Honey Girl Organics

Each week we bring you the stories behind your food because transparency matters to you today more than ever before. This also means that people are becoming more conscious of the lifestyle choices they are making for themselves and their families.  Think about the products you put, not just into your body, but onto your body.  If you’re mindful about the food you eat, the next logical step is to start seeking an understanding about what you’re putting on your skin.  You’re already asking what’s in your kitchen pantry so let’s start checking the bathroom cabinet too.

The Story

Used as a term of endearment, Honey Girl Organics, entered the beauty market in 2006.  Created by Anthony Maxfield, Gwen Maxfield and Christina Sirlin, they sought out to design a chemical-free moisturizer.  This led to Anthony experimenting with honey, beeswax, and olive oil.  After a few broken blenders, he came up with a nail and cuticle crème.  They quickly discovered that honey and beeswax had great rejuvenating properties, perfect for a moisturizer.  For years, the three would create creams for themselves and their friends. Their dedication to creating natural products, coupled with the Green Beauty Movement, helped them create their brand.  Today, Honey Girl Organics can be found in more than 400 stores across the country, which includes our friends at Whole Foods.

The Products

So, what does Honey Girl Organics offer?  Glad you asked.  They offer a wide range of products from facial scrubs, serums, creams, toners, lip balm, and even a facial wash.  They also cater to those individuals that have sensitive skin.  The best part about their products is they are completely transparent about what goes into their skincare.  No surprises here! If you’re unsure about what products to use or if it will work for your skin, they offer a sample pack of your choosing.  To see a full list of their products and to do a little shopping yourself, check out their product page.

Verification

Honey Girl Organics is, you guessed it, USDA Certified Organic, which means the product is 95% or more Organic. In order to be Certified Organic the product must be all natural, no synthetic chemicals, and contain no pesticides.  Honey Girl Organic’s products have no parabens, hormones, silicones, petroleum products, artificial preservatives, filler or other unnatural additives in their manufacturing.  They work diligently to maintain their certifications and provide the most effective and safe skin care possible.

Check out their video “Bees to Beauty” to learn more.

 

 

WFCF Storybit : Eagle Rock Ranch

The Eagle Rock Story

The Eagle Rock Ranch story is one of a first-generation ranching family that started with a dream and dedication.  Dave and Jean Gottenborg, who met as wranglers on a dude ranch back in the mid ‘70s, have wanted to own a ranch for as long as they can remember.  That dream became a reality when they purchased Eagle Rock Ranch, located just west of Denver, CO in Jefferson, after Dave retired in 2012.  While neither him nor Jean had a ranching background, they knew they could make it work! Through ranch classes offered at Colorado State University, hiring good ranch hands, surrounding themselves with like-minded ranchers and a deep rooted passion for this endeavor, they were able to transform Eagle Rock Ranch into what it is today.  Eagle Rock Ranch is also a proud member of the Country Natural Beef Co-op.

The ranch itself is situated at 9,000 feet elevation in the Colorado High Country in central Colorado.  The ranch straddles Tarryall Creek, located in the Terryall Valley, which in their opinion, is one of the most beautiful and scenic high mountain valleys in the entire United States. This is where their cattle are born, raised and spend virtually all of their life.  The Tarryall Valley has been designated as a National Rural Historic District and is listed in the National Registry of Historic Places as well as the Colorado State Registry of Historic Properties.  Eagle Rock Ranch has even been assigned a Smithsonian Institute identification number of 5PA.4467. With all the added history, the Gottenborg’s are truly living out their dream on Eagle Rock Ranch.

Dave and Jean have two children, Drew and Erin.  Now all grown up, Drew and his family visit on weekends when they can, and Erin, along with her husband and three kids, are weekend warriors on the ranch.  She says she never dreamed her parents would own a ranch.  She grew up riding horses and was an avid 4H member. She remembers the days of renting backyard barns from neighbors where she would keep her horses. She too dreamed of a day where she would have her own horse barn.

