Organic cattle farming involves more than simply making sure the cattle do not receive additional growth hormones or get exposed to toxins. Farmers must also take care to ensure the roaming area for the cattle does not expose to cows to chemicals and other elements that are not allowed within foods that are certified organic.
Organic Cattle Farming Regulations
Opening an organic cattle farm involves far more than one day simply deciding to raise cows according to organic standards. There is preparation time involved because the soil the cows live on must be devoid of certain chemicals and toxins that aren't allowable for organic farming and this lack of chemicals must be in place for a few years before you can call the land or the cows organic. Obviously, this is a long-term venture.
Cows for Milk
Cows that are raised organically with the intention of producing milk from them must not be treated with growth hormones or added antibiotics. Cows can be treated with antibiotics in some cases, such as when a cow is ill and requires antibiotics in order to recover from the illness. Routine use of antibiotics in order to stave off illness, however, is not generally acceptable with organic cattle farming.
The food that the cattle eat must be acceptable for organic certification. The food ingested by the cows is important, since this food may pass through to the cow's milk. The cattle's food should be organic, otherwise the milk won't be.
Cows must also have ample roaming area outdoors on organic farms. Organic cattle farming does not involve keeping cows locked up inside while pumping them full of hormones to keep their milk coming quickly and steadily.
Cows for Beef
The organic regulations for farming cows for slaughter are the same as for raising cows for milk production. Additional regulations exist for the individual cows. For instance, there are regulations surrounding the diet that is fed to the mother cows when the offspring are intended for organic beef production.
Even though the cows are raised to eventually be slaughtered for beef, organic farming strives to give the cows a comfortable and humane existence.
Grades of Organic Beef
Organic cow farms do not always produce 100 perce nt USDA Certified Organic beef. There are different categories of organic beef including:
- 100 percent certified organic beef
- Certified organic beef
- Partially organic beef
Consumers who want to purchase beef that is absolutely organic without any trace of anything else whatsoever should look for the 100 percent certified organic label. It is important to note that the USDA sticker may appear on both the 100 percent certified organic and the certified organic beef, even though these are two different categories.
Organic Farm Records
Although organic farming may be more tedious than conventional farming, many people praise it for the environmentally friendly methods used to raise livestock and cultivate agriculture.
One of the most tedious aspects of raising cattle on an organic farm is the vast amount of record keeping that is necessary. Farmers must be able to prove the organic nature of the cattle. In other words, a farmer raising cows for organic milk or beef will have to be able to furnish the history of each particular cow from birth to whatever organization is inspecting the farm for organic certification.
If a farmer cannot demonstrate through precise record keeping that the cattle on the farm have been treated and fed in accordance with organic directives, then the resulting milk and beef will not be allowed to carry the organic label.
Buy Organic Milk and Beef
With organic milk and beef becoming more and more popular within the mainstream consumer mindset, it is not uncommon to find these and other organic products readily available at traditional grocery stores. If you are looking for organic beef or milk and cannot find it at the store you regularly shop at, consider visiting a health food store.
You might also want to speak to the manager at the store you frequent and request that organic milk and beef become regularly stocked items.