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Considering the True Cost of How Meat Is Raised

By   /  September 7, 2015  /  4 Comments

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When someone asks you, “Why does pasture finished meat cost so much more than what I’ve
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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. garry wilson says:

    How come the positives of natural always sound like a slam to confinement ?

    • Kathy Voth says:

      Hi Garry,

      Your point is well taken and I thought about it as I was getting this piece ready for publication. I don’t think that there’s a one size fits all answer, and there may be benefits from confinement, beyond the lower cost of food. In fact, some research suggests that when comparing greenhouse gas emissions, including those that come from crop production, some confinement operations may be better for the environment than pasture raised. It’s complicated, and when things are complicated it’s good to begin gathering lots of information and talk about what we as a society need and want. So this is just one aspect of that conversation that I hope we can continue to have.

  2. Gene Schriefer says:

    After the farm gate, processing costs are also subject to economies of scale. Utilizing the small local processor is horrendously expensive which is passed on to the consumer compared with a large meat processor.

  3. Don Keener says:

    Large hog farms have no incentive to not capture the costs of handling the hogs, it reduces the amount of taxes they pay. And with antibiotics, they now rotate their drugs to minimize the problems you get with over use. I am not a pig farmer, I raise cattle, but I would think the period of time they keep the pigs before slaughter is short and if you have a good health program they should not need major drugs. Also, they now have better ways of getting rid of the manure so that it doesn’t end up in creeks and rivers.

    Pasture raised hogs can do major damage to pastures/fences, etc. when they escape and they will. Come to Texas and we can show you what the impact is. Regarding the quality of your product, I have no argument it has to be better and worth the extra cost!

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