we are confident American grass-fed beef will dominate beef sales in the U.S.A. in the near term.

 

Beef is and should be the ultimate expression of terroir, and the future of the American beef rests in healthy soils managed by the our skilled professional grass-fed beef farmers and ranchers.