For over 50 years, Harris Ranch has continually strived to produce the highest quality beef in the world. Through the years we effectively built a uniquely integrated beef production system where cattle are sourced, fed and humanely processed exclusively by Harris Ranch. This functional integration is unique in the beef industry where few beef companies other than Harris Ranch can claim they control all aspects of production. We offer the advantage of a single source of production because our cattle are fed in a single location and harvested in a single, company-owned facility. The Harris family has always taken great pride in raising world class beef that’s as pure and great tasting as nature intended. This tradition of quality is evident in all of our beef products – you can truly taste the difference.
Innovation and Stewardship
At Harris Ranch, we rely on the quality of our products and continuing innovation to remain competitive in the beef industry. It is these principles that drove us to create one of the first branded beef programs in the country in 1982. This spirit of innovation also led Harris Ranch to pioneer the development of heat and serve beef entrees that allow consumers to enjoy home-style beef entrees in minutes. More recently, we launched an extensive line of both fresh and frozen ground beef products for retail and foodservice customers as well as complete deli meat production capabilities. Through it all, we have remained focused on producing the highest quality products available.
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One of the true strengths of Harris Ranch are the long-standing cow-calf producer relationships we have developed over the years. One of the reasons Harris Ranch beef is superior to other beef is because we’re involved from the ranch to the table. While other beef companies receive cattle from a variety of far-flung ranchers and feedlots with varying quality control standards, Harris Ranch procures cattle from progressive ranching families with whom we have long standing relationships. Many of these families are part of our “Partnership for Quality” (PQ) Program who raise cattle in accordance with our strict quality standards and also meet rigorous genetic requirements.
The guiding principal behind the program is the creation of “a partnership between Harris Ranch and progressive producers, who are strongly focused on the production of a consistent, high quality, consumer driven product, with the strictest standards for food safety, environmental stewardship, economic sustainability and animal welfare.” Through this program, Harris Ranch is able to source and age verify an increasing number of cattle every year and we are able to control the quality of our beef from the ranch all the way to the consumer.
Far from being “factory farms”, our network of ranching families are committed to sustainable production practices as well as humane livestock handling. It is estimated that 85% of U.S. grazing lands are unsuitable for producing crops. Grazing cattle on this land more than doubles the area that can be used to produce food. Cattle serve a valuable role in the ecosystem by converting forages humans cannot consume into a nutrient dense food. Harris Ranch works with hundreds of ranching families throughout the west. Nationwide it is estimated that nearly 90% of the cattle ranches are family owned and operated. Of those approximately two thirds have been under the same family ownership for two generations or more. By working with Harris Ranch to market the cattle they raise, these families stay economically sustainable and are able to remain on the land.
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Sustainable Ranching Practices
Harris Ranch believes that raising cattle and environmental stewardship go hand-in-hand. For us, as well as our ranching partners, the land is not just where we raise our cattle, it’s also where we raise our families. We have a personal stake in the quality of the environment and are always looking for ways to improve it. For those that raise cattle, sustainability means ensuring the land will provide for the next generation by focusing on the well-being of not only our livestock but also by maintaining the natural resources of the land.
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The cattle used to produce Harris Ranch beef spend approximately 80% of the time grazing on western ranches before arriving at Harris Feeding Company in Central California at 16-24 months of age. Harris Ranch is one of just a few companies in the country that produces beef exclusively from cattle fed in our own feedlot. This is one more example of how we control all aspects of production. All cattle are fed in large, well-maintained outdoor pens.
Since corn-fed beef is the most flavorful, tender and juicy beef available, Harris Feeding Company purchases Midwestern corn by the trainload to serve as the basis for our nutritionally balanced and scientifically formulated feed ration. In addition to steamed corn and other feed grains, our ration also includes alfalfa hay, vitamins and minerals. We mill all of our own feeds under the guidance of a consulting animal nutritionist and we routinely test all feed ingredients to ensure no unwanted pesticide residues are present. Furthermore, Harris Ranch has never fed any rendered animal proteins. Covering over 800 acres, our feeding operation can finish up to 120,000 head of cattle at one time but due to our size overcrowding is avoided and all cattle have good access to feed bunkers as well as clean, fresh water. Many of our customers are surprised to learn that beef produced in feedlots actually has a smaller carbon footprint than beef raised exclusively on grasses due to increased feeding efficiencies.
Cattle remain on our grain based diet for about 120 days or until they reach a finished weight of approximately 1,250 pounds. Our meticulous attention to feeding practices helps ensure that Harris Ranch beef is the most flavorful, tender and juicy beef available.
