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Archive for March, 2011

>What are "CLA’s" and "Omega 3 and 6’s"?!?

Posted by Thrivelearning on March 14, 2011

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Here’s some scientific jargon you can throw around during Missouri parties or at work to impress your friends and associates: “Omega 3 and 6, and CLA’s.”

Now sit down, this get’s thick. Following is a “simple” explanation from Kate Clancy, a senior scientist in the Union of Concerned Scientists – from a March 2006 publication called “Greener Pastures: How grass-fed beef and milk contribute to healthy eating.

The three omega-3 fatty acids—the so-called beneficial fatty acids—have been shown in many studies to improve health and prevent disease in humans. CLA has attracted attention because it has demonstrated many beneficial effects in animal studies. We have focused on the levels of these fats in milk and meat from pasture-raised cattle because, beyond their intrinsic value, widespread interest in these substances among health-conscious consumers could help shift American agriculture from conventional to pasture-based feeding systems. (pg 1)

(For more information about Omega 3 and 6’s – see below PDF…)

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>Why our Missouri prime beef is striped…

Posted by Thrivelearning on March 13, 2011

>We did (and continue to do) substantial research on cattle breeds. Black Angus is predominate in the commodity-driven prime beef Missouri production. While this breed was originally a British/Scottish breed, it’s “Americanization” has produced a large-frame cattle with various traits that mostly have to do with fattening quickly on a corn-based diet after they are weaned. This commodity approach with its feedlot base is unfortunately responsible for most of the bad press that beef has gotten in the last quarter-century.

We have been working for the last several years to move to grass-finished beef. So we looked around for the different breeds which did best on just grass. In the middle of this, we found that a medium-framed animal was more efficient in turning forage (grasses, clover, etc.) into muscle. As well, smaller-sized animals fit into people’s freezers and budgets better.

The Galloway is a Scottish breed, raised to survive on just about anything it can find during those long, harsh Scottish winters. Very similar to the Highland, except they are polled (no horns). The more commonly found version of this is belted, meaning it has a white belt in it’s middle. This is from their being crossed with the “Dutch Belted” breed some generations back. They are known as “Belties”.

(For more information about Missouri striped prime beef, see below PDF…)

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>How does a Beef Ranch Stay in Business?

Posted by Thrivelearning on March 12, 2011

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Simple answer: income greater than expenses and needed reserves. Makes running a beef ranch seem simple.

This was the problem I encountered when I took over farming. Most (and we still do, at this point) maintain a second job away from the farm. Because (as “everybody conventionally knows”) you keep farming until the money runs out. It’s that second job which pays the costs of farming when the crop doesn’t.

It’s the commoditized base of farming which is keeping dirt-poor farmers dirt-poor.

We studied this over and over and kept coming up to the same conclusion. Getting big doesn’t make your farm more profitable. Studies show that about 300 acres is the max on cost breaks with the income/expenses leverage. More acres above that and you are doing longer hours with the same basic cost per acre. It’s how many acres can you farm to replace your day job income. Not less hours or easier work.

Now you have to get smart about what you are doing. We really have nothing bad to say about corn-fed/lot-finished beef (other than it has no taste, really). But if you are selling a lot of bland burgers at a discount price, this is exactly what you want. And that is the commodity beef business. Why packers are vertically integrating to cut out middleman costs.

(For more information about running a Missouri beef ranch sustainably, see below PDF…)

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>What’s All-Natural, Humane, Pasture-Raised?

Posted by Thrivelearning on March 11, 2011

>Left to themselves, cows are naturally pasture raised. But humans have a very interesting view of things – not just we who live in Missouri. Humans are unique among all other lifeforms with the ability to think and consider and worry about the life-forms around them. While other animals can readily care for and respect humans, they don’t seem to put the empathy behind it that we do.

And while that isn’t a negative attribute, there are humans among us who prey on others by exploiting this emotional context. “Humane” is actually putting human attributes and attitudes into other species around us, regardless of whether they exist there or not. When people are repeating emotionally-charged phrases such as “inhumanely treated”, along with “factory farms” and “puppy mills”, in all cases they are stretching things a bit thin.

Humans do not know exactly and precisely what is being “felt” by any other species on this planet. And that is our particular problem, if you will. We can project that “if that (animal) were human, this is what they’d feel”. And that’s about it.  

(for more information about pasture-raised beef, see below PDF…)

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>Raising Missouri Pasture-Fed Beef

Posted by Thrivelearning on March 10, 2011

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While pasture fed cattle have been in Missouri as long as the earliest settlers, this is actually one of humankind’s oldest interests and occupations. The ability to domesticate animals in order to provide a regular food supply has determined civilization’s rise and fall throughout our histories.

However, it is modernly as precise and specific as any other trade.

It isn’t anything you can just start doing once you graduate high school. While you can always get a job as a “hired hand”, there’s a wide gulf of learning between being able to drive a farm truck to actually caring for and raising live animals – and a host of responsibilities you can’t learn to shoulder from any text book. You just can’t go out into a pasture and pick up a steak.

Most who raise livestock have done so their entire lives, and have been able to listen to their parents and grandparents, uncles, and aunts to glean their experience in order to make it their own. However, any farmer can tell you that every day out there is another one in the classroom. And most farm living rooms are filled with books and magazines which tell the new methods and techniques which are being tried.

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>Producing the Finest Missouri Grass-Fed and Pasture-Finished Beef

Posted by Thrivelearning on March 9, 2011

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Our work and mission is to continually improve the health of our farm and its produce and to raise the highest quality beef possible, becoming more sustainable as we do.

The current improvements have been in moving toward natural grass-fed beef with improved genetics and heart-healthy beef. See our Raising Pasture Fed Beef section for details.

To do this, we are constantly improving our herd and also tweaking our grazing techniques to make these ever more sustainable. We have also started to direct-market our beef, meaning that we can now tell you very closely what your cow has been eating for it’s entire life, and where it was processed. And you get better value for your dollar.

Unlike your supermarket beef, you can inspect every step of the way if you want to.

We think that you deserve to know exactly where your food comes from and how it was raised.

Posted in pasture fed beef | Leave a Comment »

>Missouri Beef is Your Best Health Food

Posted by Thrivelearning on March 9, 2011

>Now there has been some discussion about the heart-healthy aspects of Missouri grass-fed beef – a all-natural health food.

Here’s a pretty well-documented summary from Eat Wild (http://www.eatwild.com/healthbenefits.htm):
Summary of Important Health Benefits of Grassfed Meats, Eggs and Dairy
Lower in Fat and Calories. There are a number of nutritional differences between the meat of pasture-raised and feedlot-raised animals. To begin with, meat from grass-fed cattle, sheep, and bison is lower in total fat. If the meat is very lean, it can have one third as much fat as a similar cut from a grain-fed animal. In fact, as you can see by the graph below, grass-fed beef can have the same amount of fat as skinless chicken breast, wild deer, or elk.[1] Research shows that lean beef actually lowers your “bad” LDL cholesterol levels.[2]
Because meat from grass-fed animals is lower in fat than meat from grain-fed animals, it is also lower in calories. (Fat has 9 calories per gram, compared with only 4 calories for protein and carbohydrates. The greater the fat content, the greater the number of calories.) As an example, a 6-ounce steak from a grass-finished steer can have 100 fewer calories than a 6-ounce steak from a grain-fed steer. 

(For more information about Missouri Beef as Best Health Food, see below pdf…)

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