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Great for Grilling: Smart Chicken and Niman Ranch Meats


Smart Chickens are raised in a free range environment by family farmers without the use of antibiotics, hormones or animal by-products. The Organic Line is Third Party certified humane. Tecumseh Farms is committed to environmental stewardship. Their facilities are surrounded by the farms where the grain to feed the chicken is grown, which saves energy on grain-hauling. They’re located close to one of the world’s largest natural aquifers, so their water use, which is already reduced because of the air-chilling, has no adverse affect on area water resources. The combination of environmental stewardship, humane treatment, and a safe product that has superior flavor makes Smart Chicken the premium value.

I had the opportunity to visit some of the Tecumseh Farms Smart Chicken facilities. I saw the land and barns where the organic lines of chickens are raised and the two processing facilities in the Omaha, Nebraska area.

The farms raising certified organic Smart Chicken  are also third party certified humane. The barns are clean and free of odor; the chickens are happy and laid back. Temperature and moisture are monitored and maintained by computers to ensure a comfortable environment for the chickens. The chickens have free access to the outdoors through open doors spaced every couple of feet all along the side of the 750 ft. long barn. We saw some chickens playing outside and some of them had escaped the pen area. It was pretty entertaining.

The non-certified organic line of Smart Chicken is raised on twenty-seven family owned farms. The entire line cannot get third party humane certification since these farms are owned by individual families and have a variety of barn configurations. Regardless, the ideals and standards are the same for all of the farms.

One thing that differentiates Smart Chicken from other larger chicken growers is the farmers’ commitment to proper care and welfare for the animals. Humane treatment not only contributes to a superior product and earns the trust of consumers, but is also just the right thing to do.

The standards that Smart Chicken brings to the table are unsurpassed by other U.S. chicken growers. For example, the CAS system of changing the oxygen and carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere to stun the chickens before the processing procedure begins is a practice brought in from Europe.

Air chilling is another practice that separates Smart Chicken from other growers. Instead of using a chlorinated communal bath to lower their temperature, they are cooled by using only cold air. This process is cleaner and keeps additional water weight out of the birds. Since this is a fairly new procedure to the U.S., there are not yet standards for process or labeling.

But the real story is of a company that believes in doing the right things for the right reasons. This progressive company is a leader in their:

  • use of technology to produce a clean, superior product
  • concern for animal welfare
  • providing safe and good quality jobs
  • keeping high standards despite costs
  • managing shipping costs by placing their farms and facilities strategically.

They believe that by treating animals and people properly they can maintain the highest quality of chicken and can cultivate trust in their product and their company.


  • Niman Ranch raises livestock traditionally, humanely and sustainably to produce the finest tasting meat in the world.
  • Niman Ranch works with the largest network of sustainable US family farmers and ranchers - 700 and growing.
  • ALL animals are raised outdoors or in deeply bedded pens.
  • Livestock raising protocols were developed with the help of animal welfare expert Dr. Temple Grandin, and are the strictest in the industry.
  • Niman Ranch offers a complete line of fresh beef, pork, lamb, poulty, cage-free eggs and a variety of smoked and cured meats. Niman ranch is leading the industry in sustainable and humane agricultural practices.