Certifications that matter.
We place a lot of value on trust — honest is in our name after all. But at the end of the day, trust has to be earned. For us, that means not only setting high standards and following through on them, but also being able to prove to you (and anyone who asks) that we are doing what we say we are doing. One of the ways we do that is by investing time and money into valid third-party certifications and working with our partners to help them do the same.
Here’s a bit more information on some of the Honest Bison certifications that we, along with our Grazing Partners, have achieved so far. This list is not exhaustive as we are continually working on more, but they are a good start.
Global Animal Partnership – G.A.P. Certified
We are making progress on our commitment to earn animal welfare certification for our bison. As of October 2021, over 85% of our Bison come from 777 Bison Ranch which has been Global Animal Partnership Certified GAP 4 since December 4, 2020. This is up from 50% in previous years and our ultimate goal is to have 100% of our bison meet this qualification. GAP 4 means our animals are certified pasture-raised according to GAP Standards. You can view the specific standards for bison here.
777 Bison Ranch was the first ranch to achieve this level of certification and we are proud to partner with them to bring you quality meat. It’s important to note that while only 85% of our supply is currently officially certified, all of our bison are raised and ranched according to the same high standards. Some smaller ranchers simply do not have the resources to fulfill the certification process and our primary goal is to encourage more ranchers to practice this type of ranching by offering them a market for their meats.
How G.A.P. Defines Animal Welfare:
G.A.P. defines animal welfare using three main components:
- Health and Productivity — Raising animals so they’re healthy and productive with good quality feed and water, shelter, and free from disease, illness and injury. It also means treating animals that get sick.
- Natural Living —Raising animals in environments that allow them to express their natural behaviors effectively, both indoors and outdoors.
- Emotional Well-Being —Raising animals in environments that allow them the ability to be inquisitive and playful and minimize restlessness, frustration, stress and pain, as much as possible.
Learn more about Global Animal Partnership standards here.
E.O.V Certification – Land to Market
Good farmers and ranchers inherently know regenerative agriculture is beneficial but now, thanks to Savory Institute’s “Land to Market” verification program, there is some measurable scientific data behind it. This data can help both ranchers and consumers make better choices. The program monitors both short-term and long-term soil indicators such as live canopy abundance, living organisms, dung decomposition, wind erosion, water erosion, and soil health.
All these things have an effect on the health of the soil, the plants and grasses that grow on it, the animals the eat it and, at the end of the day, our own health. As the only third-party certification to scientifically measure the ecological outcome of a ranch’s regenerative efforts, Land to Market Verification gives consumers even more insight into what they are eating – and more power to choose food that reflects their values and beliefs.
As previously mentioned, the majority of our bison are currently raised on 777 Bison Ranch in South Dakota, a family-owned and operated ranch which is Land to Market Verified. They are 100% grassfed and finished and have been implementing regenerative (or holistic) ranching since their beginning.
American Grassfed Association — A.G.A Certified
A.G.A. Grassfed Standards for ruminants (bison, cows, sheep, etc) have been developed by a team of animal scientists, veterinarians, ranchers, and range management specialists. They concentrate on four main areas of production:
AGA-Certified Grassfed ruminant animals are born, raised, and finished on open grass pastures where perennial and annual grasses, forbs, legumes, brassicas, browse and post-harvest crop residue without grain are the sole energy sources, with the exception of mother’s milk, from birth to harvest. Hay, haylage, silage, and ensilage from any of the above sources may be fed to animals while on pasture during periods of inclement weather or low forage quality. Pastured pork standards require unfettered access to pasture and a diet free from GMO grains.
AGA-Certified animals must graze pasture where they will receive most, if not all, of their nutrition, and be allowed to fulfill their natural behaviors and basic instincts at all times. The only exceptions to this standard are emergencies that may threaten the safety and well-being of the animals or soil, and management practices such as roundups, sorting, shipping, and weaning.
Animal Health & Welfare
Mineral and vitamin supplements may be provided free choice to adjust the animals’ nutrient intake and to correct deficiencies in the total diet energy source. The feeding of animal by-products is prohibited, and no antibiotics, ionophores, or hormones of any type may be administered. Any animal in need of medical attention must be treated to relieve its symptoms. If prohibited medication or antibiotics are required for treatment, the animal must be tagged, identified, and removed from the certified program. Producers will develop and maintain a written record of all vaccines, medications, and/or other substances used in their animal health care program.
American Origin & Identification
Animals eligible for acceptance in the AGA Certified program must be born and raised in the United States of America. Animals must be identified at the earliest opportunity following birth by a producer-determined animal identification system. Each animal’s record must include breed, ear tag or unique identification number, date of birth, and owner. Producer records that trace an animal from birth to harvest must accompany animals when delivered to processor. Genetically engineered and or cloned animals are prohibited.
Learn more about the American Grassfed Association’s standards here.
Did you know that many of our animals, especially bison, are grazed on certified bird-friendly pastures? Thanks to a special program developed by Audobon and the hard work of our Grazing Partners, we’re helping to ensure the protection of grassland birds.
Why is this important? Over the past half-century, the population of grassland birds has declined drastically due to the widespread development of North America’s grasslands. To combat the negative effects of grassland degradations — and to keep grass on the landscape — Audubon has developed the Conservation Ranching Initiative. This market-based conservation approach offers incentives for good grassland stewardship through a certification label on beef and bison products.
Learn more about Audobon’s Conservation Ranching Initiative here.
Looking to keep your diet and meats as clean as possible? All our animals are either 100% grassfed or grazed according to their natural habits – no added grains or feedlots. And because we don’t add any ingredients to our meats during processing (except for a few spices in our sausages and hot dogs, and snack sticks), our meats are Certified Paleo. So, eat up!
Learn more about Certified Paleo here.
As we mentioned above, this list is not exhaustive. As we continue to grow, we will continue to invest in certifications and partners that match and help elevate our standards. Have questions about any of the above? Feel free to reach out to our founder directly at sean.m.lenihan@thehonestbison.