Guest Blog By: Brad Buchanan, Owner/Founder, Flying B Bar Ranch, Strasburg, Colorado & President of American Grass Fed Association 

One of my favorite things about working directly with folks who are looking to buy directly from a rancher is talking with and getting to know customers.  My experience is that people who take the time to search for the right protein purchase are some of the most amazing and interesting people. They are savvy shoppers and researchers, and they live their lives and make their purchases with intentionality.  Whether their purpose is “buying local” or they want clean, nutrient dense protein because they know food is medicine or poison, and when you buy certified AGA grass fed protein, they know it’s medicine, or whether they’re focused on reversing climate change. They know soil health and regenerative farming will be a big part of the solution, or whether they care deeply for animal stewardship and animal welfare, or they’re looking for the best steak they’ve ever had, they are all life-long learners. They come to us with very clear intentions about supporting industry market change by “voting with their credit card.” 

We love meeting our customers and learning about their journey to finding and supporting our ranch! 

And if you’re reading this, you’re probably one of those amazing people I described above.  And so, to add to your basket and collection of facts to understand the beef industry, I wanted to share information about some deceptive practices around beef labeling.  I suppose it’s not surprising that Big Ag is hopping on the green bandwagon and why we’re seeing so much greenwashing on almost every product you see on store shelves and meat counters.  Ensure you’re reading the fine print to understand what you’re buying and putting into your body and on your family dinner table.  Phrases like “Pasture Raised” and “Natural Beef” claim that means they aren’t regulated or come with any requirements.  Every steer, heifer, cow, or bull is “on grass” in their lives, but what happens at the end of 1/3 of their lives is where the difference happens. 

I suggest two things to learn about and look for.  First, look for the right certification.  There are many out there, but the Gold Standard for grass fed/finished beef is the American Grassfed Association or AGA.  Look for the AGA label to make sure you’re getting grass finished beef with the highest standards for soil health and animal welfare and to insure you’re truly getting birth to slaughter grass fed beef.  Second, and this is the best way to make sure you’re buying with confidence, get to know your rancher.  There is no better way to know what you’re buying than to meet the family and people who raise the animals you feed to your family.  At the Flying B, we have resisted doing some kind of store front closer to the city, in our case, closer to Denver, because we want to have our customers come to the ranch and look us in the eye, to shake our hand and see the ranch operation.  We’ve built not just business relationships, but a community of families near and far who know what they’re buying, and serving their families, when they buy from us.  They see our pastures and cattle, they see the haystacks from the hay we farm, swath, rake and bale ourselves that we feed to our cattle because we want to know every single thing that goes into our cattle.  There are only two ingredients:  grass and sunshine.  Period. 

We know you are passionate about knowing where our beef came from, what it ate, how it lived, and how it is processed and shipped! We are too!  And we just wanted to share this information, not to overwhelm you, but to reassure you that we are committed to transparency and integrity in our practices to help you make the best choices for you and your families.


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