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Voluntary Standards for a Forage-Fed Livestock Marketing Claim

Authors as Published

Dr. Mark Wahlberg, Extension Livestock Specialist, VA Tech

Livestock Update, June 2008

Following is copied from the Federal Register in which the voluntary standards for forage-fed livestock marketing claim is described.  The voluntary part of the claim means that the standards are available for use by producers if they choose to do so.  It is optional.  These standards went into effect in October of 2007.

The production methods that qualify for the Grass (Forage) Fed label do not allow any grain feeding, including grain that may be a component of a harvested feed (such as grain-crop silage).  However, it is not prohibited to use any health-care products, such as dewormers or antibiotics.  Notice the terminology is not "Pasture-Fed", therefore the Grass (Forage) Fed animals may be fed harvested forages outside of the normal growing season.

Other standards exist for claims such as "Organic".  Grass (Forage) Fed animals do not need to meet the Organic standards, and Organic does not mean they are Grass (Forage) Fed.  These standards are independent of each other.

For the entire 7-page release on Grass (Forage) Fed livestock, go to the website at the bottom of this article.

Begin material copied from Federal Register:

DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Agricultural Marketing Service
[Docket No. AMS–LS–07–0113; LS–05–09]
United States Standards for Livestock and Meat Marketing Claims, Grass (Forage) Fed Claim for Ruminant Livestock and the Meat Products Derived From Such Livestock
AGENCY: Agricultural Marketing Service, USDA.

Federal Register / Vol. 72, No. 199 / Tuesday, October 16, 2007 / Notices

SUMMARY: The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) is establishing a voluntary standard for a grass (forage) fed livestock marketing claim. This standard incorporates revisions made as a result of comments received from an earlier proposed standard. A number of livestock producers make claims associated with production practices in order to distinguish their products in the marketplace. With the establishment of this voluntary standard, livestock producers may request that a grass (forage) fed claim be verified by the Department of Agriculture (USDA).  Verification of this claim will be accomplished through an audit of the production process in accordance with procedures that are contained in Part 62 of Title 7 of the Code of Federal Regulations (7 CFR part 62), and the meat sold from these approved programs can carry a claim verified by USDA.
DATES: Effective Date: November 15, 2007.

U.S. Standards for Livestock and Meat Marketing Claims, Grass (Forage) Fed Claim for Ruminant Livestock and the Meat Products Derived From Such Livestock.

Background: This claim applies to ruminant animals and the meat and meat products derived from such animals whose diet, throughout their lifespan, with the exception of milk (or milk replacer) consumed prior to weaning, is solely derived from forage, which for the purpose of this claim, is any edible herbaceous plant material that can be grazed or harvested for feeding, with the exception of grain.  Forage-based diets can be derived from grass (annual and perennial), forbs (e.g., legumes, Brassica), and browse.

Animals cannot be fed grain or grain byproducts and must have continuous access to pasture during the growing season. Growing season is defined as the time period extending from the average date of the last frost in spring to the average date of the first frost in the fall in the local area of production. Hay, haylage, baleage, silage, crop residue without grain, and other roughage sources also may be included as acceptable feed sources. Consumption of seeds naturally attached to forage is acceptable. However, crops normally harvested for grain (including but not limited to corn, soybean, rice, wheat, and oats) are only eligible feed if they are foraged or harvested in the vegetative state (pre-grain).  Upon request, verification of this claim will be accomplished through an audit of the production process. The producer must be able to verify for AMS that the grass (forage) marketing claim standard requirements are being met through a detailed documented quality management system.

Claim and Standard
Grass (Forage) Fed—Grass and forage shall be the feed source consumed for the lifetime of the ruminant animal, with the exception of milk consumed prior to weaning. The diet shall be derived solely from forage consisting of grass (annual and perennial), forbs (e.g., legumes, Brassica), browse, or cereal grain crops in the vegetative (pre-grain) state. Animals cannot be fed grain or grain byproducts and must have continuous access to pasture during the growing season. Hay, haylage, baleage, silage, crop residue without grain, and other roughage sources may also be included as acceptable feed sources. Routine mineral and vitamin supplementation may also be included in the feeding regimen. If incidental supplementation occurs due to inadvertent exposure to non-forage feedstuffs or to ensure the animal’s well being at all times during adverse environmental or physical conditions, the producer must fully document (e.g., receipts, ingredients, and tear tags) the supplementation that occurs including the amount, the frequency, and the supplements provided.

Detailed 7-page item from Federal Register is available at:
http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELPRDC5063842

Rights

Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, re-print, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.

Publisher

Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Rick D. Rudd, Interim Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; Alma C. Hobbs, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State, Petersburg.

Date

May 8, 2009


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