Jeff Tripician is a longtime proponent of sustainably raised meat products and how they connect the livelihood of farmers and ranchers, environmental sustainability, and improved health for consumers.
“There is a health crisis, and it is multifaceted,” said Tripician, the newly named CEO of grass-fed and finished beef marketer Teton Waters Ranch. Grass-fed beef’s nutritional profile positions it well to help address some of Americans’ stubborn diet and nutrition-related wellness issues:
- Grass-fed beef contains up to six times more Omega-3 fatty acids than grain-fed beef. Omega-3 fatty acids help prevent and treat many of the chronic conditions that make up America’s health crisis, including heart disease, stroke and autoimmune conditions such as lupus, eczema and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Grass-fed beef also is packed with B vitamins and is higher in vitamins A, E and other antioxidants compared to grain-fed beef, while having significantly lower levels of saturated fat.
Americans’ need for improved wellness extends beyond personal health and intersects with planet health, Tripician said.
“Modern agriculture tends to want to be efficient and sometimes ends up having a long-term negative implication,” he said. “We’re seeing a group of consumers today say, ‘That’s not OK,’ and we intend to listen to that.”
Grass-finished animals consume human inedible foodstuffs as their primary source of energy and nutrients and can forage on land not suitable for crop production, producing human edible food from a resource not otherwise able to produce food. Grasslands and pastures also sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Tripician points to the successful marketing and consumer brand equity organic foods have developed as a playbook for grass-fed and finished beef.
“Organic has done a wonderful job of distilling and accruing great benefits to a single word,” he said. “We’re going to draft off of the fine work that the organic folks have done and apply it to grass-fed.”
And then there’s economic wellness. Making grass-fed beef more affordable and available is the challenge and the opportunity, Tripician said.
“I came here to build our grass-fed foods platform that allows us to say, ‘Let’s do what people really want and need so that this is not just the domain of the affluent' — efficient availability of a product that can help change their life, their diet, in a better fashion,” he said.
Tripician said farmers and ranchers get paid relatively poorly and this is potentially a place they can have a life that they can thrive in.
“At Niman (Ranch), we built that to over 1,000 farmers and ranchers that benefited from us marketing better product to folks that wanted it,” he said.
Consumers who want grass-fed beef and all its attributes and benefits are willing to pay for that value, Tripician said, and part of that is paying the farmer and rancher a fair price.
“I was immensely proud of the fact that we were able to help that many farmers and ranchers,” he said. “And I look forward to doing that again here.”