“Happy Cows make the best Whey” - AGN Roots Whey is sourced exclusively from farms certified Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) by A Greener World (AGW).
A Greener World's Animal Welfare Approved Certification is the only pasture-based animal welfare certification that covers the animal's ENTIRE LIFE.
AGN Roots Grass-fed Whey is the "1st & Only Animal Welfare Approved Protein Powder" to be certified by A Greener World!
This fact represents true north on our moral compass. We are proud to support and add critical mass to the movement sweeping the agricultural heart of our planet. So now when you see a product claim "100% Grass-fed" like so many do; you know there's only one certification that guarantees a life on pasture versus the last 90 days before being milk (Grassfed finished). Read More - The Myth of the "100% Grassfed Brands"
Introduction – AGW (A Greener World)
Let us introduce you to A Greener World. Although established in 2014, unless you are studying sustainable farming or working within the companies leading the effort, you may not be acquainted. Well, for the past 5 years, AGW has served as a beacon of positive change in agricultural transparency in your food. Here are some pertinent snippets from their mission statement:
- To identify and promote agricultural systems that have a positive impact on the environment, society and animals (wild and farmed)
- To educate consumers about the environmental, social and animal outcomes of their food purchasing decisions
- To establish and promote trusted farm certification programs that help reconnect the consumer and food producer by encouraging—and rewarding—positive farm management changes
- To support independent farmers who are committed to sustainable livestock production
Certified Grassfed Whey is Better than Organic -
It’s our goal at AGN Roots that the demand for products sourced from farms waving the AGW flag steadily increases. As of 2019, especially in the United States, most health-conscious adults can recognize a “USDA Organic” label a mile away. However, when it comes to cattle, what really matters to their health has little to do with “organic feeds or Organic Concentrates”. A happy cow whose physiological wellbeing is made a priority and whose diet consists of grass simply produces a quality of milk that far exceeds their organically grain-fed counterparts’. Read more about how happiness and protein quality is related here - Happy & Healthy Cows Make the Highest Quality Protein.
Have you ever wondered why or how farmers began introducing grain feeds for cows in the first place; with it being obvious that mother nature intended for all cattle to graze on grasslands, it certainly begs the inquiry. Well, the answer is in a different blog, but we can assure you, it wasn’t due to the evolution of cattle or for the benefit of their health. Read more about how the advent of a grain based diet became normalized here - Why is Grassfed Whey Better ?
Unfortunately, the minimum standards set by the USDA around the humane treatment of the animals and/or the requirement of their grain feed being sourced from organic sources does very little at the end of the day for you or the cow’s wellbeing. It is rather a bare minimum, one that generates market differentiation without producing health. The truth is, “perceived health” is easier and cheaper than working towards a massive paradigm shift towards much longer more sustainable solutions. AWA standards represent this shift and it's our hope that these will one day be considered everyday norms.
Tip for You #1: Protein Powders that claim “grass fed” without mention of their farms or accreditation are nothing more than “perceived health” marketing ploys.
Animal Welfare Approved (AWA) – Standards Matter!
A Greener World (AGW) represents the most rigorous standards for farm animal welfare and environmental sustainability across the globe. The basic premise of their standards is that animals must be able to behave naturally in their day-to-day lives while feeling physically and psychologically secure. AGW is recognized as the industry leader in auditing and certifying family farms that raise their animals sustainably, outdoors on pasture, while meeting or exceeding the highest welfare standards - AWA standards.
Did you Know - There is absolutely no fee associated with the program. The only way to become AWA certified by AGW is for a farm to objectively demonstrate this uncommon commitment to the care of their animals and land through the audit program executed by some of the most professional compliance auditors worldwide. The AWA (Approved Animal Welfare) seal is not for sale, but rather is a hard-earned badge of integrity and transparency.
AGN Roots, like A Greener World, truly believes that there are intrinsic connections between how an animal is raised, their physiological well-being, the nutritional quality of the food they produce, and the impact of the farming system on the environment. We are often asked if we “add” BCAAs to our whey, the answer is always “no”. Our whey naturally contains the highest concentration of branched chain amino acids directly as a result of these intrinsic connections. Below are several farm requirements to be certified “Animal Welfare Approved” by AGW:
What Are Some of these AWA Standards ?
