A Unique Breed Preserved & Raised The Right Way
A majority of beef cattle are bred, raised, and harvested as efficiently as possible with the aim of quantity over quality. Piedmontese cattle are a whole different breed, and raising them the right way calls for a level of diligence that’s the exception rather than the rule in the industry.
Ever since the early beginnings of the Piedmontese breed, supporters have been a forward-thinking group. Raising cattle in the mountainous backdrop of Italy’s Piedmont region a couple hundred years ago required adaptations to the region’s treacherous landscape for both the ranchers and the cattle they raised. In the late nineteenth century, the Piedmontese breed began developing characteristics not typical of offspring from previous generations. The most notable? Significantly greater muscle mass compared to other breeds. At the time, Italian ranchers weren’t aware that the larger musculature and increased muscle mass were the result of a natural adaptation unique to the Piedmontese breed.
The scientific research and academic study into the whys and hows came decades later, but what early Italian breeders knew was this: their Piedmontese cattle produced high-quality beef that was especially tender, despite noticeably less marbling.
As the breed’s unique genetics became more widely recognized and supporters gained a following, breeders focused on taking advantage of the increased yield percentage in combination with the animal’s naturally lean and tender meat. Over time, ranchers began focusing more specifically on raising the Piedmontese breed for beef instead of labor and milk production.
Studying A Rare Breed
Today, Piedmontese cattle are raised by a handful of producers across the United States. The mission of the Certified Piedmontese® program—in conjunction with Lone Creek Cattle Company—is to uphold the integrity of the Piedmontese breed to deliver a consistently superior beef product.
This commitment began with intensive study of the science behind the breed. At Toro Ranch, located 15 miles north of Broken Bow in central Nebraska, purebred Piedmontese bulls are tracked and monitored carefully. Each bull is selected based on a number of factors, including meat production and the calving ease of their offspring. Bulls chosen for the breeding herd sire offspring for the Certified Piedmontese program.
Bull calves are tested for structural soundness and muscularity, and ultrasound measurements are taken to calculate the area of each ribeye. Each calf is then DNA tested by an independent, third-party lab to verify the presence of the breed’s natural and unique genetic code. This allows the program to tie all data related to calves back to their sire. This information sheds light on which sires and pedigrees are performing in accordance with quality standards. The result is a breed that’s being continuously researched and improved.
Raising Cattle The Right Way
While the connection to the breed’s Italian heritage remains strong, Certified Piedmontese cattle are now raised in the heart of the Midwest on family ranches that abide by strict standards for care. Ranchers utilize low stress husbandry techniques to reinforce humane handling protocols at every level of production. Staff at each ranch are required to follow through with regular BQA (Beef Quality Assurance) training. And, as a verified natural program, cattle are never administered growth hormones, antibiotics, or animal by-products.
As a heritage beef program, care and husbandry standards are aimed at preserving the unique attributes of the Piedmontese breed. Because Piedmontese beef is naturally tender, cattle aren’t subjected to extensive, detrimental finishing programs aimed at creating ample marbling. The result is beef that’s incredibly lean and nutritious, with unrivaled tenderness and flavor. Because Certified Piedmontese is a farm-to-fork producer, the quality of the end product remains a priority at every step. Even at a glance, Certified Piedmontese beef looks different, with significantly less fatty marbling and intermuscular fat and more high-quality, lean and tender beef.
In order to deliver superior beef to customers who won’t settle for less, Certified Piedmontese and Lone Creek Cattle Company remain committed to the core mission: to raise this unique breed the right way.