In 2001, a group of long-time family ranchers and rangeland conservationists in Northern California came together to produce a grass-fed beef that is healthy, humane for cattle and easy on the environment. They pooled their resources, wrote a business plan, and created Western Grasslands, Inc. As the company grew, the group made the decision to change its name in 2006 to Panorama Meats, Inc., now the nation’s largest producer of 100 percent grass-fed and grass-finished organic beef.
Today, Panorama’s participating family ranchers span eight states and hundreds of thousands of acres of USDA Certified Organic grasslands in Northern California, Southern Oregon, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, North Dakota, South Dakota, Arizona, New Mexico, Nebraska and Colorado. Their cattle are raised on lush green pastures that feature a cow’s favorite foods—natural grasses, legumes and range forage. Panorama beef is sold to grocery stores in California, Washington, Oregon, Texas, Colorado, Utah, Kansas and New Mexico.
In addition to a steady diet of the foods they were designed by nature to eat, Panorama’s cattle live the way cattle were meant to live. They are never implanted with hormones, fed animal byproducts or treated with antibiotics. They enjoy room to roam, and graze on grass and forages at their leisure, not according to a schedule. Panorama cattle are always treated with respect and handled humanely.
The correct diet, combined with low-stress, humane living conditions, enable Panorama’s ranchers to raise the most flavorful and tender grass-fed beef in the country. Panorama’s beef has a bigger, beefier flavor than conventionally raised, grain-fed beef. The company’s dedication to English genetics means its steaks are juicy, tasty, tender and evenly marbled. Its ground beef is naturally lean and flavorful.
Ranchers as Conservationists
The mission of Panorama Meats is grounded in its belief that precious rangelands must be protected and preserved for future generations. All Panorama ranchers are engaged in active conservation efforts, and many of them have been recognized locally and nationally for rangeland stewardship.
Panorama Meats founding ranch Leavitt Lake Ranches, owned and operated by Darrell Wood and his family, was awarded the 2010 California Beef Cattle Improvement Association’s Outstanding Seedstock and Commercial Producer of the Year Award and the 2009 National Environmental Stewardship Award from the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA). Wood also was one of three recipients of the 2006 National Wetlands Conservation Award from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Another Panorama founding ranch, Yolo Land & Cattle Company, received the 2008 Environmental Stewardship Award from the NCBA.
The California Rangeland Trust (CRT) has partnered with Panorama Meats in a joint effort to support the long-term conservation of California’s rangelands. Panorama supports CRT’s goals by donating a portion of the proceeds from the sale of all Panorama Organic Grass-Fed Beef sold in California to assist the organization’s ongoing work to place conservation easements on working cattle ranches.
100 Percent Grass-Fed and Organic
To achieve organic certification of grasslands, landowners must prove their land has not been treated with synthetic pesticides and herbicides or other chemicals for at least three years. Most Panorama rangelands are owned or leased by multi-generation ranching families that have been stewards of the same land for generations.
Panorama’s participating ranchers employ pasture rotation and land-management practices that promote animal health and protect delicate rangeland ecosystems. Their ranching methods and animal-handling practices are verified by Panorama through regular inspections.
All Panorama cattle are raised in compliance with the Born and Raised in the USA® verification program. All Panorama cattle must be born and raised in the United States and never implanted with hormones, fed animal by-products or treated with antibiotics. Panorama’s 100 percent grass-fed and grass-finished organic cattle graze on organic pastures and are processed in plants that are certified organic by the USDA-accredited certifying agency California Certified Organic Farmers.
Economic Opportunities for Family Ranchers
Grass-fed beef ranchers can take advantage of Panorama’s strong retail presence to realize a premium price and a guaranteed market for their beef, Panorama handles all the processing, marketing and merchandising to the consumer, allowing family ranchers to focus on ranching.
Panorama also has systems in place for helping family ranchers meet requirements for USDA Certified Organic status.
“Panorama’s mission is to help family ranchers make organic grass-fed and finished cattle ranching a viable economic strategy,” said Mack Graves, CEO of Panorama Meats. “We are also committed to helping our rancher partners employ systems to protect delicate rangelands for future generations.”
In June 2010, Panorama unveiled a new North Bay Super-local Beef program that brings Panorama beef raised on its Marin County, Napa County and Sonoma County ranches directly to Whole Foods stores in those three counties. Panorama is working to develop similar programs involving its family ranchers in other parts of the country.
In May 2010, Panorama partnered with Wellshire Farms of Swedesboro, N.J., to produce a line of organic grass-fed beef hot dogs exclusively for Whole Foods Markets. The hot dogs were introduced under the Wellshire Farms label in Whole Foods’ 31 Northern California stores, and will eventually be available to other Whole Foods stores throughout the U.S.