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Grass Fed Beef

Grass Fed Beef

Grass fed or pasture-fed cattle, grass and other forage compose most all or at least the great majority of the grass fed diet.


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Reba Gonzalez

Reba Gonzalez

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- least 50% vegetative cover on range/pasture.
-At least 2/3 of life on range/pasture.
-Maximum castration age 6 months using approved method for Step 1.
-De-horning and routine horn tipping are prohibited.
-Minimum weaning age of 6 months.
-Maximum 25-hour transport.
-No market animals purchased from sale or auction barns.
-Bedding required in all housing.
-Space in housing for cattle to exercise, lie and move about freely without obstruction.
-Electric prods prohibited except in case of imminent danger to animal or handler.
-No antibiotics, added growth hormones or animal by-products.
-Calves only moved to access range/pasture with mother.
-All animals must be protected from heat or cold stress and from extreme weather.
Independent 3rd-party audits of farm, transport and slaughter/processing plants.

Article: Beef Cattle Welfare Ratin...
Source: Whole Foods Market

Finishing cattle on grass is not as easy, says Andy Larson, as just turning them out onto your existing pastures and watching them fill out.  Since 2008, Larson has been coordinator of the Leopold Center’s Grass-Based Livestock Working Group, which meets quarterly for seminars on aspects of grass feeding.   Most of the attendees, he says, are “your cow/calf operations, your grass finishers, and your people that are very, very specifically oriented towards being good stewards of your environment, in addition to being efficient producers of cattle.”
And if you’ve never done it before, there’s a lot for a rancher to learn before attempting to finish cattle on grass; Larson ticks off the key points: “If you are willing to be a very good grass farmer—if you’re willing to figure out what species you’ve got present in your pastures, how to improve the mix, how to improve production and intake of those pastures, and have cattle that are going to eat that forage and marble well on it—then, absolutely; you can change your operation from one side to the other.  But it’s just not going to be a snap of the fingers kind of thing; it’s a learning process.”

Article: Corn Fed vs Grass Fed
Source: American Cattlemen

What our logo on your label tells your customers:  
• Your animals were fed a lifetime diet of 100% forage
• Your animals were raised on pasture, not in confinement
• Your animals were never treated with hormones or antibiotics

Article: American Grassfed Associa...
Source: American Grassfed

13. Bring your grass fed meat to room temperature before cooking . . . do not cook it cold straight from a refrigerator.

 14. Always pre-heat your oven, pan or grill before cooking grass fed beef.

 15. When grilling, sear the meat quickly over a high heat on each side to seal in its natural juices and then reduce the heat to a medium or low to finish the cooking process.  Also, baste to add moisture throughout the grilling process.  Don't forget grass fed beef requires 30% less cooking time so watch your thermometer and don't leave your steaks unattended.

Article: Tips for Cooking Grass Fe...
Source: American Grassfed Beef

1. Your biggest culprit for tough grass fed beef is overcooking. This beef is made for rare to medium rare cooking. If you like well done beef, then cook your grass fed beef at very low temperatures in a sauce to add moisture.

2. Since grass fed beef is extremely low in fat, coat with virgin olive oil, truffle oil or a favorite light oil for flavor enhancement and easy browning.  The oil will, also, prevent drying and sticking.

Article: Tips for Cooking Grass Fe...
Source: American Grassfed Beef

Researchers from California State University-Chico and the California Cooperative Extension Service examined data from three decades’ worth of nutritional studies comparing grass-fed and grain-fed beef.  They said, yes—gram for gram, grass-fed beef has a more desirable saturated fatty acid [SFA] profile, with more cholesterol neutral and less cholesterol elevating SFA, than grain-fed beef. It’s also higher in CLA isomers, trans vaccenic acid—which the body converts into CLA—and omega-3 fatty acids, and in precursors for Vitamin A [like beta carotene] and Vitamin E, and cancer fighting antioxidants.
But, because it also tends to be lower in overall fat content, “grass-fed beef also possesses a distinct grass flavor and unique cooking qualities that should be considered when making the transition from grain-fed beef.”  And they said if the meat is lean, “regardless of feeding strategy,” it is just as effective as a dietary means of reducing serum cholesterol as fish or skinless chicken.

Article: Corn Fed vs Grass Fed
Source: American Cattlemen

Because grassfed meat is so lean, it is also lower in calories.

A 6-ounce steak from a grass-finished steer has almost 100 fewer calories than a 6-ounce steak from a grainfed steer.

Although grassfed meat is low in "bad" fat (including saturated fat), it gives you from two to six times more of a type of "good" fat called "omega-3 fatty acids."

Article: The Health Benefits of Gr...
Source: Rain Crow Ranch

Negative Perceptions:
• Finishing cattle of forages reduces animal performance.
• Finishing cattle on forages produces smaller carcasses with less fat and muscling, lower yield grades, and lower dressing percentages potentially due to greater ruminal fill, but quality grade is not necessarily affected.
• There are long held perceptions that foragefinished beef tends to have off-flavors (grassy, milky, fishy, sour), yellow fat, low tenderness, course texture, low juiciness, low consumer acceptability.

Article: Trends in the Production ...
Source: 2010 Sustainable Agricult...

• Aided by cheap grain, large expanses of rangeland, and centralized meat-packers grain-feeding has a long history in the U.S.
• By 1916 the beef industry was divided into grassfed (summer) and grain-fed (winter).
• Research studies first appear on forage-finishing during the 1930s and 1940s.
• Government subsidized grain production has led to the dominance of the feedlot industry in the United States.
• Interest is renewed in finishing beef on forages during periods of high grain prices. As Oltjen et al. predicted in 1971, “In the future, it is quite possible that the cereal grains will become too expensive to feed to ruminants in large quantities because of the direct competition with the rapidly expanding human population.”
• Studies conducted in the 1970s comparing forage- to grain-finished beef revealed a trend of decreased overall acceptability of foragefinished beef compared to grain-finished beef.
• During the last decade, forage-finished beef research has focused on the positive attribute of finishing cattle on forages in response to growing negative perceptions of red meat.

Article: Trends in the Production ...
Source: 2010 Sustainable Agricult...

Grass (Forage) Fed – Grass and forage shall be the feed source consumed for the lifetime of the ruminant animal, with the exception of milk consumed prior to weaning. The diet shall be derived solely from forage consisting of grass (annual and perennial), forbs (e.g., legumes, Brassica), browse, or cereal grain crops in the vegetative (pre-grain) state. Animals cannot be fed grain or grain byproducts and must have continuous access to pasture during the growing season. Hay, haylage, baleage, silage, crop residue without grain, and other roughage sources may also be included as acceptable feed sources. Routine mineral and vitamin supplementation may also be included in the feeding regimen. If incidental supplementation occurs due to inadvertent exposure to non-forage feedstuffs or to ensure the animal’s well being at all times during adverse environmental or physical conditions, the producer must fully document (e.g., receipts, ingredients, and tear tags) the supplementation that occurs including the amount, the frequency, and the supplements provided.

Article: Grass Fed Marketing Claim...
Source: USDA