Friday, April 29, 2011

Make Mine Corn-Fed

I ran across an article from The Courier-Journal about how a new local restaurant "Bluegrass Burgers" will use local beef.

Read the article at -

I was excited until I read the comments from the owner.

“People need to be eating the really top-quality meat, from cows that eat grass, not corn. Cows aren't meant to eat corn,” Seckman says. “There's more flavor for sure in the grass-fed.”

Seckman buys strictly Kentucky grass-fed and hormone-/antibiotic-free beef. “I can go pick the cows out at Misty Meadows Farm,” he says.

I definitely had to provide my point of view on this one:

While I think it is great that a local restaurant is using local beef, I won't be going out and paying for "grass-fed" beef. I might as well be eating the venison in my freezer.

All beef cattle are grazed most of their life, but "corn-fed" are only finished on grain. Finishing beef cattle on a balanced diet of grain and forages allows farmers to more adequately control their nutrient intake.

And I can't believe anyone thinks grass finished beef is tastier.

Next - a little a botany lesson - corn is a member of the grass family. All grasses eventually produce a grain. Therefore, saying cows aren't supposed to be fed corn is down-right illogical.

People need to quit listening to Pollan and Martha Stewart and ask a real farmer about the benefits of feeding cattle grain.

Regarding hormone use in beef - I found this post from fellow blogger Megan Kontz - She does an excellent job explaining why hormones are used, and how hormone content in beef compares to other foods.

Finally, if you have read my posts before, you know my take on antibiotic use. If the cow is sick, give it some medicine.

I don't think I will be visiting this local establishment any time soon.

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  1. Thank you, thank you, thank you! As a cattle producer, I love your point of view. I treat them as I would my own children... if they are sick and need meds, they get them. Otherwise, it isn't healthy for them or my pocketbook.

  2. Hi Food Mommy,

    The reason I like grass-fed meat has everything to do with the health of the animal and quality of the meat and fat. With careful management, cattle manure the pastures effortlessly. The pastures easily absorbs the manure and over time the pasture improves. Feedlots become dead zones because of the high qualities of manure. The manure in feedlots have to be disposed of in some way or during rains the manure can run-off the property and into our streams and lakes. This run-off can be a source of disease.

    As you said, corn is a grain. But there are important differences between the "grass" and the "grain" seed. I am not a scientist but my understanding is that grain acidifies the rumen of bovines. This is part of why we are seeing acid-resistant forms of e-coli. In people, these acid-resistant e-coli can get through our stomach acid and infect us. The feedlot is the perfect breeding ground for acid-resistant e-coil because of our heavy use of grains. Pastured cattle, eating grass, do not have this kind of problem. Please read the following link about how we could cut e-coli infections by giving feedlot cattle hay for the final four days before slaughter:

    My belief is healthy animals equals healthy food. To produce healthy animals we must have a healthy environment. When we look for cheap food we ask the producer to cut corners and externalize as many costs as possible. These externalized costs usually end up in the environment as pollution or contamination. We are all connected in the world. Sooner or later, those pollutions ends up in us or our children.

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