Niman Ranch says it will add 750 independent family farmers and ranchers to its network over the next 10 years as it expands its commitment to sustainable agriculture and humane livestock practices.
In a press release, the Des Moines-based Niman Ranch said it took more than 20 years to reach its current roster of 720 farms and ranches that produce pork, beef, lamb and prepared products under the Niman Ranch brand. The company committed to supporting 1500 sustainable family farms in the next decade. The announcement will be followed by a recruitment effort to add additional farmers.
“It took us 20 years to get here and now we’ll double it in ten. We have the opportunity to break away from being captive to the commodity markets,” said Jeff Tripician, general manager, Niman Ranch. “We’ve always said, ‘One farmer at a time’ and that is and was a victory for every rural community. Now we’ll do more. The market is ready and there are farmers out there that are ready for the stability that a premium meat company like Niman Ranch can provide.”
The company has also pledged to launch a recruitment campaign and a program to attract young farmers, recent college graduates and military veterans interested in farming and ranching. Niman Ranch says it is currently paying independent family farmers approximately double the market and promising to do much more in the decade to come.
“In a time of depressed hog prices, tariffs, trade wars, and a slow outlook for hog futures, we are going to grow,” said Tripician. “Our market is stronger than ever, our customers are more committed than they have ever been, and we must keep up with consumer demand.”
Niman Ranch began hog production in 1995 with one farmer, Paul Willis, from Thornton, IA. Since that time the company has expanded to 629 hog farmers in 12 states. Today, the Niman Ranch farmer is significantly younger than the national average. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that the average age of farmers has steadily increased to 58-years old over the last 30 years, contrary to the Niman Ranch farmer’s average age of 47.
Niman Ranch pork is third-party certified under the Certified Humane® program and from hogs raised by a community of independent U.S. family hog farmers who adhere to some of the strictest animal welfare protocols in the industry, including:
No antibiotics - EVER
No gestation or farrowing crates
Raised outside or deeply bedded pens
Never fed animal by-products
Niman Ranch products are available nationally.