The Pasture for Life Standards
All too often the descriptions used to promote food sales promise much, but in reality turn out to be little more than marketing spin.
This was one of the main reasons a small group of farmers came together to develop the Pasture for Life mark. They were concerned about the haphazard and often misleading use of the description ‘grass-fed’, and wanted to provide opportunities for the genuine efforts of genuine pasture producers to be properly recognised.
The Pasture for Life mark certifies that Pasture for Life meat and dairy comes from animals raised only on grass and pasture. All the farms are visited to make sure the farmers follow a set of agreed production standards, based upon the animal’s natural diet.
The Certification Standards reflect all the important areas consumers like to see in the way their food is produced.
High Animal Welfare
All certified farms meet the requirements of Farm Assurance Standards, as a minimum.
However, most of our producers choose to operate at a much higher standard of animal welfare, either through the RSPCA Assured Scheme or Animal Welfare Approved or Organic Certification.
A Natural Diet
Animals kept according to Pasture for Life standards are not fed any form of grain or manufactured feeds.
These typically include high-energy and high-protein components such as soya, maize, wheat or pulses such as peas and beans. Intensive livestock production relies upon these to accelerate animal growth and production.
However, this kind of high-performance diet can put pressure on an animal’s body. They often have a shorter lifespan and experience a more stressful life than those fed more naturally.
The production of crops such as soya can often have a severe environmental impact, particularly in South America, where rainforest continues to be cleared to produce animal feed. The production of maize in the UK is also being increasingly linked to soil degradation and water pollution.
Published research shows that many of the human health benefits found in food from animals fed on pasture for life, are quickly lost when their grazing is supplemented with other feeds. The Certification Standards ensure that animals must be able to graze pastures when the grass is growing in the fields. In the winter months they can be given conserved pasture in the form of hay or silage or other agreed forms of forage.
The Pasture for Life Certification Standards also encourage farmers to make the most of the wildlife benefits that grazing offers.
Guidance is given on the management of natural and semi-natural grasslands and traditional hay meadows, as well as important advice on aspects such as the timing of farming operations to ensure minimal disturbance to nesting birds.
Becoming a Certified Farmer, Butcher or Supplier
To become a Certified Farmer, beef, sheep and dairy producers apply via a self-assessment form, and the Pasture Fed Livestock Association then arranges for independent, third-party auditing and a farm inspection. Once approved, farmers can market their meat and dairy produce under the Pasture for Life mark and use this logo on their food products as a sign that it is 100% grass-fed.
Click here to find out more about the process of becoming a certified farm, butcher or supplier.