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Meet the Farmer: Top Grass Cattle Co.

Top Grass Cattle Co. Beef- Grass Fed, Grass Finished raised locally on free range pastures without the use of added hormones or antibiotics.

 

 Q & A with Calvin Raessler, Owner

How long ago was Top Grass Cattle Company founded and why was it started?

 

Background info. I had been farming most of my life and had grown up on a mixed farm in Central Alberta near Drumheller.  In 2004 I purchased my ranch at the base of the Handhills. The landscape is one of deep coulees, rolling hills, creeks, big blue skies and grass as far as you can see. Diverse in so many plant species and wildlife, it truly is a Cows paradise and sight for sore eyes.   I started selling animals grazed on my ranch and then grain finished in confinement without hormones or antibiotics to friends and family. I thought this was the best way to raise our animals and provide our customers with the best beef however I came across may informed urban people that were concerned how the animals were raised (confinement), how the meat was not as healthy as it could be ( as a result of high grain diet)  and how raising cattle were bad for the environment (confined to a feedlot) . Most cattle in Alberta start on grass but are finished in feedlots with high rations of grain to fatten them up and slaughter them quicker. This prompted me to start thinking about how better to address these concerns and learned more about the grass-fed model. After several years of research and trial raising grass fed beef, I started Top Grass Cattle Co. Ltd in 2012 and started selling "Grass Fed, Grass Finished beef raised without the use of antibiotics or hormones and Free Range " to retailers in Calgary in 2013. We have addressed the concerns of our customers by providing a product that is good for the animal, good for the environment and good for the people. We love our ranch, working with our animals in a manner to give them the best life possible and to connect with our customers so that they can feel good about the food they are sharing with their family.

 

 

Reasons to choose Grass Fed beef?

 

I really believe that a grass-fed model is best for the health and welfare of our animals, the sustainability of our land and to provide, great tasting, nutrient dense food for our friends, family and customers. Our animals are not confined to feedlots and are grass fed to produce the healthiest animals possible.  Eating grass/forages keeps our cattle’s digestive tract healthy and we do not need to give the animals additional growth hormones or antibiotics. Through regenerative ranching practices, we are able to grow healthy soils that enhance the purity of our water and to promote abundant wildlife and biodiversity. When you view this system holistically and work with nature, you understand the role livestock plays in keeping our ecosystem in balance.

Top Grass Cattle Co uses regenerative agriculture practices. Regenerative agriculture is a way of farming that supports life and earth’s natural ecosystems. Healthy soils are the goal.  Healthy soils function as a vital living ecosystem that sustains plants, animals and humans. Through regenerative agriculture we manage our lands to provide a habitat for soil microbes to flourish and diversify to keep the ecosystem working properly. As a result healthy soils provide us clean air and water, productive grazing lands, diverse wildlife and beautiful landscapes for not just today but for generations to come. Livestock is an important tool to manage our grass and to recycle nutrients and carbon back into the soil. Healthy soils are the foundation for true sustainability.


Animal Welfare

 

It is with the highest regard and respect to our cattle that we do our best to provide them with the best in nutrition, shelter and animal care. Our animals are not only our source of income but play a huge part in sustaining and enhancing our lives. They deserve to be treated with respect and we are continually learning and practicing the best in animal husbandry and low stress handling systems.


Affiliations

 

We have lost over 70% of our native grasslands in North America. These lands are home to several species of wildlife that were abundant on the prairies at one time but are now species at risk. We are fortunate to work with other individuals and groups that support the same values as we do and look to protect these species. We would like to give a shout out to   Operation Grasslands Community, Ducks Unlimited, Cows and Fish, and Multisar for all their efforts to help provide and protect these species.


For more frequently asked questions, click HERE


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