Now, fast forward about 25 years, Erin loves watching her children, and her nieces and nephews, experiencing the ranch at such a young age.  She is continuously in awe of the ranch and can’t believe this is where she gets to make a life and enjoy her passion. 

 

 

 

Verification Programs  

Today, Eagle Rock Ranch participates in numerous verification programs. They are a proud to be Beef Quality Assurance certified, as well as verified as Non-Hormone Treated Cattle (NHTC), Verified Natural Beef and Global Animal Partnership (GAP) Step 4 programs through IMI Global, a division of Where Food Comes From, Inc.

They believe that having exposure to these programs is what helps them produce their high-quality, Verified Natural, grass-fed Black Angus beef that they are so proud to offer consumers.  They even recently started offering “Eagle Rock Ranch” branded beef that consumers can order from them directly.

Happy Cattle, Happy Life

It’s obvious that Eagle Rock Ranch focuses on sustainability and quality.  In fact, throughout their ranch you’ll see signs that say, “Quality in Everything We Do,” because that’s exactly what they strive for.  They pride themselves in the way they treat their animals and take no short cuts when it comes to the care of the ranch and treat their animals with the respect they deserve.  They are constantly reminding themselves that “happy cows produce great tasting meat,” which is why they feed their cattle the protein rich natural grasses, let them drink from cool mountain run off water, and breath fresh mountain air. They believe this is key to creating a superior product for consumers, and they look forward to what’s to come.

Learn more about Eagle Rock Ranch here.
Learn more about Where Food Comes From here.

 

 

CRSB Driving Sustainability Within the Canadian Beef Industry

The Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef Framework 

Sustainability – in terms of food production, you may have heard it associated with organic foods or when “farm-to-table” is discussed, but this sustainability goes beyond that. While it means something different to everyone, it’s definitely has a focus around reducing waste, decreasing packaging and limiting processed foods.  Basically, eliminating the negative environmental consequences and providing you a cleaner food product.  With the help of groups and communities like the Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB), the food industry continues to move toward a more sustainable future.  This week we head North to take a look at CRSB and provide a look at what this community of stakeholders has dedicated to in order continue producing food sustainably, specifically their Certified Sustainable Beef Framework certification.

Who They Are?

The Canadian Roundtable for Sustainable Beef (CRSB) is made up of multiple collaborative stakeholders in the Canadian Beef industry.  These members are comprised of organizations across the beef value chain and beyond. From ranchers, academic institutions, foodservice companies to non-government associations, these members all share the same vision to change the beef industry.  They take pride in being socially responsible, economically viable, environmentally sound and not only prioritizing the people, but the planet and animals too.

Today, the CRSB has adopted five specific guiding principles for its dedication and work in Canada. These core principles include natural resources, food, people and the community, animal welfare, innovation and efficiency.  Each of these helps define beef sustainability.  This allows the group to identify opportunities for improvement and highlight areas where the industry is excelling.  CRSB certification gives producers the proof they are doing things right.

The CRSB Certified Sustainable Beef Framework Certification

Closing the gap between certified food and consumer demand is quite the task.  So how is the gap closed?  By certifying more food producers, ranchers, and farmers. Where Food Comes From partners with CRSB to educate producers about the importance of verification and the process that goes along with it.  The Certified Sustainable Beef Framework is a certification standard that certifies farms, ranches and processing facilities.   This gives them the ability to carry a certified sustainable operation label. They also assist the retail and the food service industry with their sustainable beef sourcing efforts. To you, the consumer, this means that credible transparent messaging about your food is occurring through marketing efforts and product labeling.

Developed with multiple purposes in mind, the framework balances consumer needs while advancing beef sustainability in Canada.  This includes recognizing best practices in the industry, supporting supply chains interested in making the move, and avoiding duplicated efforts when it comes to verifying operations.

