The Selkirk Ranch™

Why “Certified 100% Organic”?

There are many products available to the beef consumer, some labeled “organic,” some “natural,” others by breed types such as Black Angus, Red Angus, Hereford, Piedmontese, and so forth.  We highly recommend that you read the National Organic Program website that describes how products may be labeled;  National Organic Program.  What you very quickly determine is that “natural” and all of the other wording mean very little.  You have to know the ranch, the feedlot, the processor and all of their methods to understand what you are buying. The label “certified organic” however is your best assurance that you are getting the quality you are expecting. We undergo an annual inspection of our ranch, our animals, our records, and the local USDA certified processing facility we use. Everyone in our process chain must be certified organic.  

On our certified organic 210 acre ranch in the beautiful mountains of North Idaho, we produce beef cattle in the pre-1940’s traditional manner.  Prior to that time, people used the available organic fertilizers and realized that they had to be in harmony with their soil.  We use no man-made chemical fertilizers, pesticides, herbicides, antibiotics or growth hormones.  You may ask ‘why anyone would use these things?’  The fact is that the use of petrochemicals in agriculture today is the rule rather than the exception.  In order to survive in the massive commercial feedlots, animals are often given steroids and antibiotics. Herbicides are used routinely to kill weeds that encroach roads, fields, and out buildings. Pesticides are used to kill field vermin such as voles and moles, as well as to treat fencing materials. To make the soil produce at its maximum rate, regardless of the effect on it’s long-term health, farmers over-till and mix in man-made chemical fertilizers. We will not even discuss the large packer-owned commercial feedlots, where apparently anything goes. Our beef never experience a feedlot.

At most meat commercial processing plants, pesticides are again applied to kill flies prior to processing, and work surfaces are treated with chemicals. Meat is frequently contaminated by other meat being processed on the same equipment. With our certified organic beef, our product is never contaminated. Our processing plant processes our animals only first thing in the morning when all equipment is fully clean, and of course, uses no fly spray. Our meat is processed prior to all other meats to assure there is no contact with any other meat. NO other processing technique can make this claim. Demand "certified organic."


Why Grass Fed?

We are 100% grass fed and finished because we believe that God designed cattle to eat grass and produce excellent and healthy beef.  While some organic ranches feed grain prior to processing their animals (often called grain finishing), we do not. What we believe is that grass fed, grass finished, produces healthier beef for human consumption. The use of grain produces a much fattier meat that is higher in saturated fats and possibly lower in essential Omega 3 and 6 fatty acids.  The value of grain finishing is supposed to be for tenderness, but unfortunately, most of us have experienced a fat and tough steak. What we endeavor to do is to breed our animals for the genetic traits of tenderness. Specifically, we use Red Angus animals as we have found that they do well in our environment and have excellent temperment. Please see our Related Links section to read more about the healthiness of grass fed beef.  
We do not eschew the benefits of learning and applied science. We believe that in the interests of mass production and maximized profit, the commercial beef market has introduced methodologies that have had a detrimental effect on both our health and that of our environment. Mass production and competitiveness are important, but so far they are unable to do so as we can with the smaller scale organic approach. Examples of this are the use of the herbicides, pesticides, and man-made fertilizers that pollute both the environment and our food chain. On our ranch, we practice the science of animal husbandry, management intensive grazing and the improvement of our animals through selective breeding. We heartily embrace sustainable agriculture.

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