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What message is shaping your opinions about beef? by Lynn Bliven


  • 1.Meat Madness: What Message is Shaping Your Opinions about Beef? Lynn A Bliven Association Team Coordinator Cornell Cooperative Extension Allegany/Cattaraugus County

2. Where life begins the Cow-Calf Farms Cows are bred & give birth to a calf every year. For the first few months of life, calves drink their mothers milk & graze on pastures. Calves are weaned at 6-8 months old, weighing 400-500 pounds. Then eat grass & forages. 1-in-3 female calves are kept on the cow-calf farm as breeding animals (replacement heifers). 3. What is forage? 4. Stockers & Backgrounders Stockers and backgrounders graze cattle on many different kinds of pastures all across the United States. These cattle gain weight and, in effect, convert forage and grass into protein. 5. Types of feeds: Silage, corn silage: The entire corn plant, chopped and stored wet, fermented. Ensiled corn. Shelled corn: Dry, whole kernel corn. Cracked corn: Dry, whole kernel corn which is ground into smaller pieces. 6. Feedlots Mature calves are moved to feedlots. Typically spend 4-6 months. Have constant access to water, room to move around & are free to graze at feed bunks containing a carefully balanced diet. Veterinarians, nutritionists and cattlemen work together to look after each animal. 7. Marketplace Confusion Grass-FedLow CalorieReduced sodiumFat-FreeOrganicSugar-free NaturalLocalGluten-freeEnriched Whole GrainLow-Fat High FiberFortified Added ProteinFree Range No GMO Sustainably Raised 8. All Beef Is Grass-fed Natural Nutritious Safe 9. So what is: Natural? Grass-fed? Organic? Dry-aged? Pasture raised? Free range? Humane? Prime? 10. What is:Natural? minimally processed, no artificial ingredients. Commonly used on products raised without antibiotics or hormone implants. So, is feeding expired baked goods natural?Potato peels?Citrus rinds? 11. What is:Certified Naturally Raised? Cattle can be grain-finished or grass-finished (look at the label for details) Have never received antibiotics or growth promoting hormones May be given vitamin & mineral supplements Must be certified by USDAs Agricultural Marketing Service 12. What is:Grain-finished? Cattle spend most of their lives grazing on pasture, then spend 4-6 months in a feedlot Fed scientifically & healthy balanced diet of grains, such as corn, wheat or soybeans May judiciously be given FDA-approved antibiotics or growth promoting hormones May be given vitamin and mineral supplements Have continuous access to clean water & room to grow & roam 13. What is:Grass-fed? Varies, implies a grass diet. Sometimes specified as 100% or strictly. 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. Grass (Forage) Fed Marketing Claim Standard (October 16, 2007, Federal Register Notice (72 FR 58631)) PDFSo, are steers fed hay inside a barn all winter grass-fed?Does grazing in a field of young corn mean grass-fed? Where is this grass fed beef coming from? 14. What is:Grass-finished? Cattle spend their entire lives grazing on pasture May judiciously be given FDA-approved antibiotics or growth promoting hormones May be given vitamin and mineral supplements Can be difficult to produce year-round in North America due to changing seasons & weather conditions 15. What is: Organic?Certified organic feed, can include grain. Housing, health, & handling specifically defined. Processing done at a certified facility. No antibiotics, no hormone implants allowed.Could this farm be certified organic? 16. What is:Pasture Raised or Free Range? Access to the outdoors. 17. What is:Dry-Aged Most locally raised beef carcasses hang 10-14 days in the cooler. Technically, dry aging is for individual primals for a period of 21 days or more. 18. What is:Prime? Only USDA Graders can assign USDA Quality Grades. There are NO USDA Graders in NYS. % IMF (intramuscular fat):% of US Beef Supply in the 3 top USDA Grades:2.5-3.9%31.5%3.9-8.5%61.5%8.5-12+%2.7%Beef Research Report, Iowa SU 1998NBQA 2011 19. SlightModerateSmallSlightly abundantModestModerately abundant 20. Define what is important to you, seek it from local sources. 1. What do I want? Common answers are affordable, healthy, safe, humane meats. 2. VISIT farmers markets, ASK around, and TALK with area farmers. 3. If you like what you see/hearbuy it! Buy small quantities to sample, figure out what you like. 21. What is important to me? Healthy animals, healthy feed Pasture, when it is available. Haylage, balage, some grains, but not straight corn. Free choice hay. No food waste from industrial food processing. Treat sick animals as needed. 22. Clean, humane farm conditions Animals have access to the outdoors, shade/ shelter, water, feed, and pasture (seasonal). General farm and livestock appearance. 23. High Quality Meats A good eating experience! Adequate marbling & fat cover. Animals of the appropriate age. Beef: 16-32 mos. Lamb/goat: