Niman Ranch, producer of sustainably and humanely raised gourmet meats, acknowledged the milestone expansion of its network of independently owned U.S. farms and ranches, surpassing 700 farms.

To ensure the consistency of the Niman Ranch product, Niman Ranch’s sustainable farming protocols have become more rigorous since the company’s inception 39 years ago. Despite this fact, Niman Ranch has grown its network from 400 independently owned farms five years ago to 700 today — a 75 percent increase. The expansion has come with the addition of its cage-free egg program in 2010, which welcomed 26 egg farmers, and its East Coast hog program, in November 2011, which partnered with 20 new farms in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and New York.

Niman Ranch works with individual family farmers and ranchers in more than 26 states who have agreed to raise livestock according to specific sustainable and humane protocols developed under the direction of animal handling expert and Colorado State University professor Temple Grandin, Ph.D. All farmers and ranchers within the network are paid a premium to adhere to the rigorous protocols.

“In 1972, the term ‘sustainability’ wasn’t making headlines, yet Niman Ranch founded a company based on the belief that raising livestock according to traditional agriculture practices was better for the land, the animals and the farmers,” Jeff Tripician, Niman Ranch chief marketing officer, said. “Nearly 40 years later, this founding philosophy has allowed Niman Ranch to positively impact the livelihood of more than 700 independently owned U.S. farmers, their families and their rural communities.”

With increased demand for its “never-ever” meats — as in never, ever treated with hormones or antibiotics — Niman Ranch relies on its partnerships with these family farmers to bring the highest quality beef, pork and lamb to best-in-class food service and specialty retail locations coast to coast.

“I’ve had the opportunity to visit some of the Niman Ranch farms and see first-hand the positive impact on the land,” says Joseph Kudrack, assistant executive chef at Red Rock Casino Resort and Spa. “The farmers go above and beyond no antibiotics and no hormones and incorporate biodiversity to create healthier ecosystems. The Niman Ranch farmers’ commitment to sustainability is one of the reasons I’m confident serving Niman Ranch meats to my guests.”

Source: Niman Ranch