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BEEF Protocols


NEFF is ALL Natural and NEVER EVER !
As stated within the Northeast Family Farms Label Approval filed with the USDA – 
• No hormones are allowed in feed or as animal implants.
• No feed grade antibiotics are allowed.
• No antibiotics for therapeutic purposes.
If an animal is treated with antibiotics they may not be sold for NEFF beef.
• No feed grade fly control agents are permitted.


Northeast Family Farms - NEFF - Cattle Production Protocols for Natural Beef Steers and Heifers.

All beef breed cattle purchased for the Northeast Family Farms brand Natural Beef Program must meet the following requirements. For additional information about qualifying livestock for the Natural Beef Program, contact the NEFF staff listed below: 

Program Director:

Livestock Coordinator:


  • Geography

    Finished cattle must be sourced from farms in Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York or Pennsylvania. Custom finished cattle that have been sourced as calves from outside these states are acceptable providing that the animals meet the identification and source verification protocols contained herein. All cattle, however, must be finished and harvested in the Northeast region.

  • Breeds

    British breeds such as Angus, Hereford, Devon and Shorthorn (or crossbreds of any of these) are the most acceptable cattle for the NEFF program. British breeds crossed with Continental breed cattle (Limousin, Charolais, Simmental, Chianina, Piedmontese, Holstein, etc.) may also be considered for the program upon inspection and approval by NEFF management.

  • Identification, Source Verification and Ownership

    All animals in the NEFF program must be identified with an ear tag as soon after birth as possible. All cattle must have been born, raised, and have spent their entire lives in the continental United States. Cow/calf producers are required to maintain a record sheet for each animal from birth listing its breed/s, birth date and weaning date, as well as information about vaccinations and any necessary veterinary interventions.  Cattle feeders who buy calves for finishing must also maintain a record sheet for each animal from their date of acquisition.  In addition, producers who purchase cattle from a second party must be able to show proof that each animal was managed according to NEFF protocols prior to its arrival at the finishing farm.
    There should be no more than two individuals in the chain of ownership for any animal. All current owners shall sign an affidavit stating that cattle were raised according to NEFF protocols and deliver it with the animals when they arrive at the slaughter plant for processing. (see affidavit form attached at the end of this document). A separate affidavit form from each previous owner is highly recommended should there be any question about the history of the animal. (Note: Order buyers or brokers who act as purchasing agents for the finishing producer are not considered to be an owner so long as the animals are in their possession for less than 30 days. In these cases, however, both the order buyer/broker and the original owner must provide the required cattle records and affidavits. )

  • Diet

    Approved Feeds- All NEFF cattle must be fed a 100% vegetative diet.  Once animals are weaned, their diet may contain any combination of grass, legumes and forbs/or stored feeds such as hay, haylage, corn silage, grains and grain by-products (distillers grains, wheat middlings, corn gluten feed, corn bran, etc.).  Any vegetable or fruit by-products that have not been cooked or adulterated (sweet corn husks and cobs, fruit peels, crushed seeds, etc.) are also acceptable as supplemental feeds.

    Probiotic feed additives for livestock may also be used with prior approval of NEFF management.

  • Veterinary Treatments

    Proper herd health management including vaccinations, routine deworming and treatment of parasites are permitted and encouraged.

    The following treatments are prohibited:

    • No hormones are allowed in feed or as animal implants.

    • No feed grade antibiotics are allowed.

    • Antibiotics for therapeutic purposes are also not permissible. If a sick animal is treated with antibiotics the animal may not be sold into the NEFF beef program.

    • No feed grade fly control agents are permitted.

  • Handling of Animals

    All animals shall be handled humanely during loading, trucking, and restraint for harvest. Efforts must be made to keep the animals as calm as possible throughout the transport and harvest process.

  • Finish Requirements
    • Steers and Heifers: maximum of 28 months of age with a carcass weight between 625-950 lb. hwt.

    • Fat cover must visually appear to be adequately dispersed across the animal.

    • Carcasses will be evaluated on the rail by NEFF trained plant personnel for marbling, fat cover, and overall conformation. Producers will receive a report of carcass information for their cattle.

*NEFF personnel will supply carcass data and yield information back to the farmer in an effort to increase their awareness and to evaluate genetic and feeding programs.

  • Pricing and Payments

    The price paid to producers for steers and heifers that meet or exceed the minimum NEFF natural beef program specifications follows the reported national market price. NEFF offers 2 options for pricing paid to producers.

  1. Market Pricing: Using the USDA-Agricultural Marketing Service's weighted average price/lb. for dressed, delivered-basis, beef-breed steers grading in the 65-80% choice range plus a $.32/lb. hwt. premium. For up to date information on the previous week's weighted average price, visit the AMS 5 Area Weekly Weighted Average Direct Slaughter Cattle report at .

  2. Quarterly pricing: NEFF will make formal offers Thirty (30) days prior to the start of calendar quarters. Producers shall agree to pricing for the three (3) month quarter at which time they may opt for additional quarterly contracting or revert to Market pricing. Once pricing and harvest quantities have been agreed upon, they may not be changed based on market conditions.

Any animal condemned by a USDA-FSIS inspector at the time of slaughter will be destroyed and disposed of.  No payment will be made to a producer for a condemned carcass.
All prices and pricing policies are subject to change at the discretion of Northeast Family Farms. NEFF staff will schedule all cattle deliveries to one of several regional slaughter facilities and coordinate payment to individual producers. Payment on cattle will be mailed via U.S. Postal Service within 5 business days of date after cattle harvest.

  • Transportation

    Making arrangements for the transportation of animals to a regional slaughter facility designated by NEFF is the responsibility of producers.  NEFF pays 1/2 of the fee for livestock hauling, at a per loaded mile rate, not to exceed $50 per head.  All rates must be approved by NEFF personnel prior to delivery.

  • Final Product Verification and Discounts

    Final carcass quality and maturity will be determined at the processing plant.  Discounts may be applied to any carcasses not meeting specified product standards. Discounts are as follows:

    • Light carcasses: (less than 625 lbs. hwt) -$15.00/cwt.

    • Heavy carcasses: (over 950 lbs. hwt) -$15.00/cwt

    • If deemed over 30 months old: (removal of SRM materials required by USDA*) -25.00/cwt except for cull cows.

    • Deep bruises or broken bones – To be determined by amount of trimming loss incurred.



Northeast Family Farms retains the right to refuse or discount any cattle that do not meet its specifications as determined by pre or post-harvest evaluation.



*(Note: SRM carcasses (those over 30 months old) are determined by dentition at the slaughter plant by USDA inspectors.  Age records and affidavits can sometimes, but do not always supersede age determination by detention.) 

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