Certification

In order to get certified, ranches must follow specific steps outlined by the CRSB. These steps are outlined below:

  • Inform– Track records and engage with current CRSB materials
  • Engage– Gather necessary information, agree on date, start audit preparations
  • Audit/Certify – Conduct audit and review report. Respond to any corrective actions
  • Maintain– Audit cycle is 5 years. Maintain your certificate with annual surveillance requirements
  • Improve – Engage in audit cycle and identify opportunities for improvement

Once results of the audit are reviewed, a certificate is issued or corrective actions are issued to be completed within a specific amount of time.  The CRSB helps support each of these steps by providing the indicators that are audited, lists of requirements, and how to communicate to the public once they are certified.  This is truly a collaborative process. CRSB is enabling consumers to purchase sustainably sourced products because of their transparency and education. They are raising the bar when it comes to sustainable beef.

To learn more about CRSB check out this video.

Where to find CRSB Certified food?

While the Certified Sustainable Beef Framework certification is new, it is quickly taking off.  Just recently Harvey’s was added to the list of approved food chains to take part in the program.  McDonald’s, Loblaws, Swiss Chalet, Original Joe’s and Cactus Club are also partners in the sustainable beef pilot program.

 

 

 

Blockchain In The Food Industry

Since the first day our founders wandered onto a ranch and convinced our first customer we could improve their operation by using computers and data analysis, Where Food Comes From has continued to look for applications of technology within the food industry.  Automating processes at a ranch or feedlot, experimenting with drones, digitizing stock and utilizing cloud-based data management platforms are all innovative ways you can keep an eye on an operation.

But today, we take a look into Blockchain – the newest buzzword you keep hearing about!   So, what is blockchain?  To keep it simple, a “blockchain” is a type of cloud-based database that stores data records.  For all things food related, a blockchain would begin with a food producer submitting information into this database – a food producer could be a tomato or lettuce grower, a cattle or pig producer or even a flower farmer!  As their products move through the supply chain to the retailer, new data would be uploaded along the way and by the time it made it’s way to a retail store, they’d be able to trace it back to the producer.

So, while blockchain technology clearly enables a whole host of new data sharing capabilities post-production, it will also intensify the importance of verifying data at the point of production.

Over the past few years our teams have been fielding several questions regarding blockchain as it relates to the food industry and, as with a number of technology improvements before it, we’ve kept a keen eye on this revolutionary technology. In many ways, blockchain is unique and will no doubt change how information is exchanged among stakeholders of any supply chain. One thing however has become abundantly clear and that is as blockchain enables new data sharing capabilities after a producer ships off their product, it will also intensify the importance of ensuring that the data that was submitted is accurate.


Advantages to Blockchains in the Food Industry  

First, they will enable various stakeholders to both add to, as well as view, elements of a products journey from production to consumption. Instead of getting a whole bunch of systems to talk to one another, blockchain solutions offer a data layer that can sit across all of them.

This is powerful because currently, a product moves through many different systems and databases as it makes it’s way from a producer to a processor to a retail store.  This current reality makes it difficult to share information along the way, as each system requires a link to another, or heaven forbid requires someone to repetitively enter the data at each step manually. Blockchain can automate this, which would optimize costs and effort along the way.  The journey through the supply chain will be more detailed than ever with the combined advances in electronic tagging and labeling that enables location, temperature and proximity and more to be known. These details will empower all forms of continuous improvement along the way.

Blockchain solutions will also enable consumer and retail visibility of a products journey like never before. Retailers will be able to tell the story of a true farm-to-table journey in such a way that has not been done before. There are still several industry challenges at the processor level where much is turned into individual shelf-ready packages, however having a chain-wide platform may very well enable solutions through that step.

Second, tracking blockchain data is done in such a way that is referred to as “immutable,” meaning that no single party can change the history of the data. Blockchain keeps a public record of everything that is entered into it – and it is important to note that the data submitted is not currently verified by anyone except the person that is submitting it.

For instances of public safety and having an indisputable, or at least publicly agreeable, record that is immediately available through a digital interface could be a game-changer for many industries that lack this sort of visibility. For companies and other large entities that desire immediate real-time visibility of an entire supply-chain, this too is a solution to an age-old problem of needing to see the stops that were made along the way to its final destination.


