Not “No” but “Hell No”

James Matthew Craighead asked this question: "Is grass fed the worst thing that happened to agriculture?" Don Ashford, one of On Pasture's Writers in Residence shares these thoughts. No, absolutely no. What is Grassfed? If I understand the labeling requirements correctly, any animal that has eaten grass anytime in its life can be labeled grass fed. Grass finished means that the animal has only eaten grass its entire life. It is possible to feed corn that has all of the starch removed and be classified as grass fed. I guess this is brewer grain. I can tell you stories about this stuff. (I am sure that someone will correct me on any of this if I have it wrong). As in any business of selling to the public there will always be folks who game the system. There are outfits out there that are buying calves from the sale barn and turning them out on pasture for 90 days or so and selling them as grass fed. They are not lying, but what they are doing is misleading the consumers. But if every animal that has ever eaten grass can be labeled grass fed they are doing neither. There is nothing wrong with their product it is just that the consumers are not getting what in most cases they believe they are getting. And rather than getting the commodity price for these calves these outfits are getting whatever the market is for grass fed, which is substantially higher. My daddy was a trader and one of the things I remember him saying about deals was that if both parties thought they

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3 thoughts on “Not “No” but “Hell No”

  1. Well written article! You have seen and experienced a time span of agriculture that I have only read or heard stories about.

    “The idea that grass fed is the worst thing that happened to agriculture is so far down the list of reasons that agriculture is in trouble it is out of sight.”

    I like it. This is the reaction I was hoping for….people who are willing to pull from their own personal experiences and knowledge and stand up for what they believe in.

  2. Don,
    Well said! You are a lot smarter and more wise, than you look. I know that it is not the first time that you heard that compliment! Thanks to Mrs. Betty for keeping you alive and well, for so long!

    The small farm or ranch in the deep south and the southeastern US, is the backbone of the community. I am encourage by the awesome people that I see, that have moved out of the congested urban areas and to the country. They and our kids and grandkids are the future of agriculture! Many 50+ year olds have moved back to the farm and started producing local foods, to meet the growing demand. Most consumers of local foods are very smart, they know or will quickly learn the difference between authentic and fraudulently labeled and represented foods!

    Thanks for the great article!

    1. Thanks Don for another article with some great information and facts about life on the small farm. I do feel the educators at the universities had no choice but to preach imputes of all kinds because their job depended on the funding from these sources for the universities that they worked for. William Albrecht had a similar problem years ago and farmers were misinformed way back then. I also appreciate Stuarts response to your article. We need more of these articles so we can help give young farmers the desire to give their dream a try and live the great family life on the farm.

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