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Natural vs. Organic Beef

Why does Deck Family Farm offer both Organic and Natural beef? 

 

You may have noticed that we sell some of our beef as organic certified and some as “natural.” Some people wonder why our organic certification does not apply to all our products. The answer has to do with the dairy.

 

Organic certification is a big deal! It takes years, costs up to $5,000 annually and is a time commitment of around 40 hrs hosting inspectors to certify our land, beef and poultry programs. The inspections are expensive, time consuming, and very, very thorough. 

At this time we do not have the ability to invest in dairy certification so the calves that come from the Creamy Cow dairy herd cannot be labeled OTCO (Oregon Tilth Certified Organic), even though they will be eating exactly the same forage as our organic beef after they are weaned from mama. 

The rule is that in order for an animal to be certified they must come from an organic mama and only consume 100% organic food, from birth, which means that the milk they are nursing from mama on our farm disqualifies them from ever being certified.

It might be helpful to mention that when Deck certified our beef herd it took 8 years.  First the ground must be transitioned, meaning no fertilizers, pesticides, or herbicides for 3 years. Then the new calves can begin their certification by eating only certified forage until they are two, the breeding age. Then those breeding animals have offspring and it takes 3 years for those to grow to slaughter weight. So from beginning to end it was an 8 year process to make the transition.  

The next time you hear someone claim that organic certification “does not matter” or that it is “just another label”, think again! A grower must be skilled, diligent, and focused to become certified. It requires significant commitment and serves as guarantee that your food is free of chemicals and carcinogens, and that the grower is committed to a cleaner, healthier environment.

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