- Animals HAVE to be pasture raised. This ensures that animals are grown on large lands that are rich with grass or other low plants providing a primary source of food for the animals to graze. The reason most Grass-fed whey brands fail to obtain this certification is simply because it can be wildly expensive to water a pasture that is not naturally sufficient to meet the appetite of a Grass-fed herd.
- Farms are not permitted to adopt a dual production system. This essentially prevents the farm owner from having some of their animals raised under industrialized standards, while others are raised with a higher-welfare approach (blanket coverage is not tolerated under AGW). What that means to the consumer is that no milk is being sold under this certification without 100% traceability to each animal covered by this standard.
- Certifications are ONLY provided to individual farms. Those farms are family owned, not owned by corporations or businesses, another massive benefit of supporting farms under AGW Approved Animal Welfare certification. When it comes to dairy quality, is at odds with quantity. The highest dairy producers worldwide have forgotten what’s truly important. Although they produce the most, they are responsible for the drift in quality over time to the point where high-quality, nutrient-rich milk has become an unrecognizable relic, absent from most of the marketplace.
- The farm must meet the most comprehensive standards for high welfare farming. Our animals have unfettered access to clean water, fresh air, clean bedding, shelter, and a stress-free environment which includes a constant line-of-sight to each other and their offspring.
Did you know – The term “Grass-fed” (as it pertains to your Whey) isn’t assured by any regulatory standards and can be printed on any whey protein without repercussions. This means that the consumer is left to purchase blindly through unverified claims or spend hours to independently research the sourcing of each whey product. Truly Grass-fed dairy is a proud title that is well earned and hard won. If you cannot find direct sourcing information on your whey, meaning where your cows were raised and on what farms, we can confidently say the “Grass-fed” labelling is nothing more than a marketing ploy meant to line the pockets of the brand you are trusting at your expense.
Leading by Example - AGN Roots Whey is made from milk exclusively produced on family farms belonging to a Co-Op under the TrulyGrassfed™ family located in south east Ireland in the counties of Kilkenny, Carlow, Wicklow, Laois, Kildare, Waterford, and Wexford.
Many whey protein brands claim and use marketing terms like “Free Range”, “Organic”, “Grass-Fed” “Premium” etc.. These claims are unregulated and therefore unfortunately have absolutely nothing to do with real animal welfare or environmental sustainability. This said, there is no excuse for supporting old intensive brutal farming practices. If you would like us to investigate a competitor’s product making such claims without proper evidence, please message us!
Certified Grass-fed by AGW
With so much misleading marketing emblazoned on packages, what should you look for? Look no further: the Gold Standard for verifying the integrity of the Grass-fed claim is here. The best and first condition of being “Certified Grass-fed” by AGW is becoming “Animal welfare Approved” certified by AGW. Doesn’t get much better than that.
Beware that other “grass fed certifications” do not convey the same meaning. Although it’s great to see the increased interest by the whey protein community in certifying grassfed whey protein claims, we sadly report that even with a fancy certification logo (see below), more and more of these assurance factories are popping up from a marketing demand ONLY. Rather than helping, they continue to dilute the value of genuine Grassfed operations.
Below is a handy comparison between what the industry currently has to offer in terms of “Grassfed” food labels and their differences. As you may noticed A Greener World Certified Grassfed stacks up as a label favorite! Interestingly enough, most brands marketing and selling "Grassfed Whey" are not certified nor are they actually sourcing from grassfed farming operations at all. This said, AGN Roots is very optimistic that with knowledge comes a drive for regulatory change, so please visit A Greener World to learn more about real transparency in food production and what that means. The chart below is just one of the incredible resources this movement has to offer.
Final Tip - For general assurances of integrity in manufacturing, sourcing, and branding, look for the Informed Choice or Informed Sport certifications. They are truly the best at what they do for peace of mind. As for the “Grass-fed” claim, it is very difficult to find the truth hidden by so much clever marketing. Start with the basics, where is it from, what is it claiming, can it be readily verified, and if not, why not?
In closing, we hope we provided some encouraging information regarding outfits such as A Greener World, and why it’s so important for AGN Roots Grass-fed Whey to promote exclusively sourcing from Animal Welfare Approved Certified farms!