Old Way – Best Way
There was a time when grass-fed beef farms were a way of life. All cattle were raised grazing in natural pastures on large ranches and sold to meat packing companies for processing. Then in the 1950s things changed and cattle were taken to large enclosed lots where they were fed enhanced grain to fatten them up for processing. Between 1950 and 1980 virtually every source of cattle came from these lots. The change from grazing to feed lots came in the 1950s and seemed to be the answer to all possible reasons for shortages in the beef industry. It effectively neutralized problems with the weather and poor grazing areas while stabilizing the prices and markets for many grains. Unfortunately, nutritionists are questioning the value of this switch and its effect on the consumer’s health.
Grass Fed to Feed Lots
When cattle were shifted from pasture to feeding lots certain nutrients that are commonly associated with overall good health began progressively diminishing from the meat that came from cattle. Omega 3 fatty acids, an element associated with heart and brain health has become significantly lessened overall. CLA, a effective cancer fighting element found in meat products has also dropped. The omega 3 fatty acids produced from the grasses are good for every aspect of your body. They help your heart, your blood pressure and above all else your mind. With ample amounts of omega 3 in your system you are less apt to have heart attacks, high blood pressure or any number of neurological issues that are common place today. When calves are left with their mothers for a minimum of eight months after birth they stand a better chance of acquiring the proper body frame. They can then be finished correctly and put on the proper marbling of fat. Finishing is the process of putting weight on the animal prior to processing. When the animals are finished in the feed lots they layer on fat rather than marbling their meat.
More Investment – Higher Price
It is an investment to decide to pasture graze your cattle. You have to be committed to devoting at least two years to your first herd of cattle you raise for sale. There are nearly two thousand farmers and ranchers on the American continent that have decided that it is better to spend the time and effort to create a better, healthier product for the market. This is the major reason why grass fed beef products are more expensive.
Environment for Cattle Important
Animals kept in the feeding lots are under constant stress. The overcrowding and unsanitary conditions are just the beginning of the problems. Many cattle become ill from eating the grains and the additives that are put in them. Anti-biotics are added to counter the problems inherent to the lots and the amounts must increase as the tolerance rises in the animals. These medications are passed to people who also get a raised tolerance to the medications through consumption of the meat. The people who own grass-fed beef farms cannot be called organic farmers. They are a cut above the organic classification. These farmers use absolutely no commercial feeds for their cattle. They create the best environment for the cattle that can be created to ensure that the best product can be expected when you purchase their beef.