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  • Certified Piedmontese

The History Behind the Breed

Toro Ranch - Broken Bow, Nebraska

Certified Piedmontese® beef is unlike any other. An exceptional breed of genetically superior cattle is raised using a disciplined approach to animal care and husbandry to produce consistently high-quality beef. Extraordinarily lean, incredibly tender, Certified Piedmontese beef provides consumers with a healthier beef option without sacrificing flavor or tenderness.


Originating in the rolling hills and lush river valleys of the renowned Piedmont region of northwestern Italy, the Piedmontese breed of cattle is innately intertwined with a strong and unique heritage of fine wines and rich cuisine. The original migration of cattle to the valley is believed to have occurred about 25,000 years ago. By the 1870s, a unique double muscling characteristic was recognized as standard within the Piedmontese breed. In the mid-1970s, a group of progressive ranchers imported the first Piedmontese cattle to North America over a fiveyear process. By the mid-1980s, additional imports increased the original five head of cattle to 15. Today, the breed remains rare, representing less than one percent of all cattle in North America.


The myostatin gene in traditional breeds of cattle works to inhibit the overall muscle mass of the animal by reducing the frequency of fibers within each muscle. “The Piedmontese breed is unique in having an inactive myostatin gene that produces a ‘double muscled’ beef that’s rich in protein and nutrients,” says Great Plains Beef® manager Don Straight. The term describes the breed’s unique propensity for developing extra muscle mass but very little fat. The result is an efficient source of lean meat that remains tender and juicy, without the need for the heavy fatty marbling typical of standard breeds. “The nature of the breed is such that the animal doesn’t produce heavy levels of marbling or surface fat,” says Straight. “Piedmontese beef doesn’t consist of the typically stringy fibers, and the result is a natural tenderness that doesn’t require electrical stimulation, needling, or aging.” The genetic variation in Piedmontese cattle is entirely natural, notes Lone Creek Cattle Company® manager Shane Peed. “Nobody has altered the genetics of Piedmontese cattle,” he says. “The inactive myostatin gene was a natural evolution of the breed.”


To ensure the integrity of the Certified Piedmontese brand, each animal is DNA tested to confirm the presence of the inactive myostatin gene unique to Piedmontese cattle. Cattle that are accepted into the program have had DNA analyzed by an independent laboratory. The analysis confirms the genetic composition of each animal, and ensures that the unique traits of the original Piedmontese cattle are present so that every product is guaranteed to exhibit the natural tenderness and flavor of the breed. Ranches belonging to the Certified Piedmontese program employ integrated tracking software that measures, catalogs, and analyzes the gender, growth, health, and nutrition information. Each animal is tagged with a microchip including a unique identification number, containing important specifics about that animal. The results of each DNA analysis are cross-referenced with the existing information associated with the electronic identification numbers, which can be referenced throughout the life of the animal. The technology is unique to the Certified Piedmontese operation and provides ranchers and managers a system for overseeing the natural development of each animal from birth to harvest. Combined with the diligence of DNA testing, Certified Piedmontese is guaranteed to be exactly what it claims to be—a truly exceptional breed producing tender, flavorful, and nutritious beef. free to roam, enjoying all-natural feeds, fresh water, and comfortable surroundings. Certified Piedmontese cattle are never given animal by-products, hormones, steroids, or artificial growth stimulants of any kind. The program focuses instead on maintaining a higher standard of care in a natural environment, allowing for healthy growth and development.

The Certified Piedmontese program also completely excludes antibiotics. Instead, ranchers focus on preventative measures such as quality nutrition, natural living conditions, low-stress handling techniques, and effective stockmanship to prevent illness. In the rare event that an animal does become sick, antibiotics are administered, but these cattle never become Certified Piedmontese beef, and they are immediately disqualified from the program.


Through an advanced tracking system, Certified Piedmontese ranches catalog and analyze the gender, growth, health, nutrition, and overall history of each and every animal. The technology allows ranchers to continuously manage and improve herd health by providing each animal with the exact care that it needs. The Certified Piedmontese traceability initiatives are regularly audited by an philosophy is simple: Healthy cattle just don’t need antibiotics.


Certified Piedmontese producers are mindful of their relationship with the natural resources that flourish in the Great Plains, and uphold a strong commitment to utilizing them responsibly and sustainably, including the massive underground resource of the purest water—the Ogallala Aquifer— which provides for many of the Certified Piedmontese ranches. The aquifer assures access to abundant water resources, and also that their use does not adversely affect any other necessary use or, more importantly, the sustainability of the resource in general. “The Ogallala Aquifer is the perfect gift of nature,” says Shane Peed. “Having ready access to pure, clean water is perfect for us, since we pride ourselves on raising beef naturally, and in a sustainable fashion.”


The Piedmontese breed originated in the foothills of northwest Italy, and now you can enjoy the unique combination of lean and tender gourmet beef raised in the Great Plains. Certified Piedmontese is a truly healthier beef option that never sacrifices tenderness or taste.

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