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Grass-fed beef makes a comeback


Fri, May 14th, 2010
Posted in Agriculture

Step back a century ago and you'll find farming practices quite different from those in today's modern world. This is especially true when it comes to the raising of beef. While there were a handful of folks supplementing grain to the diets of their cattle as early as 1822, the majority of farmers ranged their cattle on grass and forages up until World War II. With the invention of self-propelled grain combines during that time, farmers began to see grain as an easy way to add value to their livestock production and by the mid 50s, feedlots became a common sight. Today, more than 22.8 billion pounds of beef is raised on confined animal feeding operations, while only 3.6 billion is raised strictly on grass. But that trend is changing.

Modern consumers are increasingly looking for a way to bridge the gap between production and consumption, with a more recent awareness on where their food comes from. The grass-fed movement is a return to former practices, but it hasn't come without scrutiny as some producers marketed their product as grass-fed, which it likely was between the first 6-12 months, only to have it finished in a feedlot.

To avoid misinterpretation of this claim, the USDA passed a grass-fed marketing claim and standard October 16th, 2007, to provide better understanding to producers and consumers alike. It defines grass-fed as having grass and forage as the only feed source consumed for the lifetime of a ruminant animal, with the exception of milk consumed prior to weaning. This diet can include annual and perennial forage, forbs (such as legumes and Brassica), or cereal grain crops in the vegetative (pre-grain) state. Routine mineral and vitamin supplementation may also be included in the feeding regimen. By this standard, livestock can't be fed grain or grain byproducts and must have continuous access to pasture during the growing season. If there is incidental supplementation, the producer must fully document it, including the amount, the frequency, and the supplements provided.

In addition, The American Grassfed Association (AGA), an organization of pasture-based ranchers, consumer groups, and researchers has defined an alternative label. To qualify for the three-tiered AGA label, livestock may not be confined or treated with hormones or antibiotics. The AGA believes this standard more closely matches the perception of "grass-fed."

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCF) Food and Environment Program also seeks t .....
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Grass-fed beef makes a comeback

Fri, May 14th, 2010
Posted in Agriculture

Step back a century ago and you'll find farming practices quite different from those in today's modern world. This is especially true when it comes to the raising of beef. While there were a handful of folks supplementing grain to the diets of their ..... 
[Read the Rest]

May is beef month

Fri, May 14th, 2010
Posted in Agriculture

Cattle were brought to Minnesota in the early 1820's. Early records show that cattle were driven from St. Louis, Missouri, to Fort Snelling during the summer of 1823. The cattle herd, in those early days, was slow to expand because of inadequate fee ..... 
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Beef: It's what's (healthy) for dinner

Fri, May 14th, 2010
Posted in Agriculture

News Item 1: March, 2010 - "Food, Inc.," a documentary film directed by Robert Kenner raising serious questions about the overall health of our American food industry, is nominated for an Academy Award.

News Item 2: May 6, 2010 - The Preside ..... 
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Minnesota Department of Agriculture launches 2010 gypsy moth trapping program

Tue, May 11th, 2010
Posted in Agriculture

ST. PAUL, Minn. - The Minnesota Department of Agriculture (MDA) is setting nearly 23,000 gypsy moth traps across eastern Minnesota this spring as part of its annual program to monitor the state's forests and urban areas for infestations of the destru ..... 
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On-farm validation of Alfalfa N Credits to Corn

Fri, May 7th, 2010
Posted in Agriculture

There is, what I consider, a very interesting research plot in Fillmore County this year. Jeff Coulter, Extension corn agronomist, and Michael Russelle, USDA-ARS soil scientist are following up on 2009 research in five other locations with research ..... 
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Central Minnesota yak farmer named Good Farm Neighbor

Tue, May 4th, 2010
Posted in Agriculture

ST. PAUL, Minn. - When John Hooper first started raising yaks 13 years ago, he didn't realize there were no tame animals to be found in North America. He's worked to tame his yak herd and as a result he's been gaining notoriety.



"I m ..... 
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Miller Wins State FFA Discussion Meet

Tue, May 4th, 2010
Posted in Agriculture

The Minnesota Farm Bureau Federation's Young Farmers & Ranchers Committee and the Minnesota Farm Bureau Foundation worked with the Minnesota FFA to sponsor the ninth FFA/Farm Bureau Discussion Meet competition. Fifteen regional FFA winners from acros ..... 
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Local cattlemen host senator

Fri, Apr 30th, 2010
Posted in Agriculture

Jeff Eickhoff of the Fillmore County Farm Bureau recently organized a beef tour for Sen. Sharon Erickson Ropes, DFL-Winona. Local cattlemen are interested in keeping their industry priorities before legislators, so area tours provide a firsthand opp ..... 
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