What Does It Mean To Be Certified Organic?
The USDA’s National Organic Program is the country’s most widely utilized and recognized, and it’s the program through which organic Smart Chicken® is certified. Organic certification is obtained by producers and involves the implementation of and ongoing compliance with a number of standards and practices. To maintain certified organic status, our physical facilities, and our books and records, are regularly audited by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship, an agency of the state of Iowa and an authorized certifier under the National Organic Program. Here’s a look at how our organic birds are raised.
Chickens labeled certified organic must be raised on a certified organic, non-GMO diet that does not contain animal by-products or antibiotics. The feed provided to certified organic Smart Chickens consists of a blend of certified organic, certified GMOfree corn and certified organic, certified GMO-free soybean meal plus supplemental vitamins and minerals. All organic grains are also verified GMO-free by the Non-GMO Project. Being GMO-free, however, is only one of many standards; certified organic grains used as feed for certified organic chickens must also be raised without the use of pesticides, herbicides, and synthetic fertilizers.
The National Organic Program also mandates that certified organic chickens be provided suitable shelter, resting areas, and enough space to participate in natural social behaviors such as perching, roosting, and dust bathing.Tecumseh Poultry barns provide that and more, which helps eliminate stress and creates a cleaner, healthier environment for the chickens. Our organic barns also offer state-of-the-art ventilation, moisture, and temperature control systems that mean the birds enjoy fresh, clean air and a warm, dry shelter at all times. Farmers care for the birds constantly, providing care and monitoring the wellbeing of the chickens around the clock to ensure that they are safe, comfortable, and healthy at all times.
USDA standards also require that certified organic chickens have access to the outdoors. At Tecumseh Poultry, this means that each organic barn is accompanied by an outdoor range space and open pastures, to which chickens have access as long as the weather does not pose a threat to their wellbeing.
Certified Organic Smart Chicken is also raised according to strict Humane Farm Animal Care (online at CertifiedHumane.org) standards for humane farm animal treatment. HFAC is an international non-profit certification organization supported by the ASPCA (American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) as well as over 65 other organizations dedicated to humane animal care and handling. Many standards for this additional certification overlap or coincide with the National Organic Program, including requirements for quality feed and space sufficient to support natural behaviors.
Smart Chicken also participates in humane animal handling practices that reduce stress on the birds, even as they are transitioned into processing. One such protocol involves catching chickens by hand, as opposed to using mechanical catching equipment that reduces stress on the animals. Chickens are caught individually, after dark, by trained handlers at a time when they are most calm.
In all, these standards add up to an altogether wholesome organic product that you can feel good about purchasing for your family.
Exceeding the Standards
USDA certified organic Smart Chickens not only meets the National Organic Program’s standards—it exceeds them. Here are a few examples of how Smart Chicken goes above and beyond:
Birds are raised on certified organic, certified non-GMO grains, that are verified GMO-free by an independent third party.
Birds are never given animal by-products, antibiotics, or artificial growth stimulants.
Smart Chickens’ in-house poultry nutritionist verifies that all metabolic requirements for chickens are met with natural feed sources.
Birds are provided shelter and space to participate in natural behaviors.
State-of-the-art climate-controlled barns create a comfortable environment.
Every product is Certified Humane by HFAC (Humane Farm Animal Care) standards.
Birds have Access to the outdoors, Open pastures, and outdoor range space (weather permitting).