The Prather Ranch has become a stellar example of a self-sustaining agricultural operation that promotes strong environmental philosophies, holistic management practices and the humane treatment of livestock. Those at the ranch understand that the first step is to be good stewards of the land, which includes caring for the soil, the water, the air, the cattle and those who work the land. Food safety and a superior tasting product is the primary goal of the ranch.
LivestockAll calves born on the Prather Ranch are identified at birth and that particular I.D. number follows them their entire life and is included on the package of beef sold to the customer. This allows for incredible traceability, a unique feature of the Prather Ranch operation as compared to other industry standards. The calves are born on the open range and allowed to experience natural animal behaviors. Any vaccinations are documented and recorded on the ranch’s sophisticated computer program, which tracks each individual animal.
All documentation on each animal is recorded and protocols are stringently followed to meet the USDA’s requirement for organic certification. Similar record keeping takes place on the natural herd. Audits are a regular occurrence for the ranch. The ranch welcomes audits on an annual basis from California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF), Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC), and various national and international agencies that audit pharmaceuticals/bio-medical device companies’ source material.
There are two herds (natural and organic) that are raised separately, but very similarly. The ranch averages 3,500-4,000 animals on the various ranch locations during the year, with a harvest average of about 1,100 animals each year. The cows and calves graze in the mountain areas of Macdoel and Fall River in the summer months and spend their winters in the northern Sacramento Valley on winter ranges eating green grass. With this practice, the cattle do not have to experience the harsh winter conditions in the mountains when it is cold and snowy and are enjoying much cooler weather in the summer months grazing on lush pastures in the mountains.
Of the utmost importance to the ranch and its customers is the “Certified Humane” label. This certification ensures low stress cattle handling, provides open pastures and expansive grazing land to reinforce natural animal behaviors. The ranch follows a respectful and humane harvest process to ensure the highest quality of life for the cattle.
Our animals are born and raised on certified organic pastures. For organic pasture production, no synthetic herbicide and pesticides have been applied to the pasture for a minimum of three years. The cattle are finished on a diet of chopped forage, barley and rice. We never feed corn to the cattle.
LandPrather Ranch operates on approximately 40,000 acres in five north state counties. In the ranch’s continued desire to preserve and maintain working ranches, over 50% of the land utilized by the ranch is encumbered by a conservation easement. This enables the management decisions to be made with a long-term focus, knowing that these properties will never be subdivided and will always be operated as grazing land for cattle.
AbattoirUndoubtedly the most unique feature about the Prather Ranch meat business is their on-site abattoir and meat processing facility where only Prather Ranch cattle have been harvested and packaged. The processing plant is USDA federally inspected and follows all USDA rules and regulations that apply. The packinghouse operates under its own unique food safety HACCP plan supervised by the USDA and other outside inspectors. It was built to hospital standards and the sanitation practices the ranch follows enables the process to be ultra clean and safe for food safety.