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Value Enhancement Programs



A preconditioning program is a period of time, typically a minimum of 45 days, in which a cow-calf producer will work to build the health status of the weaned calf prior to sale. Calves are also “bunk broke” during this time and acclimated to a dry feed diet. If calves are sold at the sale barn, sold via an internet auction, or sold to the same feedlot each year, premiums may be awarded to those producers who precondition their calves. - Meredith Bremer, Nebraska Extension Educator


Age/Source Verified

Beef export regulations have clearly defined the meaning of Age and Source Verification, as age and source claims must by documented and verified through a recognized USDA program.  These programs include the USDA Process Verified Program (PVP) or a USDA Quality System Assessment (QSA).


All Natural

The definition of “natural” within the context of beef production is more ambiguous than the definition of “organic.”  According to the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service, all fresh meat qualifies as “natural,” but beef that carries a “natural” label cannot contain any artificial flavors or flavorings, coloring ingredients, chemical preservatives, or other artificial or synthetic ingredients.  In addition, natural products must not be more than “minimally processed.”  Some companies promote their beef as “natural” by not exposing animals to antibiotics or growth-enhancing hormones and by finishing cattle in pastures rather than feedlots.



Cattle that have eaten nothing but grass and forage from weaning to harvest, have not been raised in confinement, and have never been fed antibiotics or growth hormones.

Websites of Interest 

Animal Health & Information