Don’t be misled by “Natural” labeling—learn about the big differences between organic and “natural” meat.
As pioneers of organic meat, we take pride in going above and beyond the USDA Organic standards. Learn what separates American Farmers Network from the rest.
Today more than ever, the source of your food matters. Gone are the days when you could trust your neighborhood butcher or grocer to provide your family with wholesome, fresh food free from unnatural – and dangerous – hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, and herbicides. Sadly, big agriculture and mega-food corporations have largely taken over smaller, family-run operations. We've lost the caring connection of those businesses to an unprecedented, almost furious quest putting profit before food quality and even safety. Their perceived need for cheap, mass produced, convenient food products has unfortunately led to a nutritional deficiency epidemic. As a result, we live in a land of plenty, but the bounty no longer provides proper nutrition.
Lucky for us, some of those smaller, caring family-run businesses still exist. And along with them, sources of food as pure as days past and healthier than ever. Untainted by growth hormones and antibiotics, animals are free to roam in pastures free from pesticides and synthetic fertilizers. Perhaps most importantly, these animals are free to eat the food nature intended.
At American Farmers Network, we partner up with close to 2,000 small family farmers across the nation to bring you and your family the healthiest, most nutritious, and best tasting grass fed organic beef.
Better For You
Most beef cows in America are raised for a short time on grass and then "finished" in confined feeding areas with a diet of grain that is unnatural to them, which boosts E. coli counts in their guts and encourages the spread of disease. Grass-fed beef cows eat grass their entire lives, as cows evolved to do. Because their lifecycle isn't accelerated with hormones, animals mature in the spring when forage is bursting with new growth, seeds and nutrients. Those nutrients end up in the meat and result in a healthy and delicious product.
Our 100% grass fed organic beef is more than delicious. It’s a healthy alternative to conventional grain fed beef. No pesticides, antibiotics or growth hormones. Lower in both fat and calories than conventional beef, grass fed beef is a great option for beef lovers looking for a heart-healthy, lower calorie options. Higher in omega-3 fatty acids – essential for enhancing heart health and reducing the risk of arthritis, obesity, insulin resistance, allergies, and autoimmune disease. Grass fed beef is higher in beta-carotene, which is helpful in reducing the risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease.
Compared to grain-fed cattle, grass-fed beef is:
- Two to four times richer in heart healthy omega 3 fatty acids.
- Higher in "good" unsaturated fats and lower in "bad" saturated fats.
- Three to five times higher in CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid) content.
- Loaded with over 400% more of vitamin A (as beta carotene) and vitamin E.
- Virtually devoid of risk of Mad Cow Disease.
Grass-fed beef is naturally lower in calories. A 6-ounce steak from a grass-fed steer can have 100 fewer calories than the same steak from a grain-fed steer. Simply by switching to lean grass-fed beef, in one year you could save a large number of calories and lose weight without changing anything else in your diet.
In addition to the calories, CLA is a naturally occurring fat found in animal and dairy fats such as beef and poultry that are not fed grains. As soon as you start to feed cattle grain, they start to lose their ability to produce CLA. Animals that graze on pasture have from 300-400% more CLA than animals fattened on grain in a feedlot. University of Wisconsin research shows that CLA intake assists individuals who lose weight in preventing putting pounds back on.
The fat content of beef is the primary reason it has lost ground as a respectable entrée on America's dinner table. Not only do most beef cuts have a high fat content, ranging from 35-75%, but the majority of it is saturated. Cattle were not designed to eat grains. And because of that, their diet of grains in factory farms largely contributes to the negative aspects of eating beef.
"Grain-fed beef can have an omega 6:3 ratio higher than 20:1"-- J. Anim. Sci. 2000. 78:2849-2855
This well exceeds the 4:1 ratio where health problems begin to show up because of the essential fat imbalance. Grain-fed beef can also have over 50% of the total fat as the far less healthy saturated fat.
Grass-fed beef has an omega 6:3 ratio of 0.16 to 1.
This is the ratio science suggests is ideal for our diet. This is about the same ratio that fish has. Grass-fed beef usually has less than 10% of its fat as saturated. If you are a pregnant or breastfeeding mom, the extra omega 3 from the grass-fed beef will provide incredible nutritional benefits for your child.
Minimal Concern of Food Infections
Mad Cow has killed hundreds of people all over the world, and most experts believe that it is related to the way the animals are raised, what foods the animals are fed and pesticides that they are exposed to. While Mad Cow Disease has not been officially reported in the US, a similar disease, scrapie, has. Mad Cow Disease is notoriously difficult to test for. Adding to the concern it may take over 30 years for Mad Cow Disease to incubate! You can virtually eliminate any potential risk for this problem by restricting your beef intake to grass-fed beef.
Foot and Mouth Disease is a dreaded disease and many conventional feedlots have destroyed many of their cattle as a result of this problem. Foot and Mouth Disease is far less likely to occur in grass-fed cattle, which is why many consumers are choosing grass-fed for their beef selection. In addition to the Mad Cow and Foot and Mouth Disease risk, dangerous E. coli infections have killed people in the past.
Better For The Animals
Scientists haven't quantified the benefits of clean water, fresh air and freedom to roam in terms of human health, but it adds up to a happier, healthier herd. There is an old cowboy saying that we abide by at American Farmers Network: "go slow, get there faster." This means that if you don’t push cattle too hard, but rather allow them to find their natural way at their natural pace you’ll be more successful. Forcing them to go your way and at your pace will sometimes cause fatigue for the cattle and always make more work for the farmer, his horses and his dogs.
American Farmers Network farmers are committed to a natural and compassionate approach to sustainable organic ranching. Grass is the natural food for cattle, not grain. Grains are difficult to digest and can necessitate the use of antibiotics. American Farmers Network cattle are born, raised, and finished on our farmers ranches, where they graze rotationally in open pastures on the tips of tall grass. Humane treatment results in low stress levels and better health, eliminating any need for antibiotics or other drugs.
Better For The Land
It takes a lot of land to raise beef naturally. The vast grasslands of our farmers’ ranches host an unusually complex mosaic of vegetation. By rotating the animals through various pastures through the seasons, our farmers preserve native biodiversity, improve soil fertility and eliminate the waste-management issues associated with confined animal feedlots (a major source of water pollution at conventional farms).
Industrial grain-based feedlot operations foul the environment, expose cattle to inhumane conditions, require intensive consumption of fossil fuels and produce much higher levels of environment pollutants. Feeding cows a diet of grazed grass requires much less fossil fuel and impacts the environment in a more positive manner. Sustainable organic ranching and management intensive grazing, practiced on our farmers’ ranches, helps keep cattle air, land, and water healthy and can lower our carbon footprint.
Grass Fed Beef Tastes Better
This is the way beef is supposed to taste. In the wine industry, the word terroir refers to the flavor imparted to the wine by the entirety of the property upon which the grapes are grown. Same goes for beef, which takes on distinct flavors based on the terrain, weather, soil and water. Our farmers’ cattle literally eat the terroir – therefore, they are the ultimate expression of the terroir of our ranches.
Grass fed beef gets its flavor from nature – from the nutrients in the soil, and from the clean air and water. Our farmers’ ranches across the country offer wide open fields of abundant blue bunch wheatgrass and alfalfa. What the cattle eat has a direct impact and potent effect on how the meat will taste, and little is better for a succulent, rich flavor than what the natural landscape has to offer. Our farmers’ cattle are cared for without drugs or growth stimulants, and are monitored from birth to prevent any sickness spreading through the herds.