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Grass fed

The delicate chemistry of a cow's rumen was never designed for a corn-based diet. It creates too much acidity and leads these animals to suffer from acidosis, bloat, ulcers, diarrhea, and a weakened immune system. Cattle are grazing range dwellers. They eat grass... -- Douglas Gayeton

Supplemental grain has always been part of a domesticated cow’s diet, but cattle feed primarily based on corn is a relatively new phenomenon.

While it makes cattle grow bigger quicker, it also makes them sick. Plus, corn fed meat is higher in saturated fats and lower in nutrients like omega 3s and vitamin E. Farmers across the world have shunned the industrial model, choosing instead to rear grass fed cows, just like your grandparents did.

George and Eiko Vojkovich’s Skagit River Ranch, just north of Seattle, is home to a heritage breed of cattle dating back to a time when cows were more efficient at grass conversion, before their genetics were re-engineered for feed lot production.

Like the Vojkovich’s, rancher Will Harris champions grass fed cattle. He’s the protagonist in two stories this week, one from our friends at Southern Foodways Alliance and the other from political writer, Jane Black.

A diet of grass and local grains is just one of many options that farmers have to choose from today. Mike Callicrate describes the benefits of such a feeding system, and explains why local food is becoming increasingly important in this time of industrial agriculture and confusing labels.

The Sustainable Food Trust has an interesting take on the argument that eating less meat is part of the solution.

Joel Salatin introduces us to grass farmers, the backbone of the grass fed meat industry.

Is all this talk of grass fed beef making you hungry? Perennial Plate has a treat: Argentinian steak. Chef Ann Cooper is back, too, with another delicious recipe.

This week's terms

Grassfed

Cattle are grazing range dwellers. They eat grass. Rangelands cover nearly 40% of the United States and are the single largest ecotype on earth. The amount of available forage on these lands depends on a variety of factors, including climate and geography, but proper rotation grazing practices actually help these rangelands regrow by triggering photosynthesis, which pulls carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and captures carbon in the soil.

Grass Farmer

Grass farmers know their cows are natural herbivores. They understand that grass plays an important role not only in providing cattle with a healthy diet, but also in capturing energy from the sun and cleaning the air. Grass is a solar collector. It uses photosynthesis to transform the sun’s rays into chlorophyll. When cows eat grass, they convert this energy into protein and fat.

Animal Feed

High-quality animal feeds, much like good food, are nutrient-dense and serve as a cornerstone to a healthy lifestyle. This means: no fillers, no chemical additives or preservatives, no chemical residues, and no empty calories. Fresh and healthy feed is nutritionally balanced, delicious, and promotes superior physical performance and mental health

Mobstocking

A herd of cows act like a single organism. It's known as a mob. Stocking means placing animals in a specific place for a specific length of time. 

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