I have found myself becoming slightly irritated with the misperceptions going on in the Agriculture world. Whenever I meet new people they usually ask what I am doing with my life. This often leads to a conversation of why I want to be an Ag Business major. They instantly assume I will be raising cattle instead of crops. Then if I’m lucky they go on a rant about only wanting to eat meat from grass fed cattle. First of all I am going to be farming corn and soybeans, not all farmers actually have to raise livestock. That does mean some cattle will end up eating the crops that are being grown on my family farms. So yes I completely support cattle that are grain fed. Many who claim they only want grass fed cattle are about to be informed about the industry. The entire purpose of this blog is to educate you, therefore you can make better decisions about the meat you eat.
First off ALL cattle are grass fed at some point in their life. The difference is determined by how they are finished. They either finish on grain, or grass before slaughter which determines what kind of meat it will be labeled as. Price wise you must realize it is MORE expensive to buy meat from grass fed cattle. They come from much smaller operations, and it often takes longer for the cows to reach slaughter weight. Feeding cows grain can help them reach slaughter weight as quickly as a year before grass fed. This dramatically speeds up growth, and lowers the cost of feed resulting in cheaper meat for consumers. This also can enhance fat marbling which is used to determines a cut of beef’s USDA rating. The more fat in the meat, the richer the taste, which in turn results in a higher grade. Yes this makes it slightly fattier and unhealthier than grass fed, but not by much. You really have to weigh out the pros, and cons to the situation. Grass fed meat is healthier, but the health facts have been blown way out of proportion.
Shalene McNeill, who has a Ph.D. in human nutrition and is executive director for human nutrition research at the association, acknowledges that “if you feed (cows) grass, you can slightly increase the omega-3 content, but if you look at it in terms of a whole diet, it’s not a significant advantage to human health.” This supports that it just is not worth the price to buy only grass fed meat. A group of testers cooked both types of meat to see which tasted better. It ended up showing that there was no universal preference between grain fed, and grass fed. They each had various levels of beefiness along with juiciness. Basically there really isn’t much difference between grass fed, and grain fed cattle. I hope this will help educate you in some future decision about meat choices.
More info from my source: http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/03/29/grass.grain.beef.cookinglight/
I know this is slightly older news, but I feel as if not enough people are aware about the blizzard that hit South Dakota. An early devastating blizzard wiped out large amounts of cattle, and livestock throughout the state. I was reading articles about the incident, and literally became sick to my stomach. People are completely blaming the ranchers for all the dead livestock. These were clearly under educated people bashing the ranchers. As many as 75,000 head of cattle died in the storm. Ranchers are facing complete and utter devastation. Due to the government shutdown the farm bill was not renewed. This means the government is not giving them any money so people need to quit saying they will get subsidies. This is the ranchers livelihood many will be facing bankruptcy. Even those with insurance on their livestock won’t be completely covered.
We are talking about the cows that produce babies each year. These were not just feed lot cows about to be slaughtered. They were well cared for, and it can take years to build up a herd. The South Dakota ranchers had less than 48 hours to prepare for this Storm. They experienced hurricane force wind gusts. Many did not have time to herd cattle in, that can take days to do. No one was prepared for the magnitude of the storm that hit. This is completely tragic for the Agriculture World. These Ranchers are not only facing complete devastation, but now they must go out and dispose of the cattle. An immediate concern is proper disposal of the dead livestock, which state law says must be burned, or buried within 36 hours for the health not only of surviving herds but also for people. These Ranchers deserve our SYMPATHY not to be scolded. They have already been through enough. This effects us all meat prices are bound to increase. Don’t shake this off like it is nothing if you like to eat meat it concerns you to. Here is a link to an awesome blog by someone effected by the blizzard.
This week I was finally able to come home! I never realize how much I miss farming, and my home until I visit. Harvest is unfortunately moving at an extremely slow pace this year. We have two combines that try to run around the clock. Over the week I have been home one has been broke down almost each day. My poor father may end up blowing a head gasket himself. The combines are old enough that we have to pick up parts, and fix them ourselves. The men are usually hard at it, but finding parts has been a struggle. On Saturday when the 9120 broke down the closest Case IH dealer with the parts we needed was 8 hours away in North Dakota. They wouldn’t ship it until Wednesday, and that is too long to have a combine not running. My dad left instantly to go get the necessary parts. That is dedication to say the least. I have learned nothing comes between a farmer and getting his crops out. Birthdays, anniversaries, none of it comes first.
You can bring dinner in the combine, and celebrate if you want to spend time with them. My dad went down and started fixing the combine on Sunday after his trek to North Dakota. That night another break down happens. If you have control issues farming is NOT for you. It is completely unpredictable, and extremely frustrating at times! The next day is Monday, and I drove about 4 hours getting some parts for my dad. Once I drop them off the rain starts coming down. Its only typical that mother nature would love to pour down all day during harvest. Our crops burned up this summer we prayed for rain constantly. It never really did come. Now when we do not want it, of course it decides to show up. Now no one can get in the field because it is too muddy. My boyfriend has gotten work off the last few days which is really nice. I have got to spend much more time with him than I originally anticipated. We went fishing in the freezing cold rain yesterday for over 2 hours. I only had a hoodie on, and my hands lost all feeling. I woke up this morning hardly able to swallow yay for sickness. It is time for this rain to go away so harvest can move on, and I can stay healthy. For now I will just keep singing rain, rain go away. I am sure Mother Nature will just ignore me like always.
I am so ready for FALL BREAK! It officially starts next Wednesday, and I am so excited. I want to go to Iowa and see all my loved ones already. My little brother turns 12 on Saturday, I hate that I have to miss it. My wonderful boyfriend is living in Iowa with my family learning to farm. It is a wonderful opportunity, but now I’m one lonely lady. I wasn’t thinking about the fact that I was going to lose my best friend ALL of harvest. That may be why I am very excited to go home. I’ve had so much more time since he left. Today I have a meeting for the Big Sister Program here in Springfield. I am hoping to find a child to mentor, and help change a life. Volunteering is a great way for me to stay busy, and feel really good about myself.
I also am managing to get plenty of homework done. I usually always do it, but I am not procrastinating nearly as much as I was. Netflix still may end up being my demise. Once I get started on a series I can’t stop watching it. I am having a massive cookout, and swimming party tomorrow night. I figure I can stay busy if I invite around 30 people over. That should most definitely be an ordeal. I can’t figure out why Springfield is still so hot. I still can’t go a day without sweating where is my chilly weather? My boyfriend called and said it had rained so they can’t get in the field, because the moisture levels are just to high. Anyway off to work on homework I go. Can’t wait until I can blog about my Iowa trip. I included a little video of what Harvest looks like in case people don’t fully understand.