FAQ - Glossary of Terms

What does "Pastured" mean, and is it important?

In principle, Pastured denotes the practice of keeping animal on the land (rather than confined in stall, pen, or lot), throughout their life.  This ensures they are able to perform their inherent functions in the landscape, and receive appropriate nutrition from the environment they help create.  Though the exact practice will vary somewhat in differing climate zones, the fundamental principles are the same.  As, what your food ate is critically important to your own health and wellbeing.  Pastured animal practitioners ensure their animals have access to the widest range of biota and nutritional inputs possible throughout their life.  

What does "Regenerative Agriculture" mean?

As a landscape management practice, this term refers to a process of adding to the abundance of a landscape, as opposed to mining the land of its resources.  See expanded discussions here, and here.

What does "Grass Finished" mean, and is it important?

The production cycle of Bovine animals in Industrial Agriculture is broadly based in three phases.  The animals are born, and spend a number of months with their mothers nursing, and transition to plant materials for their diet.  The next phase, from a few months to over a year, sees the animals weaned and on pasture as they grow through 'adolescence'.  The third phase sees the animals transported to a "feedlot" or Confined Animal Feeding Operation (CAFO), where they are feed a high grain diet to force the animals to put on weight fat in preparation prior to being harvested.

"Grass Finished", refers to the practice of omitting phase number three above; and keeping the animals on pastured land throughout their entire lifespan.  This leads to a better nutritional profile in the resulting meats (i.e., resulting Omega-3 -vs- Omega-6 ratio, as one example), though it can take 50% longer to complete this properly (as little as 14 months for CAFO versus 18 to 24 months for Grass Finished).

What does "Grass Fed" mean, and is it important?

This is a meaningless obfuscation marketing term primarily associated with bovine production practices.  All bovine animals are "Grass Fed" during their life cycle, and thus even CAFO finished animals can be labeled as "Grass Fed".

What does "Heritage" mean?

Certain breeds of animals have been adopted in Industrial Agriculture as a prefered choices in this production system.  The selection criteria for confined animals (i.e., carcase size and confirmation, tolerance to confinement, etc.); is markedly different from centuries of landscape based criteria our forebears considered of importance (i.e., grazing efficiency in the landscape, ability for unassisted birth, aggression towards predators, carcase size and confirmation for whole animal butchery).  With the diminished role of local food production in the marketplace, centuries of genetic diversity is in danger of being lost to extinction. 

In certain contexts, this term may also be used a meaningless obfuscation marketing term for animals raised in CAFO systems.

We would strongly encourage you to become familiar with this critically important issue, and visit one such site working in this space at The Livestock Conservancy.  

What does Nutrient Availability and Bioaccumulation mean?

In Nature, everyone plays their part in cycling nutrients through the landscape.  As cows cannot directly eat rocks for their mineral contents, they rely on other organisms to break them down and make them available to the shrubs and grasses which the cows then eat.  Breaking the full expression of these nutrient cycles leads to poor health of the soil, animals, and plants in the landscape through nutrient deficiencies.  Ensuring the opportunity for nutrient accumulation in the proper species, thus making it available to the next specie in that nutrient path as an input, you are able to assist in ensuring complete nutrition for all species in the landscape.

What is "Free Range", and is it meaningful?

 This term is defined by statute, and is commonly a meaningless obfuscation marketing term associated with confined poultry production.

What do you mean by "*icide"?

We us it as an acronym for Pesticide, Herbicide, Fungicide, and Insecticide.