Today’s consumers are more aware than ever before. They want to know where their food comes from, how it is raised, and that is safe and wholesome for the entire family. Consumers are attracted to words like natural, hormone-free and antibiotic-free, and the beef industry has responded with branded programs to meet consumers’ demands.
Although livestock producers have always made livestock care and handling their number one commitment, the methods they use have shifted due to some of the branded programs like “Verified Natural Beef” and “Certified Natural Beef.”
Fortunately for beef producers there are all-natural ways to keep cattle healthy while growing safe, healthy beef that is “natural” and will qualify for natural beef programs. The VitaFerm® Gain Smart® line is a vitamin and mineral line of supplements designed to maximize herd health and promote gain while backgrounding or running cattle on pasture. All Gain Smart products contain Amaferm®. Amaferm is a precision prebiotic designed to enhance digestibility by amplifying nutrient supply for maximum performance. It is research-proven to promote calf health and vigor and stimulate digestion and nutrient absorption of forage for optimum gain.
Today, producers are receiving added premiums for keeping their cattle healthy the “natural” way by enrolling them in one of several value-added programs available to them. Superior Livestock Auctions, a leader in livestock marketing, offers several value-added marketing programs to the producer. A partnership established in 2017 between Superior and BioZyme® Inc., resulted in the first two nutrition value-added programs, the VitaFerm Raised and VitaFerm Gain Smart programs. These programs document that calves being sold with the program emblems have been fed one of the two high-quality minerals.
“One of the main things [the buyers] look at is the health program cattle are on. Just as important is their nutrition program. If they have a good nutrition program, their health program will work twice as well. Buyers and sellers are actively looking for that as they recognize the value of it,” said Ty de Cordova, Superior Rep who believes in and promotes the value of a high-quality nutrition program.
Not only do the calves that sell on the Gain Smart program offer more value to the seller from a monetary stand-point, they can also help the seller stay eligible for other value-added programs because the mineral is keeping the cattle healthy, decreasing the need to ever medicate calves. For the Superior Certified-Natural program, the seller is stating the cattle have never received hormones, antibiotics or animal by-products. The Superior Verified-Natural program is a process verified program, audited by a third party where the cattle are free from antibiotics, growth promotants or any type of animal by-product.
“Where the Gain Smart program helps the most is with the verified-natural and certified-natural programs,” de Cordova said. “The verified-natural guys will be able to use the nutrition program to keep cattle in natural programs. And the feedlot guys will gravitate to the nutrition program because they know they’ll be receiving healthier cattle. The Vita Charge® Stress Tubs and Drench encourages calves to go straight to water, helps reduce stress and the need to doctor those calves. That keeps them in the natural programs.”
In an era where people know what they want, the VitaFerm Gain Smart mineral line is a win for all. It helps creates healthy calves that qualify for value-added programs for the producer, putting added dollars back into his or her program, the feeder gets to feed healthier calves that qualify for natural programs; and the consumer can rest assured that he or she is buying the safest, most delicious beef for their family. Gain Smart, it’s the smart choice when feeding cattle.