Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Living in Corn Country and Raising Grass Fed Beef?

Living in corn country and raising 100% Grass Feed Beef is defiantly not the norm. Since, we started the grass fed beef program we have heard criticism from almost everyone around us, especially other cattle raisers in the area.

The argument is that corn fed taste better, the cattle grow faster and feeding corn is the cheapest way to get them to a slaughter weight.

When we started raising cattle we had a decision to make.
"Would we like to serve corn fed or grass fed beef to our customers in the future restaurant?"

Next question, "What has nature intended cattle to eat?"

Cattle are herbivores, they are built to eat grass, herbs and legumes. Not grain and certainly not animal fat mixed with the grain to make it taste better and keep the dust down.

"Does corn fed taste better?"

We would have all agreed before tasting our first batch of grass fed beef that the corn fed would have more fat and probably more flavor. Yet, we were way wrong! We had never tasted real beef until we had our grass fed, the difference in unbelievable. It is far leaner, much tastier and even healthier for you.

I came across a study from Clemson University and they outlined the 10 reasons why grass fed is healthier for you. Here they are:

1. Lower in total fat.
2. Higher in beta-carotene.
3. Higher in Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol).
4. Higher in B vitamins and riboflavin.
5. Higher in the minerals calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
6. Higher in total Omega-3s.
7. Healthier ratio of Omega-3 to Omega-6 fats.
8. Higher in CLA (potent cancer fighting qualities).
9. Higher in Vaccenic Acid (which is converted by the body to CLA).
10. Lower in saturate fats linked with heart disease

Source: S. K. Duckett, J. P. S. Neel, J. P. Fontenot, and W. M. Clapham; Effects of winter stocker growth rate and finishing system on: III. Tissue proximate, fatty acid, vitamin, and cholesterol content; Journal of Animal Science; 2009 87: 2961-2970.

With all the health benefits of grass fed you would wonder why we ever started feeding cattle corn to begin with. I guess the answer is that feeding corn is cheaper, easier and faster.
Three words that we want nothing to do with, here at Epiphany Farms.


  1. Well said ! Here's to all the 100% grass fed cattle farmers of Central Illinois. BOTH of us !

  2. I'm totally with you on this but it would be great if grass fed beef farms could find a way to lower the prices. Any suggestions?