To get the facts and learn more about grain and grass fed beef, click here.
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Harris Ranch takes exceptional care to ensure the well-being of our cattle at all stages of production. Livestock welfare practices at our feeding operation include shaded pens as well as an automated sprinkler system that reduces dust and helps cool cattle during warm summer months – all in an effort to reduce stress and enhance cattle performance. We also routinely scrape pens and compost waste material for use in our farming operation.
Livestock handling facilities have been designed with input from Dr. Temple Grandin, a world-renowned expert in animal welfare, who has also assisted in training our staff on proper livestock handling techniques. Finally, cattle health is evaluated daily – rain or shine – by Harris Ranch cowboys riding through each and every pen – just as they have done since our founding.
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Harris Ranch Position Statement
Antibiotic & Hormone Use in Beef Production
At Harris Feeding Company we believe antibiotics are an important tool in veterinary medicine and we believe they must be used carefully to ensure their continued effectiveness. We use antibiotics at our feedlot when necessary to maintain the health and well-being of cattle in our care. We strongly believe that limiting or denying these life-saving products to livestock who need them is inhumane. Just like children that become sick and need medical attention, we administer antibiotics to sick livestock in order to make them well again. To do otherwise would only result in unnecessary pain, discomfort, and possible death for the animals in our care.
Antibiotics are only used under the direction of our veterinarian and withdrawal periods, the interval between when the antibiotic is administered and the time the animal is harvested, are strictly followed to ensure no antibiotic residues are present in the animal at the time of slaughter. Harris Ranch does not feed medically important antibiotics used in human medicine to cattle. Antibiotics are only used in a therapeutic manner in order to treat cattle that are ill and require medical attention.
All antibiotics that our veterinarian prescribes are approved for use in beef cattle by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Decades of research have shown these products to be safe to use in food animal production. And in order to provide an added level of food safety assurance, Harris Ranch Beef Company conducts random in-house tests for antibiotic residues in finished meat products. The frequency of our testing exceeds that which is conducted by the USDA’s Food Safety Inspection Service.
Growth promotants, some of which are naturally occurring hormones such as estrogen, are commonly given in small doses to cattle to promote growth of muscle and reduce fat deposits. These growth promoting hormones have been in use in conventional livestock production for over 50 years and are regulated and monitored carefully. They have been proven safe by scientists all over the world including the World Health Organization/Food and Agriculture Organization (WHO/FAO).
Hormone use in beef production means more beef can be produced from fewer cattle and on less land and therefore is part of a broader commitment to sustainable agricultural practices. That’s because hormone use reduces the land required to produce a pound of beef by 67 percent. Growth promotants, if administered, are metabolized (used by the body) before the cattle go to slaughter.
It is important to realize that all living things contain hormones which are measured in terms of nanograms (ng) – one billionth of a gram. Estrogen is naturally produced by the human body at levels that far exceed what is found in beef as well as many other foods we consume daily. In fact, an adult male produces 136,000 ng of estrogen hormone daily and an adult female produces 480,000 ng of estrogen each day. Millions of women routinely take birth control pills with no verified increase in risk of cancer due to the ingestion of these small doses of estrogen. It is worthy to note that a non-pregnant female can ingest the same amount of estrogen either by taking one birth control pill or by eating 18,421 three-ounce steaks from cattle that had been given a growth promotant.
Harris Ranch does not make a “no hormone” claim because not all of our cattle are source-verified back to the ranch where they were raised. While we don’t know for certain if a growth promotant was administered, their use is fairly common in conventional beef production. What we can say with certainty, however, is at the point of consumption there is virtually no difference in the hormonal content of beef from implanted versus non-implanted cattle. A three-ounce serving of beef from a non-implanted steer contains 1.3 nanograms of estrogen hormone compared to 1.9 nanograms found in the same size steak from a beef animal that had received a growth promotant. Because many foods we eat every day and think nothing about (milk, potatoes, peas, ice cream, cabbage, etc.) contain much more estrogen than beef, you can feel confident it’s OK to relax and enjoy your favorite cut of Harris Ranch beef knowing you are consuming a nutrient dense food that is also delicious.
For more information on hormonal levels our bodies naturally produce, as well as estrogen levels naturally found in many common foods, click here.
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Once cattle reach optimum weight and quality, harvesting takes place at Harris Ranch Beef Company also located in Central California not far from our feeding operation. Because of this close proximity, cattle are not subjected to stressful conditions associated with long rides in trailers. Deliveries of cattle to our processing plant are staged throughout the day to eliminate the added stress of maintaining a large, crowded herd of cattle at the processing plant.
