Veal’s Production Story

Veal’s journey from farm to food to you


Veal calves get their start at dairy farms.


Dairy cows give birth once a year in order to continue producing milk.

While female calves grow up to serve as cows in the milking herd, male (bull) calves are either sold to veal farmers or beef farmers.


Veal farms are primarily located in New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Each farm family raises about 400 calves a year.


Milk-fed veal industry embraces farm to market traceability.

Ear tags for each individual animal enable the industry to track animals from the farm through processing to market.


When newborn calves arrive at the farm they start out in individual pens because they are born with no immunity.

That’s right! It is critically important to their health and wellbeing to not have direct contact with other calves until they build immunity to protect them from sickness and disease.


After about 8 weeks, the calves are grouped with other calves.

Calves have space to stand up, lay down, turn around, groom themselves and socialize with other calves.


Veal farmers work closely with a veterinarian to help ensure the health and wellbeing of the calves.

Veterinarians certify farmers are following the best management practices required of the Veal Quality Assurance program. Farmers also work with an animal nutritionist to develop feed programs that provide the best nutrition for their veal calves.


Veal calves receive proper nutrition and water through every stage of life.

Calves receive a milk formula fed twice daily and they also have access to drinking water throughout the day. Feed is managed for proper protein, iron and fat levels for the age and size of the calf.


These young beef animals are raised for about 6 months to a market weight of 500 pounds.

They are bigger than a pig and older than a turkey at the time of harvest.


Once calves arrive at the processing plant, they are inspected by federal and state agencies throughout each step of the harvest to ensure food safety.


Veal is available at restaurants and groceries or you can order online.

Cutlets, roasts, chops and ground veal are most popular. The meat is tender, light pink, with a mild flavor making it popular with both culinary and home chefs.

Do you have more questions about how veal calves are raised?

Funded by the Beef Checkoff.