Home-Grown Pride – Certified!

home-grown pride certified

Many U.S. farmers and ranchers raise their livestock and crops entirely on U.S. soil, but today’s globalized agricultural markets can make it hard for customers to realize that, much less select those products. New labeling programs now make it easier for home-grown farm products to stand out on supermarket shelves, letting both growers and shoppers take pride in certified U.S.-raised foods.

First, the USDA recently issued its final “Product of USA” rule, spelling out exactly how meat, poultry, and egg products have to be produced to qualify for that label, or one reading, “Made in the USA.”

For years, customers buying products bearing those labels have assumed that the animals that produced them were born, raised, and slaughtered in the United States – but that often hasn’t been the case.

Up to now, meat from an animal raised outside the U.S. but slaughtered at a U.S. plant – or even slaughtered elsewhere, but packaged in the U.S. – could be labeled, “Product of USA.” The new, final rule is changed to match the common-sense perception: all stages of production have to take place in the U.S. for the product to bear that label.

Orchestrating a similar effort in the private sector, American Farmland Trust has just launched a new certification program called U.S. Farmed.” Products with at least 95 percent of their agricultural ingredients coming from farms in the United States can qualify for the seal.

In keeping with its larger mission of protecting farmland, AFT will use the fees charged for the certification to fund programs to provide U.S. farmers and ranchers with free resources and advice to help them access, protect, and maintain U.S. agricultural land.

Anheuser-Busch is the first company to adopt the U.S. Farmed certification. The seal should be appearing soon on several of its beer brands.

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