By owning our own cattle processing facility we complete our functionally integrated, “closed loop” production system. Our recently completed state-of-the-art harvest facility, designed with input from Dr. Temple Grandin, incorporates the latest technologies in sanitary dressing and ergonomics throughout. Food safety improvements have been incorporated into all aspects of our operation making Harris Ranch Beef company one of the most advanced plants in the nation. Our facility has USDA inspectors on site each day and all of our beef is USDA inspected and certified by Harris Ranch to be of premium quality. We also employ a large Quality Assurance staff to help make sure quality standards are upheld and all products are produced in accordance with our customers’ specifications. The use of a new electronic beef grading camera improves grading consistency helping make Harris Ranch Beef Company an industry leader.
Our beef division annually produces and markets in excess of 300 million lbs. of beef making us the largest integrated fed beef operation in California. Harris Ranch beef is sold to supermarkets and warehouse outlets from the Rocky Mountains west, through foodservice distributors strategically located across the country plus export markets including Canada, Mexico, several South American countries plus far east nations such as South Korea, Japan, Thailand and Indonesia to name but a few.
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Harris Ranch utilizes the most advanced food safety technology and practices available and is always striving to update and improve our facility. Our processing facility is USDA inspected and follows strict sanitation and food safety practices. The Harris Ranch HACCP intervention program employs the use of multiple-hurdles technologies at both the production and processing levels. We continually receive exceptional marks by third-party auditors in all areas of production. In fact, our recent audit by the internationally recognized British Retail Consortium (BRC) awarded Harris Ranch an AA rating – the highest rating possible.
Nowhere is our commitment to quality more evident than in our ground beef operation. Harris Ranch ground beef is produced from cattle that have been finished at our own feeding operation. Ground beef raw materials are sourced directly from our fabrication room each day ensuring maximum freshness. Harris Ranch takes an aggressive approach to ensure food safety by testing single bin sub lots consisting of up to 2,500 lbs. of raw material which are kept on hold prior to grinding until negative lab results are received. We also conduct testing of finished ground beef products and all finished grind remains on hold under Harris Ranch control until a second round of negative results are received.
Throughout the entire process, Harris Ranch Beef Company works hard to ensure that every aspect of our production is directed toward producing quality beef and upholding the integrity of the Harris Ranch brand. We have worked hard to establish the Harris Ranch brand as the finest beef available. In fact, our name is so important to us we back it up with a satisfaction guarantee. It is this simple, cowboy philosophy of working for the “brand” that has made the name Harris Ranch synonymous with traditional values of quality, commitment, honesty and exceptional customer service.
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A Showcase For Quality
Probably no other diversified agribusiness, and certainly no other beef marketer, can offer a showcase for farm-raised produce and premium beef similar to our legendary Harris Ranch Inn & Restaurant. Designed as an early California-style hacienda, the traveler’s oasis known as Harris Ranch has become an internationally known showcase for our homegrown beef, fruits, vegetables and nut crops. Conveniently located in the heart of California, this treasured landmark is both a drive-in and fly-in destination. Guests can choose from several different dining rooms, each featuring its own distinct style. Plus, our Country Store features freshly baked pastries and our tender, aged Harris Ranch beef packed fresh for travel. A large conference and meeting space, plus 153 well-appointed hotel rooms and suites, round out our luxurious facility that has gained a reputation for excellent food, superior service, relaxing amenities and beautifully landscaped grounds.
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The farming division now produces over 35 different commodities annually including asparagus, cotton, lettuce, tomatoes, garlic, onions, melons, oranges, lemons, olives, almonds, pistachios, walnuts and wine grapes. Many of these crops are seasonally featured at Harris Ranch Restaurant in dozens of unique and creative menu offerings. Harris Fresh, a division of Harris Farms, offers a full line of onions including the legendary Harris Ranch Sweet Onion plus an extensive selection of garlic products and an ever expanding line of organic vegetables.
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Harris Farms Horse Division
Established in 1966, Harris Farms Horse Division is devoted to the raising and training of thoroughbred racehorses. Combining high technology with old fashioned horsemanship, Harris Farms is dedicated to the development of productive racehorses and has a proven track record of producing winning thoroughbreds. In fact, California Chrome, although not owned by Harris Farms, was born and raised here and went on to become the winner of the 2014 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. More recently he was the winner of the 2016 Dubai World Cup which made him the all-time North American horse in earnings won.
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