TRIPLE L LIVESTOCK
Clean, lean, local beef
Raised in a way that honors our values of conserving Montana’s small family ranching heritage, and conserving the land and water resources upon which our cattle and communities depend.
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We strive to maximize health benefits (for the animals, people and the environment) without sacrificing flavor.
Our animals are raised on private grasslands west of Missoula, all of which are under a permanent conservation easement that ensures they will not be subdivided or developed, and will remain open space in perpetuity. These lands have been in agriculture since they were homesteaded in the mid-1800s.
Our cattle graze freely, rotating pastures regularly throughout the summer and fall. In winter, they eat home-raised hay that we harvest from the ranch. For 6-8 weeks before slaughter, we supplement their diet with a little bit of locally-raised, non-GMO barley. This touch of grain helps to change the flavor profile, reducing the "grassy" or "gamey" flavor of purely grass-finished meat, without substantially changing the total and saturated fat content.
We do not use growth hormones or routine antibiotics* for any of our cattle.
Conventional methods of raising beef involve feeding very high-protein products such as corn, and "pushing" cattle to gain mass as quickly as possible. In order for the calves to grow quickly, they are typically injected with growth hormones and kept on antibiotics to keep them healthy in feed confined feedlots where everything from the livestock to the feed is trucked many miles. While some of our calves do end up being sold to feeders and go into conventional markets, the animals we are able to sell locally experience a different lifestyle.
* if an animal develops an infection, we believe the humane thing to do is to treat the animal with antibiotics, if needed. However, we do not put that animal into our local meat program.
Navigating the different labels and descriptors for beef can be tricky. Here are some basic definitions, and more info about our beef:
Natural – minimally processed and free of additives such as preservatives, artificial flavors or colors. Producers may also use the term to mean produced without hormones or antibiotics. Natural beef may have been raised in a feedlot and have been fed various grains and products. The USDA
does not strictly define natural beef.
Our beef is natural, nothing added, and not treated with hormones or antibiotics.
Grassfed – has been raised on grass and hay without cereal grains. Almost all cattle begin their lives on grass. Conventionally, they are then “finished” in a feedlot for 120-200 days on grain. However, much like the term “natural”, the USDA does not regulate the use of “grassfed” labeling, and thus the animal may have been grass-fed and then corn-finished, etc.
Triple L beef is grass-fed, but not conventionally finished. Our cattle are raised on private grasslands west of Missoula, MT, all of which are under a permenent conservation easement that precludes subdivision and development, protecting their agricultural and ecological value in perpetuity.
Grass-finished – has spent its entire life on grass without added grain. The USDA does not regulate the use of “grass-finished” labeling.
Triple L beef is not grass-finished. We prefer (and think you will, too) the taste of beef that's been given a small supplement of barley (~15% of their daily diet) for about 45 days before slaughter.
Organic – certified by the USDA not to contain any chemicals, such as pesticides or herbicides. This means that all of the cattle feed (grain or grass) must be certified organic as well. Organic does not indicate what types of feed the animals have eaten.
Our beef is not organic, because we do have to treat some noxious weeds with herbicides to keep our pastures from becoming overrun with weeds. While we try to minimize chemical use, and seek biocontrols, hand-pulling, and other methods for weed management, sometimes chemicals are the best choice. We adhere to guidance for time til safe to graze after chemical application.