Owen and Neila Nelsen raise beef cattle on 840-acres of improved pasture at Full Nelsen Farms in Vegreville, Alberta. The couple both grew up on farms in Alberta: Neila on a federal cattle research center in the southern part of the province, and Owen on a family farm in the north.
After receiving a degree in agriculture, Owen continued to learn about animal husbandry in a variety of positions, ranging from ranch hand to livestock economist and environmental farm plan technician. Neila, whose commitment to encouraging excellence in others, finds fruition in her work as an occupational therapist and dedicated parent to busy young athletes—and also excels at marketing the family’s grassfed beef!
Full Nelsen Farms’ cattle are always raised on pasture and rotational grazing is utilized to make best use of the land, ensuring the cattle always have access to the most nutritious grasses The Nelsens believe that pasture-based management is an excellent model to improve the overall ecological health of the land, including the soil, water quality, and biodiversity. Managing cattle on pasture also has benefits for the cattle and their health, allowing the Nelsens to use antibiotics only ever as a last resort to treat sick animals—never for disease prevention or growth promotion. They are proud their cattle never receive hormones or genetically modified feeds. Like many farmers, consumers, and chefs, Owen and Neila know that these practices affect not only the health of their animals, but the quality of their beef.
The Nelsens’ commitment to environmental stewardship and animal welfare is verified by their certification as a source farm for AWA Grassfed beef cattle. AWA Grassfed is the first—and only—food label in Canada that guarantees food products come from animals fed a 100% grass and forage diet, and raised entirely outdoors on pasture or range. “We value the welfare of the animals, the sustainability of the land, and the nutritional quality of the food we are producing and we feel that being Animal Welfare Approved supports this,” says Neila. Being an approved source farm means the Nelsens can raise and sell beef cattle to other AWA-certified farms. They applied for AWA Grassfed certification so they could sell grassfed beef cattle to their friends and mentors at nearby TK Ranch, one of Canada’s leading retailers of AWA Grassfed beef. To learn more, contact the Nelsens at firstname.lastname@example.org or (780) 632-7926.