Looking ahead

Now, to be fair, this is a simple summary of the key elements of what blockchain will enable or improve over existing systems.  In our experience however, any technology that enables greater and more fluid data transference among stakeholders, tends to define and create new avenues of business previously unimagined.

One thing that all of this suggests is that the value of this data will increase exponentially as the data is shared more broadly. As blockchain solutions revolutionize how data is tracked and propagated, the need for that data to be verified and confirmed to be true, will grow exponentially as well, especially when data entered into a record is shared with all stakeholders in an unalterable fashion.

MN Farm Living Discuss ‘Why Pig Farmers Are Audited’ In Recent Blog Post – Read More!

Audits are very common in business. When we think of audits, we think of banks, taxes, businesses for sales tax, etc. Especially anything that has to do with finances. But did you know pig farmers are audited? In fact, multiple types of “audits?” Let me tell you about the types of audits we do on our farm.

Continue reading Wanda’s blog here. . .

WFCF Launches WFCF Gluten Free Standard

Sensitivity to certain ingredients has become increasingly common in the food community. It’s almost certain that you’ve heard a lot about gluten sensitivity over the last few years or maybe you actually know someone who has some level of intolerance to gluten-based foods. In fact, Celiac disease, an autoimmune disorder that attacks the small intestine when gluten is consumed, affects 1% of Americans today. That means at least 3 million people in our country are living with celiac disease and a great majority of them are undiagnosed.  The heightened awareness around gluten sensitivities has many consumers exploring gluten free diets, resulting in a gluten free food market that is set to reach $6.43 billion by 2025.

The growing popularity of gluten free diets and foods has led brands to respond to these demands. They are utilizing labeling claims related to whether the food contains any form of gluten proteins.  Unfortunately, a lack of national and international standards exists about how to properly measure and label the term “gluten free.”  Some of the claims you see on packages remain unverified today.  So how can you trust the gluten free claims on your food packages?

WFCF Gluten Free

The WFCF Gluten Free program includes a combination of quantitative analysis, segregation and traceability to ensure the ingredients and products themselves being marketed are gluten free. Part of this process includes the management of eliminating the introduction of gluten proteins whether that be accidental or otherwise during food production. WFCF ensures that all parts of the process from manufacturing, storage, and packaging is certified under the proper standards, and requires finished products to be tested to ensure the absence of gluten proteins.  Testing is done down to the parts-per-million (ppm), and any product that tests above 10ppm for gluten is not eligible for certification.

Why Trust WFCF Gluten Free?

As a consumer you should have confidence in the claims food companies make on their packages.  That is why independently verified claims through third-party companies like Where Food Comes From (WFCF) are so important. WFCF understands the importance of being transparent about the claims on the food products you are feeding yourself and your family. Gluten Free certification isn’t a fad, but rather a necessity for those with Celiac Disease and gluten sensitivity.

If you’d like to learn more about the WFCF Gluten Free Standard you can find more information on their website here.

Feed Verified Program

Over the last few months we’ve shared dozens of stories about our farmers, ranchers, and partners and the verification processes they participate in.  If you’ve been a regular blog reader you’ve likely come to understand that those verification processes include multiple pillars covering specific guidelines that provide the framework for the food certifications. From worker care, animal welfare, and environment standards, all of these categories are extremely critical when it comes to the food we eat.  Did you know that even the feed animals eat can impact their eligibility for certain verification programs? IMI Global, a division of Where Food Comes From, offers the Feed Verified program as a way to ensure farmers and ranchers that the feeds they are purchasing or are looking to purchase meet the requirements of certain programs.  Feeds are a critical component to achieving verification and can also be a risk area when it comes to compliance, which is why the layer of assurance Feed Verified provides is increasingly valuable to livestock owners.

