How We Raise Our Beef

The cattle fed and finished at Harris Feeding Company spend approximately 70 to 80% of the time grazing on western ranches. Cattle move from ranchlands to Harris Feeding Company after being grass raised for about 16-24 months.

Nearly 90% of American cattle ranches are family-owned and operated.

Harris Ranch is proud to partner with progressive ranching families committed to humane livestock handling and sustainable production practices. Harris Ranch uses an independent, third-party to verify our compliance with the Beef Quality Assurance program and its animal care requirements.

Partnering for Quality

The western ranch families that supply beef to Harris Ranch are focused on producing a consistent, high-quality, consumer-driven product and meeting the strictest standards for:

  • Animal health and welfare
  • Economic sustainability
  • Environmental stewardship
  • Food safety
  • Genetic requirements
  • Quality specifications

Sustainable Ranching Practices

Raising cattle and environmental stewardship go hand-in-hand.

For Harris Ranch, 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.

To ensure the land will provide for future generations, Harris Ranch not only focuses on the wellbeing of our livestock, but also on maintaining natural resources.

Cattle serve a valuable role in the ecosystem by converting forages humans cannot consume into a nutrient dense food.

An estimated 85% of U.S. grazing land is unsuitable for producing crops. Grazing cattle on this land more than doubles the area that can be used to produce food.

Grass-fed for most of the time, cattle at Harris Feeding Company transition to a nutritionally balanced diet of corn and other feed grains for about 120 days. Due to increased feeding efficiencies, beef produced in feedlots has a smaller carbon footprint than beef raised exclusively on grass.

Corn-fed beef is the most flavorful, tender and juicy beef available.

Learn more about grass-fed vs. grain-fed beef.

Feeding Practices

Covering over 800 acres, Harris Feeding Company can finish up to 120,000 head of cattle at one time.

Our large pens ensure all cattle have good access to feed bunkers and clean, fresh water. We routinely scrape pens and compost waste material for use in local farming operations.

Grain-based diet

Harris Feeding Company purchases Midwestern corn by the trainload to serve as the basis for our nutritionally balanced and scientifically formulated feed ration, which also includes locally grown feed. We mill all our own feed under the guidance of a consulting animal nutritionist.

We add lactobacillus acidophilus—the good bacteria used to make yogurt—to our feed. It’s a natural way to improve the overall digestive health of our cattle, bolster their immune systems and keep disease—and antibiotic use—to a minimum.

All cattle receive supplemental vitamin E. A daily dose of 500 IU helps our beef hold color, adding 12-24 hours of shelf life depending on the cut of beef.

We routinely test all feed ingredients to ensure no unwanted pesticide residues are present.

Our cattle rations have never contained animal proteins, and they never will.

Cattle remain on our grain-based diet for about 120 days or until they reach a finished weight of approximately 1,250 pounds.

Meticulous attention to feeding practices helps ensure that Harris Ranch beef is the most flavorful, tender and juicy beef available.

Humane Handling Practices

Harris Ranch livestock handling facilities have been designed with input from Dr. Temple Grandin, a world-renowned expert in animal welfare. Dr. Grandin also assisted in training our staff on proper livestock handling techniques.

Harris Ranch takes exceptional care to ensure the wellbeing of our cattle—all in an effort to reduce stress and enhance cattle performance.

Shaded pens and an automated sprinkler system help reduce dust and cool cattle during warm summer months.

Cattle health is evaluated daily—rain or shine—by Harris Ranch cowboys, who ride through each and every pen—just as they have done since our founding.

Cattle requiring treatment are:

  • Moved to hospital pens
  • Individually identified and complete medical records developed
  • Managed with strict adherence to health product withdrawal periods

Harris Ranch has stringent policies regarding use of antibiotics. We test finished beef for antibiotic residues above USDA standards.

State-of-the-art Beef Processing

In recent years, Harris Ranch invested more than $90 million into facility upgrades, making Harris Ranch Beef Company one of the most advanced plants in the nation. This expansion enabled us to increase processing capacity to between 1,050 and 1,150 head of cattle per day in a single shift.

Our state-of-the-art harvest floor incorporates the latest technologies in sanitary dressing and improved ergonomics throughout the facility.

Our carcass coolers allow for superior cold chain management and our electronic carcass-grading camera provides consistent carcass grading results.

Refrigeration units circulate chilled air at high velocities in conjunction with spray-chill application to chill hot beef carcasses. After initial chill, carcasses are staged under refrigeration until transfer to the refrigerated Fabrication floor.

Carcasses are processed into finished subprimal products and are vacuum packaged and boxed, also under refrigeration. Sealed cases are transferred to the refrigerated Boxed Warehouse until shipment in a temperature-controlled trailer that has been pre-chilled prior to loading.

Throughout the production, packing, and storage process, environmental room temperatures are electronically monitored with alarm thresholds to notify pertinent personnel if temperatures are out of range.

Harris Ranch owns and operates a fleet of tractors and trailers. We recently upgraded a large portion of our fleet to liquefied natural gas, making them near-zero-emission vehicles. All trailers leaving our processing facility are equipped to electronically monitor temperatures and send automatic alerts if a threshold is exceeded.

Download our commitment to animal welfare.