Organic beef outstanding in its field

Dec. 6, 2006
Organic certification has been granted for 55,000 acres of Northern California grasslands for Panorama meats to raise its organic, grass-fed beef cattle.

A group of California grass-fed ranchers who raise cattle for Panorama Meats, Inc. (formerly Western Grasslands, Inc.) received organic certification for a total of 55,000 acres of privately owned and leased grasslands in Northern California on which to raise Panorama Organic Grass-Fed Beef.

This accomplishment is the culmination of a long-term effort by the company’s ranchers to increase the number of certified organic acres available for their grass-fed cattle. Panorama ranchers’ organic pastures and processing plants are certified organic by California Certified Organic Farmers, the USDA-accredited certifying agency.

The company is made up of 43 family ranchers in California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington who raise Angus cattle on natural grasses, legumes and range forage. To achieve organic certification of grasslands, landowners must be able to prove that the land has not been treated with pesticides, herbicides or other chemicals for at least three years. The newly certified-organic grasslands are owned and leased by multi-generation ranching families that have been stewards of the same land for generations.

“Our long-term relationship with the land means we can prove that it’s never been treated with chemicals in any way. That made organic certification within our reach,” said Darrell Wood, a fifth-generation California rancher and Panorama's founder. Wood is currently Board Chairman of the California Rangeland Trust. He has been a member of that organization and has practiced its rangeland preservation methods on his family's ranch for more than 20 years.

Most of the newly certified organic lands are located in Northern California in and around Winters, Vina and Susanville. Panorama's Organic Grass-Fed Beef is being sold at Whole Foods Markets in Northern California, Oregon and Washington.Its Natural Grass-Fed Beef is sold at 188 Trader Joe's stores in the Western U.S., at the Berkeley Bowl, at both Farmer Joe’s stores in Berkeley,and at other retail stores in Northern California.It is also featured on the menus of such notable restaurants as San Francisco's ACME Chophouse and Jardiniere.

Panorama’s ranchers raise only Angus-breed cattle primarily on pasture, in humane, low-stress conditions. In addition to controlling its genetics, Panorama feeds its cattle a forage ration of legumes and grasses in the last 30 days, a practice that supplies roughage, enables the cattle to be raised year-around, and enhances the flavor and tenderness of the final product. Panorama cattle are never fed grain.

All Panorama cattle are raised in compliance with the Born and Raised in the USA verification program, which mandates that all cattle be born and raised in the United States and never implanted with hormones, fed animal byproducts or treated with antibiotics.

The ranchers who raise Panorama cattle employ pasture rotation and land-management practices that promote animal health and protect delicate rangeland ecosystems Their ranching methods and animal-handling practices are verified through regular third-party audits by Western Ranchers Beef Cooperative, an association that promotes sustainable ranching practices.

Numerous scientific studies, including a June 2005 study by Cynthia A. Daley, PhD (College of Agriculture, California State University, Chico, Calif.), have found grass-fed beef to be higher in vitamins A and E than grain-fed beef, low in fat, high in Omega 3 fatty acids and a good source of CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), which is believed to reduce the risk of cancer, obesity, diabetes and other immune-system disorders. It is also a natural source of L-arginine, which has been found to reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems.

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