IMI Global

As a leading provider of verification solutions, IMI Global understands the need to provide a variety of services when it comes to program quality and customer expectations.  As you’ve learned in earlier blogs, IMI Global supports verification services for the livestock industry, including beef, pork, dairy, poultry, bison and eggs.  IMI Global is constantly evolving, improving and growing based on what the market is demanding, and Feed Verified is a perfect example of how industry needs prompt program innovation. Let’s take a look!

Feed Verified  

Feed Verified is a resource for livestock producers to search feeds that have been reviewed and verified to meet certain requirements. Feeds can be verified for use in multiple programs, including: Non-Hormone Treated Cattle, Verified Natural, Non-GMO Project Verified, Organic Certification, and the GAP 5-Step Animal Welfare Rating Program.

The number one reason an animal is not able to be approved for one of the programs named above is due to their consumption of a non-compliant feedstuff.  Many feeds in the marketplace today are labeled as Natural, but when it comes to these detailed program requirements, they often contain ingredients that do not comply.  Therefore, producers are often unknowingly misled when they purchase a “natural” feed and then during their audit find out it contains a prohibited substance and disqualifies their cattle.

This is why Feed Verified has become a valuable tool for producers.  The peace of mind it provides is paramount to their operational success.  You can see the complete list of Feed Verified products here, including Alltech’s featured feeds, the very first Feed Verified brand to enroll in the program. Stay tuned for more details on Alltech’s many programs!

Getting Involved

If you’re interested in becoming involved with Feed Verified or want more information you can email info@imiglobal.comor visit their website at www.imiglobal.com.  Where Food Comes From and IMI Global are dedicated to driving value and authenticity for both food producers and consumers.  Please be sure to follow us on our social networks to stay up to date on new and exciting programs.

Learn more about IMI Global’s Specialty Programs HERE.

WFCF Launches WFCF Poultry CARE Standard

If you’ve been regular readers here, you know that Where Food Comes From has been on a journey to give our readers more access to the story behind their food.  From actual stories about farms and ranches and the farmers that cultivate them to stories about the processes behind verification and the labels you see on your products every day, it is our continual mission to provide you details on the unseen parts of food verification and help to close the education and information gap between farm and table.

With that educational goal in mind, we wanted to take the time to fill you in on our recent announcement that Where Food Comes From is launching a set of standards around sustainability in poultry production called Poultry CARE.  The main objective in developing Poultry CARE was to develop a set of standards that reflect state of the art best practice and science in sustainable poultry production for the protection of birds, workers and the environment.  So let’s take some time this week to see what our new Poultry Care standards are all about.

The Standards
It’s easy to say that we are always looking for ways to enhance and advance our verification processes and criteria. But how do we go about actually making that happen?  Good question.  Where Food Comes From constantly evaluates current processes and with the help of scientists, farmers and agriculture experts, we’re able to find better ways to produce food.

Farms, ranchers and even grocers depend on consumer trust to survive and grow.  As consumers have become more conscious of verification standards, there has been an equally large push to expand those standards to allow for more transparency around the protection of animals, workers and our environment.

That’s where our new Poultry CARE standards come in. Today, there are four pillars we evaluate for Poultry Care: Animal Welfare, Worker Care, Environment, and Responsible Use of Antibiotics.  This applicable to all stages of the poultry production.

Certification
Poultry production facilities can get certified on each pillar separately or have the option to complete all four simultaneously. Like our other certification programs, this involves extensive audits to ensure proper practices are in place.  Here’s a quick overview on what each pillar covers.

Animal Welfare – Ensures birds are free from hunger, thirst, discomfort, pan, injury, disease, fear, etc. This goes beyond basic needs of the birds and also includes housing conditions and specific litter management.

Worker Care – Reinforce efforts to ensure individuals are legally hired, fairly compensated and treated, not subject to discrimination, appropriately trained and provided with a safe work environment.

Environment – Support the maintenance of a sustainable environment by promoting practices that encourage waste reduction, management of natural renewable resources, and reducing our carbon footprint.

