Spotlight on Niman Ranch
We’re shedding some light on Niman Ranch this week to celebrate their efforts to provide all-natural meats raised by family farmers committed to sustainable & humane practices. All of their meats will be 20% off this week for member-owners, and it’s a special 10-day sale this time around, so it’s a great opportunity to stock up the freezer! Read on to learn more about Niman Ranch, their dedication to sustainable meat, and the small family farmers who make it possible.
Niman Ranch began in the early 1970’s on an eleven-acre ranch in a small coastal town just north of San Francisco. The cattle were raised using traditional, humane husbandry methods and given wholesome all-natural feeds. Before long, Niman Ranch beef became a favorite in local grocery stores and at San Francisco Bay Area restaurants. Today, the Niman Ranch network has grown to include over 700 independent American farmers & ranchers, who all share Niman Ranch’s dedication to the strictest protocols. Their meats are humanely raised, never given antibiotics or added hormones, and fed only the finest all vegetarian feeds.
Niman Ranch believes that sustainable agriculture is best described as livestock raising and production practices which balance current resource demands without compromising the future of these resources from an environmental, economic, and human perspective. They also believe that sustainability does not end with the farmer and must carry throughout the supply chain. For this reason, they choose to raise livestock in areas where feed sources are locally available to reduce the environmental impact of feed transport. Sustainability at Niman Ranch incorporates sustainable agricultural practices with economic sustainability for the farmers, the ranchers, their customers, and their employees; all of which are an integral part of their overall business philosophy of RAISED WITH CARE.
The Niman Ranch Top 10 Sustainability Best Practices
- Pay farmers a premium in accordance to strict raising protocols
- Establish a floor price for farmers tied to the cost of inputs of feed and fuel
- Promote agricultural biodiversity by using breeds which thrive in their natural environment
- Practice genetic diversity to keep breeds healthy over generations
- Maintain livestock density well below conventional industry standards so as not to overburden the land
- Raise livestock in geographies where feed is locally available to reduce carbon footprint incurred during transport
- Mitigate soil erosion and/or loss through maintaining pasture with coverage for livestock, crop rotation, rotational grazing, and responsible waste/manure management
- Prohibit use of concentrated liquid manure systems
- Use buffer strips and grassed waterways
- Provide a robust marketplace for farmers and ranchers and their livestock
Humane Animal Care
All Niman Ranch livestock are humanely raised according to the strictest animal handling protocols. These protocols were written based on the recommendations of animal handling expert Dr. Temple Grandin. Here is a summary:
- Livestock are raised outdoors or in deeply bedded pens
- Livestock always have access to fresh, clean water
- Livestock are able to express their natural behaviors in healthy social groups
- All farms are gestation crate-free
Click HERE to read in-depth animal-raising protocols
Niman Ranch follows a 3-step process to ensure full compliance with their protocols.
- All of their farmers and ranchers regularly complete affidavits agreeing to follow all protocols
- Niman Ranch personally inspects each farm before it is accepted into their program to ensure it meets standards
- The Niman Ranch field agents, located throughout the country, regularly visit and inspect the farms and ranches in their network. Niman Ranch has more field agents than sales reps!
Click HERE to read more about their practices and view maps of their farm locations
Click HERE for farmer bios
Click HERE for great recipes
Niman Ranch Meet our Farmers from Niman Ranch on Vimeo.