The PRO WEIDELAND label is awarded to dairy products whose raw ingredients have been sourced in a way that respects animal welfare and environmental protection. It may only be used by partners who are committed to pasture farming, which is more time- and labour-consuming but also more sustainable, and who meet our specific criteria.
The content of the PRO WEIDELAND standards is based on the framework conditions and criteria, which are defined jointly by the multi-stakeholder community in our Weidecharta.
PRO WEIDELAND means:
The most natural form of livestock farming: pro animal welfare and pro environment.
Products from producers, farmers and retailers who are pro environmental protection and pro biodiversity.
A contribution towards climate protection, as meadows and pastures capture many tonnes of carbon dioxide every year.
Naturally good for everyone: PRO WEIDELAND
In order to achieve maximum credibility amongst partners and the general public, our standards are based on specialist and scientific findings. We have published a set of transparent criteria, observance of which is ensured by means of independent audits. As a result, our motivations and objectives are clear to all involved. As are our methods for achieving them.
A total of 36 supporter organisations from the fields of business, politics, science, NGOs and the processing industry make us a diverse and effective body. After all, the idea is that everyone benefits from our cooperation: end consumers, society as a whole and our partners – from farmers to retailers. Thanks to our organisational structure and collaborative approach, our label has the necessary relevance and impact.
The PRO WEIDELAND label is the property of the Centre for Grassland Lower Saxony/Bremen and has been on the market since mid 2017. The organisation is not an economic actor in this regard. It pursues the objective of reclassifying and promoting the numerous functions of grassland to reflect its diversity and significance. For the environmentally sustainable and nature-friendly use of pasture. With PRO WEIDELAND, these aspirations have been put into practice with a defining seal of approval for products from grass-fed livestock.
The “I am PRO” – series was produced within the project “Weideland 3.0”. One of the aims of the project is to contribute to the long-term preservation of pasture farming and the diversity of production systems. The project is funded by the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Consumer Protection of Lower Saxony.
Our label is underpinned by clear framework conditions and criteria for the production of products made using pasture milk and pasture meat.
The key production guidelines:
- All lactating cows must be able to graze for at least 6 hours on at least 120 days a year
- At least 2000 m2of grassland per dairy cow per year
- including at least 1000 m2grassland per dairy cow and year for active grazing and sufficient grass for active grazing
- Free walk system (possibility of free walking throughout the year)
- Tethering (the grazing period is increased to at least 180 days and at least 6 hours)
- During the barn season, cows must be allowed to have access to an outdoor area outside the barn every second day (at least 90 times during the barn season) for at least one hour.
- The grassland described under “feeding area” is defined as permanent grassland (according to EU No. 1307/2013, Article 4(1)(h))
- Optional: Temporary grassland (tilling with persistent grasses, ploughing is only allowed once in 5 years)
- Pasture milk is to be produced on the basis of GMO-free feed (feed must meet the standards of VLOG (Verband Lebensmittel ohne Gentechnik).
- No tethering permitted
- A scrubbing brush is available for the cows
- Registration of findings data at the slaughterhouse; from 2022: reporting of findings data to a central database to create indices and participation in antibiotic monitoring with central data collection
- Dehorning of calves – if practised on the farm (according to the legal standard):
- < 6 weeks: by the farmer with pain relief
- > 6 weeks by a veterinarian with anaesthesia
Trust is one thing. Our audits are quite another.
We don’t compromise in this area. Effective monitoring of the implementation of our stringent requirements is vital when it comes to the credibility of our label.
Our label may only be used if clear criteria are met. Compliance is monitored on our behalf by certified, external audit bodies.
This ensures complete objectivity in terms of the audit findings. The audit logs are then evaluated by PRO WEIDELAND Weidecharta GmbH.
If a farm wishes to supply their dairy in accordance with PRO WEIDELAND, an initial on-site visit will be held to verify the farm’s ability to meet the criteria. Production for PRO WEIDELAND is only possible if this visit has a successful outcome. On average, each farm is then audited on-site every three years.
Furthermore, the dairy inspects each farm’s documents annually (farm return, grazing calendar, land-use plan).
In the event of breaches of the PRO WEIDELAND guidelines, sanctions will be imposed that range from corrective measures to exclusion from the programme.
The following external audit companies are currently authorised to conduct PRO WEIDELAND audits:
ABCG Agrar- Beratungs- und Controll GmbH
ACG Agrar-Control GmbH
Is pasture farming worthwhile for farmers?
The aim is to make the grazing of pastures economically attractive by ensuring that farms are remunerated for the additional expense involved. This approach is effective, because consumers recognise the value added by this type of agriculture and are therefore willing to pay more for the products.
Why is pasture farming good for the environment?
As a multifunctional part of our man-made landscape, pasture needs to be protected. What’s more, biodiverse biotopes can be preserved in the process. The increased biodiversity represents a genuine ecological gain. Overall, the existence of pasture has many other positive effects in terms of environmental protection, animal welfare and biodiversity.
Which dairies produce with the PRO WEIDELAND label?
- Arla Foods
- Molkerei Ammerland
How is the grazing period recorded/documented?
The grazing period is documented in a grazing calendar. The grazing calendar must be kept up to date (no more than one day behind on a standard, announced inspection).