The benefits of grass-fed livestock are clear
Guest column by Rick Rausch
I’m a rancher that has switched from finishing part of my calf crop from corn finished meat to grass finished beef and lamb. There aren’t many of us that do that so the question of why is often asked.
Many of my customers were family so naturally I wanted to provide the healthiest meat possible. We avoided the growth implants and feed antibiotics, and that made it healthier than drug-compromised cattle. But corn or soy is mostly raised with pesticides like Roundup. It is almost impossible to buy feed grain now without it. Even though all the past research indicates that those pesticides are “safe to be consumed,” most all that research is tainted with money contributed by big chemical companies that stand to gain from the outcome of the research. You have to be naïve not to know that science is for sale and the phrase, “money talks” seems to fit.
Despite the fact that pesticides are “safe for the public,” we are now beginning to hear of cracks in the evidence that there’s proof that these pesticides do cause cancer. Remember for decades the nutritional experts said that fat was unhealthy to consume? Now most nutritional experts say fat is good for you. It is the carbohydrates and sugars that are unhealthy.
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I’m not going to fill this editorial with references to that evidence. I didn’t dream this up on my own so anyone can find references to these statements. It is easy to see, if you have any age, that America has gotten obese since World War II, which coincides with the increase of corn in our diet.
I know God didn’t create glysophate, but He did create grass. Why risk it? Why expose the people that you love to that risk? Why wait for the truth to be exposed if it’s too late to save your family from diseases like cancer?
Grass finished meat is different than corn finished meat. Most of it is not very fat. We grow some of our beeves to a heavy fat cover, but it takes months more forage feeding to get cattle there. Even those carcasses taste different than corn-fattened carcasses. Grass is a natural taste while corn is artificial. I
say artificial because cattle and sheep are ruminants. Digestion of grass or most forage is so natural to a ruminant. Digestion of grain, especially corn, is unnatural to ruminants. Corn creates a toxic acidic environment to the natural fiber digesting microflora that digests grass and other forages of ruminant animals. It is so toxic that a 100 percent corn ration is lethal to ruminants. There is a minimum amount of high fiber forage that must be in every feedlot ration. There is no minimum grain component to a grass finishing ration. Our cattle and sheep are born on pasture, grown on pasture, even wintered on only hay, and finished on pasture. Very few have ever even tasted grain. I’m confident that this produces a healthier meat for the consumer.
Another way the two – grass finished and corn finished meats – are different is nutritional value. I won’t get into details here, but those that I think of first are the balance of omega fatty acids, content of linoleic acids, content of vitamin E, and content of good cholesterol. Check modern research and you can find the facts.
What about sustainability — the environmental features that will sustain our environment? When God created our land of the prairies, the finishing touch He established was grass. It wasn’t corn and soybeans. It wasn’t even wheat and oats. It wasn’t forests. It was an ocean of grass in our part of the world. It stayed that way for as long as man didn’t impose conventional farming practices. That’s sustainability. Grass was there when huge herds of buffalo developed. Grass is our natural ecosystem. In ignorance and arrogance, conventional farming has been trying to convert all God’s beautiful grasslands into cropland. The more we learn about soil health the more we realize that cropland is not sustainable. It is not a healthy condition for soil, and soil is even more basic than grass to our sustainable environment. Cropland is much more erodible and must less able to absorb and hold rainfall. Grass is a natural sponge and soil binder. If cropland is abandoned, it will naturally return to grass. If grassland is abandoned in South Dakota, it won’t ever return to corn or any other unnatural plant. It will remain grassland and if grazed periodically it will remain healthy and sustainable.
These are some of the reasons we finish meat with grass.
Rick Rausch and wife Linda own Rausch Ranching Service in Faulk County and advertise with The Dakota Scout.
Rick, I appreciate this article. You present factual evidence of nutritional superiority of grass-fed meats as seen in the lipid profile. One cannot argue with the facts. Thank you, also, for pointing out that cattle are ruminant animals that are designed by The Creator to digest grasses, not grains. A lot of people are having their eyes opened to these truths. Thank you for sharing!