According to Natural Grocers, Thousand Hills' cattle are raised on ranches throughout the Midwest and Great Plains and are 100 percent grass-fed and lifetime grazed. The protocol for raising these cattle does not allow the feeding of grains, any grain byproducts, GMOs or the use of antibiotics, growth promoters or artificial hormones. Also, animals are not kept in feedlots or confinement, but rather they are grazed on the land.
"At Thousand Hills we focus on one mission: nourishing soil, plants, cattle and people by holistically grazing cattle for their lifetime," said Matt Maier chief grass farmer and owner of Thousand Hills. "There are many compromises and shortcuts that can be taken with grass-fed beef, but we don't believe in shortcuts and do strongly believe that keeping cattle grazing on the land benefits the cattle, soil, grasslands, environment and the final nutrient-dense product we enjoy."
Natural Grocers said it upholds a high standard for its grocery meat products which includes humane raising requirements, no hormones, no growth-promoting drugs, no use of antibiotics, no animal by-products and non-genetically modified feed is always preferred.
"People expect animals to be on the land grazing with room to express their natural behaviors, treated humanely and not given antibiotics or drugs to unnaturally accelerate their growth – but that isn't the norm," said Heather Isely, Natural Grocers' executive vice president. "We offer meat that matches the quality standards our customers are looking for.”
Natural Grocers also said that the USDA meat label of 100 percent grass-fed can be applied to cattle confined in feedlots and fed distillers' grains, GMO alfalfa and antibiotics.
"Unfortunately, The USDA's standards do not match up with what consumers want and expect when they see 100 percent grass fed on the label,” Isely said. "We want our customers to be confident that the grass-fed beef they are serving their families is truly grass fed and matches their expectations."