Responsible Use of Antibiotics (RUA) – Prevent development of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria where antibiotics are administered.  The Responsible Use of Antibiotics Standard is also informed by “judicious use principles”2 developed by the FDA in partnership with the American Veterinarian Medical Association, and the Certified Responsible Antibiotic Use (CRAU) Standard3 managed by the Antibiotic Resistance Action Center (ARAC).

These standards are more than just checking on the birds daily. We considered these standards to be a positive and much needed addition to the poultry production industry.  These pillars are key to good management in raising healthy birds.

What’s Next
Outside of the CARE guidelines, each of the pillars contain certification criteria around Community Engagement, which we consider a positive role of the production facilities. It’s important to be involved in the communities in which these facilities operate in.  As we continue to improve these standards with our partners, we will continue to bring updates.

Stay tuned for more on Poultry Care and all things Where Food Comes From.  Do you have an opinion?  Great!  From July 1-31, 2019, you can let us know your thoughts by visiting our Public Comment page on our website.  We’d love to hear from you!

 

WFCF Organic Divisions : A Bee Organic & ICS


Trying out new things is not always easy.  Remember trying to ride your bike without training wheels for the first time or taking your driving course at the DMV?  Once you learn the basics and have a clear understanding, the simpler the tasks become. The same principle applies for many other things that we do in our daily lives but, just like riding that bike, it takes work and education. Most jobs are made up of multiple tasks that must learned in order to achieve a certain outcome. Maybe you’re a teacher, engineer or maybe ever a farmer.  All these jobs require lots of learning and educating of yourself as well as others. Today, farmers have the big responsibility of producing the food supply for millions of people across the country. Who helps those farmers and ranchers navigate and learn when it comes to Organic production and certification?  That’s a great question.  Today we get to more deeply introduce you to A Bee Organic and International Certification Services (ICS), both are Organic divisions of Where Food Comes From.

Becoming USDA Organic

Remember what we said about trying new things?  The same applies for farmers as they look to convert their operations to Organic farms.  This is where A Bee Organic and ICS come into the picture. A Bee Organic and ICS are both an accredited Certification Agency (ACA).  A Bee Organic has been in place since 2010, ICS has been in place since 1979.

Those wanting to be certified Organic must follow Organic standards set by the USDA National Organic Program (NOP). By following those standards, producers and handlers can label products as Organic and display the USDA Organic seal, which you’ve probably seen on products today.

A Bee Organic and ICS want all of their clients to maintain successful Organic operations, so they always provide them with a copy of the NOP regulations.  If there is confusion, staff will explain regulations to help support the clients through the process and recommend clients seek out Organic consultants if further system development and management is needed. They also provide resources and communicate current notices, processes, and legal requirements. Understanding the regulations and how they apply builds the foundation to a successful Organic business.

Who They Support?

There are four different categories of Organic Certification, and ICS and A Bee Organic work with customers in all segments. They are handler, livestock, crop and wild crop.

Let’s start by explaining what a handler is.  This is any operation that is engaged in the handling of agricultural products, including those that handle crops and livestock as defined by the NOP regulations. For example, if you clean and cut the produce, you would need an Organic handler certification.  Whereas, if you bought packaged coffee beans and resold them, as is, without opening the packaging you would not need a handler certification. Different types of handlers consist of on-farm handlers, re-packers, co-packers and processors.  Additional information about this can be found in the NOP Rule.

Next, certifying livestock consists of any cattle, sheep, goats, swine, poultry or equine animals used for food or in the production of food, fiber, feed, or other agricultural-based consumer products per the NOP. Apiary production is also considered livestock certification. This certification involves the environmental conditions, food supply, and care of the animals.  Organic livestock must be fed organically produced feed, ensuring the animals receive adequate nutrition. Ruminant livestock certification must include a pasture plan. This also includes the elimination of certain substances and chemicals.  Any producer of Organic livestockmust establish a year-round plan to accommodate the health of their livestock.

