Pineland Farms Natural Meats is looking to buy between 150 and 200 head of cattle a month from North Country farmers and it's holding a meeting Friday to tell farmers about company requirements.
Kevin Woltemath, a procurement specialist for Pineland farms said the company is only interested in buying cows that conform to their "naturally raised" standards.
"The big keys are that they’ve never received an antibiotic, or a growth-promoting hormone, or an animal by-product in their feed," Woltemath said. "Those are the basic market-driven standards for the naturally raised program and what appears on our label."
Pineland Farms said they require all farmers who sell to them sign an affidavit stating their operations meet these basic standards.
Pineland’s biggest customer is the natural foods megachain Whole Foods, whose requirements for animal welfare are stricter. Woltemath said Whole Foods works with the organization Global Animal Partnership to make sure the standards are being met: "It is an audit program where an independent auditor would visit the farm to make sure they’re meeting the standards they’ve pledged to do."
Woltemath and a beef specialist from the Cornell cooperative extension will talk about what farmers need to do to meet Pineland and Whole Foods’ requirements and still make a profit.
The talk will take place at 7 p.m. Friday at the extension’s learning farm on Route 68 in Canton. Farmers who want to attend should pre-register by calling 315-379-9192.