Raising Healthy Livestock
Here at Family Friendly Farms in Grass Valley, California, we work hard to nurture the most humanely grown animals for the health benefit of our livestock and our customers. In order to explain our growing practices with a little detail, a glossary of terms is itemized below…
GMO - A genetically modified organism that can be an animal, plant, or microbe whose DNA has been altered using genetic engineering techniques.
GMO CORN - A genetically modified corn plant that produces a genetically modified ear of corn that becomes a genetically modified grain for animals and/or people.
GMO SOY - A genetically modified soy plant that produces a genetically modified soy bean that becomes a genetically modified bean/pellet for animals and/or people.
VACCINE - A biological preparation that provides active acquired immunity to a particular infectious or malignant disease.
ANTIBIOTIC - A medicine that fights a bacterial infection in animals and people. It works by killing the bacteria or by making it hard for the bacteria to grow.
ADDED GROWTH HORMONES - Hormones such as androgens and estrogens are fed exogenously (coming from outside the animal’s body). They are given to livestock by some producers to increase the rate of growth in the animal.
ALL-NATURAL FEED - Livestock Feed that is sustainably grown on our fields or garden that uses no chemical fertilizers, but only the natural fertilizer that comes from our own animals.
SUSTAINABLY GROWN - Livestock meat that is produced without imports from other farms or industries like chemical fertilizers or outside feed sources.
ORGANICALLY GROWN - Meat that is produced without the use of chemicals to a standard that meets the USDA criteria for organic foods.
With a proper understanding of the American farmer’s terms as defined above, we can now elaborate on our livestock program here at Family Friendly Farms. The first important point to make is that we provide the most natural habitat possible for each of our livestock varieties so that each animal lives, eats, and socializes with other animals in the original way that God intended. That means no confinement strategies like cattle feed lots or poultry warehouses, rather wide open pastures with natural streams, dense forage, and shade trees. Our primary objective is to humanely raise each animal in a low stress environment that maintains proper amounts of water, food, and protection. Rather than forcing these objectives on the animals in artificial confinements, we allow the nature of our fields to provide the restful beauty of a stress-free environment for each breed, including our cows, lambs, pigs, chickens, and turkeys.
The specific growing methods for each of these breeds varies a little, so next we will share the details of raising each breed utilizing the terms and definitions above. But first let’s clarify what we don’t allow for any of our animals…
We never use any of the following things in the animals’ meat that we produce:
No GMO’s for any of our animals - There is such a wide use of GMO products in animal feed and the actual animals themselves that we can’t put it all down here except to say that we strictly prohibit any/all GMO feed and/or supplements in everything we do here at Family Friendly Farms, which is why we don’t use any corn or soy whatsoever.
No Corn or Soy for any of our animals - Many years ago the chemical company, “Monsanto,” who was responsible for terrifying items such as the “Agent Orange” used in the Vietnam War, turned their attention towards the food industry. They invented the weed killer “Round Up” and used the profits to invent a genetically modified (GMO) corn seed that was resistant to their roundup. So all the huge corn farmers bought the Monsanto corn seed and sprayed lots of roundup poison on the corn plants to kill the weeds without affecting the corn’s growth. All that poison grows up in the plant and into the corn itself with no limitation for corn provided as animal feed. There is much more to this story, but the bottom line is that now over 95% of the corn fields of the USA have been cross-pollinated into GMO corn, and the ones that use roundup are feeding all the conventionally grown animals with poisoned corn. That includes cows, lambs, pigs, chicken, and turkey.
No Antibiotics for any of our animals - Antibiotics are available for people to utilize when needed to bolster our immune system in order to fight an infection by attacking the bacteria that caused it. But the over-digesting of antibiotics that can occur by regularly eating animals that have been given antibiotics can lower their effect that we need when medically receiving them.
No Added Growth Hormones for any of our animals - Growth hormones found in meat could have a substantial effect on prepubescent children. If a child isn't yet producing growth hormones themselves, consumption of these growth hormones through either meat or dairy products could enter the child into puberty much earlier than normal circumstances.
After the basic “No-No’s” stated above, every farmer needs to make some judgements about how to humanely raise each animal, while also providing a balanced nutrition throughout the annual seasons for the life of the animal. The farmer also needs to decide to what degree he wants to be “certified organic” vs. actually organic, because certified organic practices allow the use of corn and soy. We have made it our priority to eliminate the use of corn or soy in our animal feed, because we’re not concerned with being “certified organic” just to put that on our label, rather we’re interested in providing our customers with the lowest pricing possible, while actually exceeding the certified organic practices by eliminating corn and soy all together.
Also, here at Family Friendly Farms, our highest priority is the health of the animals, which directly translates into the health of their meat and therefore the health of ourselves and our customers. So we have needed to ask ourselves about vaccines and which ones humanely help the animals and which ones seem like government control. So we never allow any use of the mRNA vaccine on any of our animals. But to completely eliminate vaccines is not very humane because it denies the animal a harmless way to protect itself against common bacteria that it can easily find even in natural settings. Now we make sure to minimize/eliminate any trace of the vaccine by the time we harvest the animal through a very simple and natural practice… By administering the vaccine ONLY at the time of its birth and by growing the animals long term before we harvest them. Here’s a chart to show our growing times versus conventional farming methods…
*Many small family farms who grow chickens may avoid GMO feed, but they actually use a genetically modified poultry breed called a Cornish-Cross because they grow twice as fast. Food engineers changed this birds genetics to enlarge the breast meat (a lot), and to make it grow faster than heritage bread chickens. In fact, the white-feathered Cornish-Cross GMO chickens grow twice as fast as our red-feathered “Freedom Ranger” heritage birds (6-7 weeks instead of 12-14 weeks). Most farms try to grow every animal as fast as possible because that utilizes less feed and labor and makes them more profit. But with our natural pastures and natural forage, we are not so concerned about a shorter growing time, rather a healthier growing time that allows each animal to grow naturally in order to produce a finished product that contains the most nutrient dense meat possible for a richer flavor and a higher health standard.
BEEF AND LAMB - All of our Beef and Lamb are “Sustainable Grown” with “All-Natural Feed” on large nutrient-dense pastures with natural water sources including snow-melt from the Sierra Nevada mountain range. With these natural ingredients, we eliminate the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides to produce an all-natural product that exceeds organic standards because we don’t use any corn or soy to supplement their feed. Our cows and lambs are therefore truly Grass-Fed and Grass-Finished. By rejecting “Added Growth Hormones” and “Antibiotics,” our cows and lambs are allowed to grow slowly in order to produce a more nutrient-dense meat that is packed with flavor and human health benefits.
PIGS, CHICKENS, and TURKEYS - Our pigs, chickens, and turkeys also roam around large pastures with plenty of bugs and grubs to enjoy along with the perennial grass forage. Whereas cows and sheep are herbivores that only eat plants, pigs and chickens and turkeys are omnivores that eat both plants and meat. So our omnivores need an additional amount of animal protein that we don’t totally grow on site, so we supplement their diet with a purchased feed product. In order to avoid corn and soy, we asked a feed provider to design a supplemental mix of wheat and barley along with a little worm-meal for protein. So our pigs, chickens, and turkeys eat mostly natural forage with the natural bugs and grubs and roots they discover in our pastures, along with a feed supplement that we ration to them for the humane practice of a balanced diet.
There is no limit to the amount of information about farming practices to raise healthy meat, so you’re welcome to reply with any questions you may have, or simply search the internet for more details of what interests you. We will continue our research as well in order to provide you with the most natural and healthy meat we can for years to come. (530) 268-8000 | email@example.com.