What is grass-fed beef?
You see the words “Grass-Fed Beef” on our labels, but what does that mean? Cows eat grass, right? If you were asked to picture a cow eating, you’d probably conjure up an image of a bunch of cattle grazing in a pasture.
Putting grass-fed beef on our labels might seem like stating the obvious. After all, cows have been going about eating grass for most of their existence. It’s what they do, naturally.
The reality is, we put it on our label because it’s not the norm. Most cattle raised for livestock these days are not grass-fed. After World War II, American farmers increasingly fed their cattle something that is not natural for them: grains.
The United States had a vast corn surplus, and it seemed to make sense to feed it to livestock. After all, humans had been experimenting with augmenting the diets of cows since the late 19th century. We knew cows could grow faster with a bit of grain thrown in than they did on a diet of grass alone. At first glance, it seems like a logical decision; extra corn, bigger cows, less time. Unfortunately, this choice has had a much farther-reaching impact than most of us realize.
Before we get into more detail about that, let’s go back to that image of a bunch of cattle just wandering around, munching on grass. It seems simple, but eating grass as a sole food source is complex and very specific. Here’s why: grass is indigestible to most animals on earth. Yet, grass-fed cows manage to turn it into an efficient fuel for their massive bodies.
Animals that thrive on grass have stomachs that are uniquely designed just for this purpose. It may take cows longer to grow and mature when grass-fed vs. grain-fed, but the cows don’t seem to mind. It’s what they were made to do.
Do you know what cows’ stomachs can’t do? Digest corn or other grains like soybean. It makes them sick. Sick cows don’t grow too well, so they are given antibiotic treatment to get around that.
It’s not just a one-and-done kind of thing, however. It’s an ongoing issue, one that grass-fed cows don’t have, which is why our grass-fed beef doesn’t contain antibiotics. By letting cows eat what cows are supposed to eat, you don’t get unnaturally sick cows.
Why is Grass-Fed Beef Healthier?
It makes sense that sick animals don’t make the best meat. Grass-fed cows tend not to get sick, and it goes back to cows doing what they do naturally. They graze. They move around, they eat, they grow slowly, but they are healthy.
Most grain-fed beef on the market comes from cows raised in feedlots. Feedlots allow for more cows to be fed in a smaller amount of space. The cows are packed in, side by side with all the other cows.
What happens when cows are stuck in one spot, only eat food they can't digest, are treated with antibiotics, and live in a virtual sea of other cows? Poop, folks. Lots and lots of poop.
Living, sleeping, and eating in excrement doesn’t sound very healthy, does it? It’s not. Bacteria like E.Coli thrive in this kind of unsanitary environment. Add to this that overcrowding in itself is a breeding ground for illnesses, and you’re probably asking yourself why grass-fed beef isn’t the mainstay of the market.
Why Pedersons Beef is Grass-Fed
Raising grass-fed beef may be more straightforward, healthier, and more humane, but it also takes more land, more time, and more money. Here at Pederson’s Natural Farms, we believe it’s worth it.
That’s why we’re proud to print “grass-fed beef” on our label. We do things differently than most modern farms do, and we’re proud of it. We want you to know what you’re getting when you buy our beef. You’re getting beef that is 100% organic, grass-fed, and never treated with antibiotics or hormones.
Our cows will never see the inside of a feedlot or finish on corn or any other grain.
We care about what our animals eat because we care about people. We know that grass-fed beef is healthier for you, the cows, the farmers, and the environment. Besides, we like doing things the old-fashioned way. It’s natural.
Pederson’s Natural Farms would like to share more about why we do what we do. We’re real people, just like you. There’s so much we want to talk about: sustainable farming, flavor profiles, healthy eating, philanthropy.
We’re glad you’re here, and we hope you come back to read more soon.