What is natural pasture-raised meat?
Wild pasture meat is meat obtained from animals grazing freely on natural pastures, such as cattle and sheep, for part of the year.
What is natural pasture?
The criteria of the association classify as natural pastures both traditional biotopes, i.e. grasslands and meadows outside fields, leafy meadows, wood pastures, wooded pastures and heaths, and other areas outside fields that are specifically defined as natural pastures. These include Natura 2000 sites or other nature reserves (other than arable land where grazing does not harm the site), field woodland, field margins, heritage sites (where grazing does not harm the site), habitats of endangered species (where grazing is not detrimental to the site), protection zone contract parcels and fields that have not been fertilised for more than 5 years (up to half of the natural pasture area should be of this type), off-field wetland and watercourse banks and forests.
What are traditional biotopes?
Traditional biotopes are among the most threatened habitat types in Finland (e.g. meadows, grasslands, forest pastures, wooded pastures, wooded fields), which cannot survive without continuous management. They are uncultivated, uncultivated and unfertilised areas outside the field, maintained and shaped mainly by mowing and grazing. A quarter of our endangered species are totally dependent on grasslands and pastures. The rich biodiversity of traditional biotopes dates back to the post-glacial steppe and other natural grasslands.
Today, only a fraction of traditional biotopes remain and their loss would be a great loss for all of us. Grazing is the most important means of conserving traditional biotopes and the species that depend on them.
Is my farm too small for natural pasture meat production?
All spaces are welcome. The aim is to increase the number of managed natural pastures and even small sites are important.
Can my animals eat feed other than natural pasture during the grazing season?
Yes, they can. However, more than half of the grazing of animals in organic pasture must be natural pasture. Natural pastures do not provide supplementary food, but eat only the natural vegetation that grows on the natural pasture.
What are the criteria for the production of organic pasture meat?
The criteria mainly concern the implementation of grazing. For example, more than half of the pastures used for the production of organic pasture meat must be natural pasture. The criteria can be found on the association’s homepage. The criteria are based on the criteria for the production of organic pasture meat in Finland developed by WWF Finland in cooperation with stakeholders in 2013. The aim of the criteria is to increase the number of threatened traditional biotopes through common rules. You can find the criteria here.
What does membership cost?
- To become a full member, you must meet our criteria as a producer of organic pasture meat (see the criteria at the bottom of this page). The membership fee for full members is EUR 50 per year. Members will receive a description of their farm on our website, with pictures, and a direct link to their online shop if they wish.
- Supporting members are all friends of natural pastures who want to support our activities and thus be involved in supporting the valuable work of natural pastures. The annual fee for sustaining members is EUR 50 per year.
- Donor/partner. If you would like to support our association by making a one-off donation or if you would like to work with us, please feel free to contact us by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
How can I become a member of the association?
By sending an email to email@example.com
In the return mail you will receive a membership form, by filling it in you commit to produce organic pasture-raised meat according to the criteria.
What are the benefits of joining the association?
The purpose of the association is to bring together the producers of natural pasture meat in Finland, to safeguard their interests. The aim is to bring organic pasture-raised meat into the public debate and to raise awareness among consumers. The association markets organic pasture-raised meat through joint activities and campaigns. The aim is to communicate the many positive aspects of organic pasture-raised meat and at the same time increase its availability to consumers through various means. The Producers’ Association also aims to promote the management of endangered traditional biotopes and to increase producers’ skills through joint training. The association also organises other events to promote networking among producers and the exchange of information and experience.
Where can I find a farm near me that produces organic pasture-raised meat?
Follow this link to find farms producing organic pasture-raised meat. The website provides a presentation of farms by province and farm visits allow you to get to know the farm and the producers better.
How can I support the association’s activities?
By buying organic pasture meat and becoming a supporting member of the association.
The annual fee for a sustaining member is 50 €/person.
If you would like to discuss other forms of cooperation or make a one-off donation to the association, please send us a message: firstname.lastname@example.org
How does the production of organic pasture meat contribute to biodiversity?
Natural grasslands are some of our richest habitats and are home to many endangered species. Without grazing or mowing, traditional biotopes and other natural pastures will become grassy and wooded after only a few years of unmanaged use. Grazing reduces nutrients and large plant species and makes room for more demanding insectivorous species. Not only plants but also many insects need traditional habitats and grazing in coastal meadows is vital for many bird species. The dung of grazing animals also adds diversity and, for example, dung beetles are totally dependent on it. The continuous vegetation cover of natural grasslands also increases biodiversity below the surface, in the soil. Grazing not only maintains species in traditional biotopes, but also increases biodiversity in other areas.
Can we save traditional biotopes without cattle?
It would be virtually impossible to maintain traditional biotopes without livestock. Currently, there are around 32 000 ha of traditional biotopes under management, most of which are managed through grazing. The aim would be to bring an additional 15 000 to 30 000 ha under management to ensure that the management of traditional biotopes is at a sustainable level for species and habitats. Without grazing livestock, it is almost impossible to achieve the target on such large areas, as mowing and especially harvesting of mowing residues is labour intensive.
Natural pasture meat and climate change?
Organic pasture-raised meat is part of every consumer’s diet – less meat, but better. Grazing animals use areas outside fields to convert grass and hay that are not fit for human consumption into high-quality protein. Natural pastures will not be modified or drained. Continuous crop cover maintains soil carbon stocks and increases carbon sequestration. Good pasture rotation can enhance carbon sequestration. Natural pastures must not be fertilised, thus reducing the amount of fertilisers used, the energy used to produce which causes carbon dioxide emissions. In addition, on a farm producing natural pasture meat, the cattle are fed on grass during the winter. Grass is at its best as a carbon sink and store. The better the grass grows, the better it sequesters carbon. Carbon sequestration can be influenced by farming practices such as mowing height, timing, diverse grass mixtures and good grazing rotation.