Crop production has specific regulations, including maintaining and/or improving natural resources. Crop production includes field crops- both annual and perennial, greenhouse production, and hydroponic or aquaponic systems.  One important thing to note about Organic crop verification is the use of GMO, sewage sludge and ionizing radiation is never allowed under any circumstance.  There are also specific practices producers must follow when it comes to keeping the soil fertile and cultivated.  This includes everything from crop rotation to disposal of crop waste materials.

Because wild harvested crops are picked, not produced, they are a separate category that focuses on conservation of the crop and harvest area environment. Just as with crop production, the harvest area must be documented to be free of prohibited substances for 3 years prior to harvest.

If it seems like a lot of information to process, that’s because it is.  Now you understand why A Bee Organic and ICS are so vital to their clients and the Organic industry.

Why Certify?

A Bee Organic and ICS, both divisions of Where Food Comes From, Inc., are proud to educate you on the certification of Organic products.  We are all in this together, learning, growing, and changing the way we produce for generations to come.  You want the story behind your food and we’re here to help. As always, to learn more about all of our verification programs, visit us at Where Food Comes From, A Bee Organic or ICS to learn about their services.

Storybit : Stoddard Ranch

The state of Montana, known as “Big Sky Country,” is home to the beautiful Stoddard Ranch.  With a mountain of ambition, Leonard Stoddard began a lifelong dream of being a rancher.  From feeding cattle in the frigid winters to riding his horse or 4-wheeler in the summer heat to check cattle, it was evident Leonard had a true passion for ranching.  This week we graze across the open grasslands to learn about Leonard & Steve Stoddard and the Stoddard Ranch story.

The Story 

Stoddard Ranch began with Leonard Stoddard in the 1950’s and his son, Steve Stoddard, who joined the operation after he graduated from high school in 1972.  It was a struggle to support two families and grow the ranch at the same time.  Financial constraints combined with the lack of ability to grow in adjacent areas eventually forced Steve to lease land at an alternate location near Colony, Wyoming.  Eventually, Steve grew enough equity in his cattle for Leonard to sell their smaller ranch located in Hulett, Wyoming.  This sale led to the purchase of a 600-head cattle ranch in Hammond, Montana.  It consists of 25,000 acres with an additional 18,000 acres they lease.  In 2018, Leonard passed away, but Steve and his partner, Julie Emmons continued to build on to the ranch, adding two lease locations, which allowed them to increase to around 1,100 head of cattle.

Verification

Today, Stoddard Ranch partners with IMI Global, a division of Where Food Comes From, Inc., for third-party verification associated with livestock production.  Stoddard Ranch qualifies for Source & Age, Non-Hormone Treated Cattle (NHTC), Verified Natural Beef and the Global Animal Partnership (GAP) 5-Step Animal Welfare Review Program.

Because consumers are demanding products meet these verification requirements, Stoddard Ranch has received premiums on their cattle.  While there is a record keeping aspect that needs to be adhered to, Stoddard Ranch has found that the premium from participating in the program far outweighs the extra paperwork that is required to qualify.  Upon closer inspection, they realized that were only a few requirements set forth by the programs that they didn’t already adhere to.  For them, it is simply a matter of recording the information and working with the verification specialists that continuously work with them to ensure they are meeting the requirements.

The Benefits

Stoddard Ranch believe most, if not all producers in their area, take pride in what they do and treat their cattle with respect.  Stoddard Ranch is excited to share their story and tell consumers where their beef comes from.  They feel that connecting consumers directly to their beef producers is critical in today’s marketplace.  Now more than ever consumers are asking the right questions and want to know how their food is produced from origin to fork.  Stoddard Ranch cares about the product they offer and they stand behind the verification processes provided by Where Food Comes From.  These programs give consumers confidence in the product they receive by providing details about the livestock and the production.  Stoddard Ranch will continue to work with IMI Global because they see the value in doing so.  They take pride in delivering an all-natural, hormone-free product straight from the ranges of Montana.  And, they love what we do.