What do 'natural' and 'sustainable' mean to us?

When it comes to food, terms and their definitions are changing quickly, but if you're reading this, you are probably a person who wants to know what 'natural' and 'sustainable' mean to us.

We say our beef is natural because it has never been administered any hormones or antibiotics. Our cattle are not 'pushed' to grow quickly. They simply live a natural life cycle on the ranch, grazing and living on pasture. They are humanely treated and handled, and their health is our first priority.

Sustainability can be a flexible term, too. It means 'the capacity to endure', a concern for the natural world and a committment to using resources in a responsible manner. To us, sustainability means that we don't overgraze our land, we never use chemical fertilizers, and we actively engage in conservation practices. Some recent projects include development of sage grouse habitats, additional spring-fed water sources, and wind breaks (large areas of trees designed to provide shelter for cattle, a catch for moisture, and wildlife habitat).

Is 34 Ranch beef grassfed?

Yes. 34Ranch cattle live their entire lives on our pasture. In the spring, summer, and fall, they are eating exclusively grass. In the winter, they eat homegrown alfalfa and wheat grass hay.


Is 34 Ranch beef organic?

34Ranch beef is not 'certified organic'.  34Ranch has implemented several organic practices for decades, and we may pursue a certification in the future. It's a three year process, so we'll keep you posted!

If you are concerned about the treatment of our animals, the health of our land and our commitment to sustainable practices, all of which are important factors in organic foods, please read about our philosophy.

What are the health benefits of eating this way?

A growing body of scientific research is showing that sustainable, pasture-raised, and organic foods provide significant health benefits for consumers. In addition to being raised without synthetic hormones, antibiotics, pesticides and chemical fertilizers, sustainable meat is more nutritious than meat produced by industrial agriculture.xvii

Sustainably-raised animals are not subjected to the high levels of stress found on factory farms. They are well-treated and live more in accordance with their natural behaviors. As a result, they have high levels of glycogen in their tissues, the sugars in muscles that give animals the energy to move. This makes their meat tender, more flavorful and less likely to carry bacteria.xviii

Sustainable farms raise their animals on pasture, where they eat the grasses and greens that their bodies are naturally adapted to eat, resulting in healthier animals and leaner cuts of meat.xix Animals raised on grass and forage also have higher levels of the fatty acids that are good for us to eat, such as omega-3’s and CLA fats that help fight disease and balance out our diets.xx

To read the complete article or to get more useful information about sustainable agriculture, visit

What's the difference between 'hanging' weight and the final weight?'

You may see some beef priced based on the 'hanging' or 'carcass' weight of the animal. But, a carcass loses weight when it hangs to dry age for two weeks, as well as from the elimination of excess bones, etc. when it is cut into the steaks and other cuts we all recognize.

So we price our beef based on the final, packaged weight of the beef that is delivered to you. We think it's simpler for everyone, and gives you a better idea of exactly what you're paying for your beef.

If you're wondering how the whole thing usually works out,  here's an example:  a live beef weighing 1,200 lbs. yields approximately a 730 lb. carcass and about 450 lbs. of beef.

If you'd like to read more about cuts of beef and how weights are determined, check out this link to an Iowa State study:


Do you just sell beef?

At the moment, we sell beef. However, if you are in the market for buffalo, lamb, chicken, even goat (!), we have friends who raise those animals locally. Just drop us an email or give us a call, and we will try to help you out.

What's 'dry aging'?

Dry aging simply means that our beef hangs in a climate-controlled environment for two weeks. This age-old method helps develop flavor and tenderness. Most supermarket beef is 'wet-aged', which means it's put directly into plastic - it 'ages' on its way to the store. Dry aging does take more time and result in a loss of carcass weight, as mentioned above, but we think the results are worth it.