Why Certified Piedmontese Beef Costs More
True quality requires time, effort, and investment. This sentiment can certainly be applied to beef products as well. The heritage and quality of the breed the beef comes from, how the cattle are raised, the hard work and values of the ranchers raising the herds, and the way the beef is processed all contribute to overall quality. And these claims can’t just be made: they need to be backed by data and third-party verification.
At Certified Piedmontese, we’re committed to doing things the right way. You’ve probably noticed our beef costs more than some beef products you find at the grocery store. To offer Certified Piedmontese beef for lower, commodity prices would force us to cut back on many of the above-and-beyond practices that make us who we are. And because our goal is producing the healthiest, highest-quality beef products available, it’s a sacrifice we’re simply not willing to make. Read ahead for more on our elevated practices and how they contribute to the exceptional quality of Certified Piedmontese beef.
No Antibiotics, Hormones Or Animal Byproducts
There’s no doubt some cattle producers choose to take short cuts and compromise the overall health of cattle by using blanket doses of antibiotics and hormones and adding animal byproducts to feed rations. These practices increase the animal’s weight more rapidly. Beef cattle are sold according to weight, so producers who implement these practices usually see efficiency and monetary gains. There’s also no doubt these practices are implemented to sell more beef more quickly, regardless of quality or standards.
Certified Piedmontese takes a completely different approach. The reality is that well-cared for cattle rarely become sick, and they certainly don’t require blanket doses of antibiotics. This is why Certified Piedmontese cattle never receive antibiotics—medically important or otherwise. In the rare event an animal becomes sick, ranchers administer the appropriate antibiotics, and the animal is removed from the program.
Similarly, when it comes to growth hormones, Certified Piedmontese draws a hard line. We’ve maintained our hormone-free status since the very beginning, so the only hormones present in Certified Piedmontese beef are those produced naturally by the cattle. And just like humans, the food cattle eat has a huge impact on overall health. Certified Piedmontese never receive animal by-products (materials derived from the body of animals), which are often used by beef producers to lower feed costs. We believe that quality feed for our cattle always comes before cost. Our cattle receive only high-quality nutrition that consists of prairie grassed supplemented by crops farmed by Certified Piedmontese ranchers themselves.
Higher Standards For Healthier Cattle
Certified Piedmontese prioritizes health over efficiency throughout the animal’s entire lifespan.
Our hardworking ranchers employ a higher level of management, including low-stress cattle handling at every step—a humane form of stockmanship that relies on the natural instincts and behaviors of the cattle to keep them calm and healthy. Certified Piedmontese ranchers are trained extensively in low-stress techniques and are BQA (Beef Quality Assurance) certified. The BQA certification program strives to contribute to a safe, wholesome, and healthy beef supply by offering proper ranch management, cattle handling, and stockmanship techniques to ranchers across the nation. Lower input would render less qualified ranchers—yet another sacrifice we’re simply not willing to make.
We don’t sacrifice on pasture space or quality, either; in fact, Certified Piedmontese ranches span thousands upon thousands of acres across Nebraska and southern-South Dakota. Most of them are located in the Nebraska Sandhills—one of the largest areas of unaltered grasslands in the country—directly above the Ogallala Aquifer—one of the largest underground freshwater reservoirs in the country.
To back these claims, we proudly maintain our Verified Natural Beef status through IMI Global, an independent, third-party certifier of food production practices. Frequent ranch audits are conducted to continually prove our cattle are never given antibiotics, hormones, or animal by-products.
The Piedmontese breed is rare—in fact, less than 1% of cattle in the U.S. are Piedmontese. The
Certified Piedmontese program has committed substantial time and resources to studying and maintaining the quality of the Piedmontese breed. The hallmark leanness and tenderness of the breed occurs naturally due to the breed’s muscle composition, making Piedmontese beef unbelievably tender with half the fat and calories than beef from other breeds.
This trait is unique to Piedmontese cattle, so all Certified Piedmontese calves are DNA tested by a third party to confirm their heritage, and consequently, the leanness and tenderness of the beef they produce. Cattle are only accepted into the Certified Piedmontese program if they have the DNA structure of the Piedmontese breed. This provides a 100% guarantee that when a customer orders Certified Piedmontese beef, they’re getting exactly that.
These tests also connect the parentage of each calf to the exact bull that fathered it. This enables ranchers to consistently improve the animals in the program, and ultimately the breed, through data tracking and careful selection of bulls that perform well and remain healthy.
Traceability Through Technology
We prioritize traceability for a couple reasons: 1. It increases transparency and accountability, and ensures things are done right at each and every step, and 2. It provides customers piece of mind about exactly where and how the animal that produced the beef was raised.
We use an advanced tracking system that measures, catalogs, and analyzes the growth, health, and nutrition data of each and every animal in the Certified Piedmontese program. All cattle are tagged with a microchip containing the important details about that animal and a unique identification number. This electronic identification makes sure our strict protocols are followed at every step in the animal’s life; nothing happens without record.
Certified Piedmontese also carries IMI Global’s Where Food Comes From Source Verified label, which means every Certified Piedmontese beef product is traceable back to its origin, and it was raised in compliance with our standards for care and welfare.
If tracing every single animal from birth to harvest seems meticulous and time-consuming—rest assured, it is. But Certified Piedmontese invests the time and resources so customers can be confident they’re getting a wholesome product raised with integrity. It’s just one more way Certified Piedmontese goes above and beyond industry standards to produce safe and healthy beef from farm to fork.
Higher-Quality, Healthier Beef
When it all comes together—the uniqueness and quality of the breed, our commitment to transparency and doing things right, and the data and verification to back it all up—Certified Piedmontese is inarguably a beef product that’s worth spending a little more for. And if you value quality, it’s more than worth it.