There is a KEY distinction to be made between “supplementing” a natural diet as we do at Walhalla Valley and “substituting” a diet as is common with most beef outfits. The vast majority of traditional beef programs move on an accelerated (man-made) pace that is motivated by high volume and rapid weight gain – so the goal is to harvest as many cattle as quickly and cheaply as possible. These cattle are generally harvested at 12 – 18 months as they unnaturally/rapidly gain weight due to a “substituted” diet once they are moved off of their mother and natural habitat, and abruptly relocated into a third-party feed yard with large numbers (hundreds or even thousands) of other cattle (in a relatively confined area).
In the feed yard, cattle are typically exposed to extensive rations of grain mixed with hormones and antibiotics that encourage abnormal feeding – hence the tremendous weight gain in such a short period of time. This model may turn a profit and work well for the average rancher; however, this does not necessarily work well for the cattle or the ultimate consumer. This “substituted” diet and environment are not natural for the cattle and can arguably approach inhumane treatment as the cattle become commodities – not animals.
We set out in 2010 to be different – we wanted a better solution for the beef we consume, the beef we feed to our children, and now the beef we sell to our customers.