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Benefits of Pasture Raised


Animals raised on open pasture enjoy a much higher quality of life than those confined in factory farms. They roam freely and are able to carry out their natural instincts and behaviors. Confined animals are more prone to disease, injury, are depressed and stressed, and who wouldn’t be living a life in confinement.  

Not only are pastured animals happier and healthier, but they are also nutritionally superior to commercially and some organically raised animals.  It is well documented that pastured livestock produce meat with lower levels of saturated fat and total fat, and higher levels of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, Beta-Carotene, heart-friendly Omega 3’s, and cancer/ heart disease fighting CLA’s (Conjugated Linoleic Acid).

As an example, pastured pigs have on average 300 percent more Vitamin E and 74 percent more selenium (an antioxidant) [1] , and pastured poultry produce eggs that contain 1/3 less cholesterol, 1/4 less saturated fat, and are richer in Vitamin A and D than commercial eggs.[2]

Organic vs Naturally Raised

Many people are confused between the two farming methods, and most consumers are not aware that organic doesn’t mean the meat is more nutritious or that the animal was raised humanely. In fact, organic practices for raising animals are centered more on the management of the land and how the feed is produced instead of how the animals are raised. The way in which the animals are raised and their welfare are of greatest importance.

Organic certification mainly refers to what an animal has or has not consumed. The USDA AMS National Organic Program does not specifically outline the humane raising practices of animals.[3]This is actually governed by the Humane Farm Animal Care Scientific Committee which is a non-profit charity that is supported by outside private animal protection organizations. Entry into this program is entirely voluntary, so it is up to farmers to practice good animal husbandry practices on their own.

Organic farms are still permitted to raise their animals in confined spaces, and it is not widely known that many of the largest organic producers do just that. [4] Additionally, even if these animals are fed organic grain it does not mean this is the natural type of food their bodies are designed to consume and derive nutrients from. Cattle, for example, should not be grain fed as it's not their natural diet and those fed grain have high amounts of E. Coli in their rumens. Raising animals in confinement and feeding them an unnatural diet even if it is organic jeopardizes human health because an organic feedlot operation has the same increased risk of E. coli infection. [5]

For the most part the term “organic” is simply a guarantee that the food does not contain pesticide residues, synthetic hormones, antibiotics, or other additives which does provide some peace of mind that your meat is safe to eat. However, the organic label does not guarantee good nutrition, and it has been widely documented that organically grain fed animals may still be deficient in nutrients, or contain a higher amount of bad fats within the meat. If the animal is lacking in nutrients it’s guaranteed that the meat you are eating from that animal isn’t nutritionally complete either. As Jo Robinson, the editor of and a New York Times Bestselling author said “Animals need more than an organic diet – they need their original diet!” This couldn't be more true.

The standards for “Naturally Raised” as defined by the USDA states that animals raised for consumption are prohibited from consuming growth promotants, antibiotics, or animal by-products.[6] Despite the inaccurate and biased information that is displayed on the internet by those trying to promote 100% organic the USDA does have standards for naturally raised meat. Again, the USDA does not outline humane practices, so it’s important to be diligent when buying meat that has any claim to being “natural” or “organic.” (To further complicate matters “All Natural” just means that the finished product is minimally processed (ground), and does not contain any artificial colors, additives, preservatives, etc, so be careful when buying these products.)


R Heritage Farms’ claim to Naturally Raised Pastured Pork is genuine, justifiable, and authentic. Our animals have unlimited access to the outdoors, clean water, and fresh air. They are free to move about wherever and whenever they choose. By providing them with pasture they live in a habitat that is conducive to their needs and resembles their natural environment. There is no better source of organic food than naturally cultivated and unaltered pasture, plants, and woodlands, or insects, bugs and grubs foraged freely from the natural dirt floor.

We have done extensive research on the principals of both organic and natural practices of raising animals, and because we believe both elements are important we practice a combination of both organic and natural methods. We also believe in educating consumers that while organic can be an important component of farming the way in which the animals are raised and their welfare are of greatest importance. It’s a benefit to the animals, consumer, and the farmer.

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