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HomeAgWeb ReportLassen AgWeb Report: Happy 2014

Lassen AgWeb Report: Happy 2014

A Report From the Lassen County Cooperative Extension

by Bailey Hagata

Beef producers throughout the United States raise a variety of beef products to provide choices to meet the lifestyles of today’s consumer. These choices include grain-fed, grass-finished, certified organic, and natural beef. Today’s consumer can select the best beef product for their lifestyle by educating themselves on the choices that are available.

Grain-fed cattle spend most of their lives grazing pasture before moving to a feedlot where they are fed a diet that includes grain.

Grass finished beef cattle remain on a pasture and forage diet their entire lives.

For products to be labeled as natural the USDA requires the product must be minimally processed, contain no artificial ingredients, or preservatives.

Grass fed, grass finished, and natural beef products are all eligible to be certified organic. The qualification required for this is having the cattle raised on certified organic pastures, they are fed certified organic feed, with no drugs, antibiotics, or growth hormones. These cattle must also have year round access to the outdoors.

While each consumer may hold a personal preference for taste, the quality of a steak is in no way determined by the way it was raised. Whether it was grass finished or certified organic, meat is graded by the prevalence of marbling and age. Grading of meat is performed by the USDA and beef is graded while it is a whole carcass. The top three US quality grades are prime, choice, and select, with prime being at the top and select being the bottom. The lowest rated meats become meat by-products. Prime-grade beef makes up about 2% of all the beef produced and is the most desired at fine restaurants and as beef exported. The most widely available grade of meat at the store is choice and select.

The beef industry has become proactive in adjusting with the changing food demands and lifestyles that require easy to cook and precooked meals, providing choices such as organic, natural, grass finished, and grain fed meat to satisfy different consumers. They are also working hard to inform consumers about the real facts about beef production. Because the industry works diligently to meet the needs of today’s consumer, beef remains one of the single largest segments of America’s agriculture. For good reason beef is delicious, nutritious, and a healthy choice.

The Lassen County Farm Bureau wishes you a happy and healthy New Year and hopes that 2014 will keep American agriculture in your heart, throughout the menu, and on your dinner plate.

Jeremy Couso
Jeremy Couso
SusanvilleStuff.com Publisher/Editor
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