The Facts About Our Beef
What makes our beef better
Ranchline All Natural beef is raised on the Mission Ranch in Livingston, Montana. The ranch is a historic, family-owned and operated Black Angus Cattle Ranch located at the confluence of Mission Creek and the Yellowstone River. This double water access means our cattle graze on fresh, naturally managed pasture and high quality, nutrient-rich hay, alfalfa and barley grown right on the ranch.
About Our Beef Quality
Ranchline's "all natural" beef comes from calves born on the Mission Ranch to mother cows that were also born and raised on the Mission Ranch. Our cattle are the product of many years of a highly selective breeding program designed to produce high quality and healthy beef. The animals never leave the ranch and are able to free graze up to the point of being loaded into the trailer for processing. That is what makes us unique - humane, healthy, great tasting and environmentally friendly beef. You don't find that just anywhere!
Our cattle go through a three to six week “finishing” process right on the Mission ranch, with a portion of their diet being corn, oats, and barley. Feed lots are NOT part of this process. The cattle continue to graze in open pasture and have access to good water during this time. The COB (Corn, Oats, and Barley) feed supplement ensures maximum marbling. The beef is then dry-aged for two more weeks to develop additional tenderness and flavor. The greater the amount of marbling, the higher the grade of beef because marbling makes beef more tender, flavorful, and juicy. Ninety Percent of our beef grades Prime or Choice, the two highest grades possible, making our cuts some of the best meat you can buy.
What is "All Natural"?
"All Natural" beef is defined by no antibiotics or growth hormones present in the animal’s system at the time of processing. Antibiotics are not used in Mission Ranch beef unless an animal is ill. If cattle receive antibiotics, they are removed from the All Natural program for 12 months. At that time they may be relabeled as All Natural. Growth hormones are never used. In addition, "natural" does not contain any artificial flavoring, coloring, chemical preservative, or any other artificial or synthetic ingredient.
How Is Beef Graded?
Inspection is mandatory, but grading is voluntary. We pay to have our meat graded. USDA grades are based on quality and marbling, with Prime and Choice being the highest grades possible. Ninety percent of Mission Ranch Beef grades Prime or Choice. A USDA grading guide is as follows:
- Prime grade – (Best) – Only two percent of all graded beef receives a USDA grade of Prime. A Prime grade means the beef has more marbling, the most tender and flavorful of all. Beef graded Prime is generally sold in restaurants and hotels. Our Beef grades Prime or Choice over ninety percent of the time.
- Choice grade – (2nd Best) – high quality, less marbling than Prime, but still very tender, juicy, and flavorful.
- Select grade – uniform in quality and lower in fat. Because of less marbling, it’s not as tender and it lacks the juiciness and flavor of the higher grades.
- Standard and Commercial grades – frequently sold as ungraded or as "store brand" meat.
- Utility, Cutter, and Canner grades – seldom, if ever, sold retail. Instead, these lower grades are typically used to make processed products.
What is “Certified”?
The term "certified" means that the USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service and the Agriculture Marketing Service have officially evaluated a meat product for class, grade, or other quality characteristics (e.g., "Certified Angus Beef"). Ranchline All Natural beef is evaluated by the USDA and certified as All Natural, Choice or Prime, Black Angus, Montana Beef.