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Romance vs. Reality Part 1: Hard Lessons Learned in a Grass-fed Beef Marketing Cooperative

By   /  August 3, 2015  /  1 Comment

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Editor’s Note: This two-articles series  comes to us from Iowa State University Extension and Ou
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About the author

Publisher, Editor and Author

Kathy worked with the Bureau of Land Management for 12 years before founding Livestock for Landscapes in 2004. Her twelve years at the agency allowed her to pursue her goal of helping communities find ways to live profitably AND sustainably in their environment. She has been researching and working with livestock as a land management tool for over a decade. When she's not helping farmers, ranchers and land managers on-site, she writes articles, and books, and edits videos to help others turn their livestock into landscape managers.

1 Comment

  1. Kent Hanawalt says:

    Thank you for giving us all the benefit of your hard-earned experience. I’ve long said that ‘all education is expensive, no matter where you get it’.

    I certainly believe in grass-fed beef. But here in Montana it must be harvested within two short months – late July through early September – while animals are actively growing. That means we can only supply fresh, tender meat for one-sixth of the year.

    And I certainly believe in locally grown, harvested, and processed food. But the economies of scope and scale are against it.
    The big packers are seen as the enemy by some, but they can sell “everything but the moo” – making their PROFIT on by-products that are a disposal COST to local processors.

    According to one source – http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/04/how-america-spends-money-100-years-in-the-life-of-the-family-budget/255475/ – the average American family now spends only 13% of its budget on food – half of what they spend on entertainment.
    We in agriculture don’t get much credit for the fact that we produce food much more efficiently than we did a hundred years ago, and our packing industry doesn’t get credit for the fact that they process and market our beef much more efficiently than they did a hundred years ago.

    I’m a cow/calf producer. I ate grass-fat, dry, two-year-old heifers for most of my life. But now I buy meat in the store.

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