How and where are your animals killed and processed?
Our livestock are processed at Mt. Angel Meat, a small family-owned processor near our farm.
Mt. Angel Meat is extremely concerned about animal welfare and the humane treatment of animals and is certified with the Animal Welfare Institute.
Livestock animals are handled one-at-a-time. There are three workers (two employees and one USDA inspector) that are involved in killing each animal. So unlike the large factory killing facilities that kill hundreds of animals per hour using electrocution and robots, Mt. Angel Meat uses a captive bolt to ensure the job is done correctly the first time in the most humane way possible.
Is your meat organic?
Though we have chosen to not seek organic certification, we follow practices that preclude the use of pesticides, herbicides, chemical fertilizers, growth hormones and routine antibiotics on our farm.
We believe our food is nutritionally superior because in addition to feeding locally produced, certified organic, non-GMO, soy-free and corn-free feed, we focus on more important factors including sanitary living conditions, green pasture, sunshine and fresh air, naturally sized groups and general comfort, and low stress.
As we know from our own lives, factors other than diet (like lifestyle and general disposition) heavily impact health. It’s the same for animals and their meat.
On our farm you will find clean, healthy and happy animals that are enjoying their lives.
How do you manage to keep beef and pork stocked year-round with such a small farm?
Full of Life Farm produces and sells pork, beef, and lamb that have been pastured and grass-fed, and in the winter time fed alfalfa hay. Hogs are also given a feed supplement that contains hard yellow peas, alfalfa meal, camelina seed, and flax seed. Our animals are never fed GMO grains, routine antibiotics, or hormones. Cattle and Lambs are never fed grain of any kind.
The pastures that our animals are raised on are not sprayed with herbicides or pesticides, and are only fertilized with our animals’ manure. Our animals are rotated throughout the pastures to provide diversity to the soil, which is key to our soil’s health, and our animals’ health.
Our farm is 200 acres, so is not really that small. But all of it is not currently in pasture. Some of it is leased to growers of nuts and nursery plants. Every year we re-claim some of this leased land and return it to it’s original pasturage – where five generations of the current family ago it was one of Oregon’s largest sheep farms.
We do not breed our own hogs and cattle, though we buy young animals and raise them here. We buy our young animals from local farms that practice the same farming ethic as we do. Our employees have vetted all these farms personally to assure ourselves, and our customers, that what we buy is bred and raised by the same standards that we employ on our own acreage. We also buy fully-raised hogs and steers from these other farms, so they are also raised by the same standards as our own.
There are times of the year when we cannot pasture hogs or cattle on our farm because during the winter our Willamette Valley property is too wet. During these times, other farms that have less wet acreage help us fill our customers’ needs.
You can always be assured that what you buy from Full of Life Farm is raised with our own high standards, whether it is raised here, or on pastures that we effectively “lease” from other like-minded farmers.
What do your animals eat?
Cattle and Lambs: Grass & grass or alfalfa hay.
Hogs: Hogs root around and find roots, grubs, nuts from hazelnut trees in their pasture, plus locally milled non-GMO hog feed made of hard yellow peas, alfalfa meal, camelina seed and flax seed.
GMO means genetically modified organism. Scientists have genetically modified certain plants, especially corn and soybeans, to survive when sprayed with certain chemical herbicides such as Monsanto’s Roundup. This allows industrial farmers to save money on cultivation of weeds.
These chemical herbicides work to kill plants by blocking the plant’s ability to absorb nutrients from the soil. These same chemical herbicides even block nutrients from GMO corn and soybeans but not enough nutrients to actually kill the GMO plant. But since GMO plants have taken up fewer nutrients from the soil, it’s reasonable to assume GMO plants contain less nutrition than non-GMO plants.
We at Full of Life Farm do not feed genetically modified feeds to our animals. Of course, our ruminants (e.g. cows, lambs) only eat non-GMO grass or hay. And our hogs, which are omnivores, are fed a non-GMO feed made from hard yellow peas, alfalfa meal, camelina seed, and flax seed.
How do you raise your animals?
Our animals live the lives they would in Nature, only they’re protected from predators and have regular, easy access to clean water and their natural foods.
All our animals:
- Live outdoors
- Roam freely
- Have access to shelter
They eat their natural diets.
- Cows and sheep eat grass
- Hogs eat forage, grains and root around in the dirt
They are encouraged to behave as they would in Nature.
- Cows and lambs stay in herds (or flocks), wander around eating grass, ruminate, trample, lay in the sun, etc.
- Hogs socialize with each other, eat grass, root, forage, and wallow.
Do you use routine antibiotics or growth hormones?
Never. We guarantee our meat to be free of antibiotics and artificial growth hormones.
What do you do about antibiotics when an animal is sick or injured?
Our animal husbandry practices minimize the need for antibiotics because animals rarely become ill or injured.
Should an animal become sick or injured, we use antibiotics only when absolutely necessary, to spare unnecessary pain or suffering.
We give only appropriate, precisely targeted doses for the specific situation. And we use antibiotics responsibly to avoid introducing them into the environment or render them ineffective for future treatment.
We don’t rush an animal treated with antibiotics to market. After treatment, we keep the animal on pasture for many months, ensuring that it’s fully recovered and is antibiotic-free when harvested. We guarantee our meat to be free from antibiotics.
Do you raise your cows from birth?
We began as a “cow-calf” operation, breeding cows and raising calves from birth. However, we couldn’t sustain that model due to space constraints.
Raising cows from birth required us to feed four cows — a mother, a newborn, a one-year-old calf and a two-year-old calf — for every one cow we harvested. The acreage on our farm isn’t sufficient to support that many animals.
Now we buy young cattle from neighboring farms or from ranchers who we know and trust who raise cattle to our standards. Then we finish them on our farm until they weigh enough to harvest.
How do you manage your pastures?
Grassfarmers are dedicated to keeping soil and grass healthy, and we employ farm practices to achieve that end. Our farm practices mimic nature’s design, including:
- Using only natural substances (we use gypsum plus manure from our own animals) to amend and fertilize soils.
- Encouraging the growth of the right plants through animal activity.
- Stocking pastures with the right number of animals (not too many or too few) to keep grass at its most nutritious (“vegetative”) stage.
- Rotating animals through pastures to encourage cycling of nutrients and building organic matter (humus) in the soil.
Grass farming closely follows the patterns and rhythms of Nature. The animals are healthy and well cared for, actually living a life similar to that on the prairie. The local ecosystem is protected and enriched. Farmers make a decent living. And customers benefit from healthy, nutritious food. Everyone wins.
We, at Full of Life Farm, consider ourselves grassfarmers and follow good grassfarming practices.