Elmwood Stock Farm, Georgetown KY, USA     ||     Order a Meat Bundle  HERE 

What Does It Mean to Be Grass-Fed and Finished?

Earlier this year we answered the often-asked question of “what makes your beef so special?” and today we’ll be expanding on that and addressing what it means for our livestock to be grass-fed and grass-finished.

First, a clarification. Grass, in the form of pasture and naturally growing forages and/or hay in the winter months, is a part of the diet of almost all livestock at some point. Grass plays an important role in the function of the rumen, which is the main component of their digestive system, by supplying necessary carbohydrates in the form of cellulose. Cattle, sheep and other ruminants have bacteria in their digestive system that allows them to break down plant material and extract protein, sugar and fat in ways other animals cannot. For this reason, the health of the herd and flock depends on grass.

Where it can vary is when it comes to the finishing. Finishing refers to what is fed the weeks and months before slaughter at what’s called a feedlot. Oftentimes during this period, grass is swapped for grain in order to promote quick weight gain and marbling.

But the reality is that ruminants aren’t naturally designed to digest grain like they are grasses and forages. And what’s healthy for our herd and flock is also healthy for our land – growing enough grain to feed all the cattle in our country alone requires a significant amount of water and resources and in our opinion, it’s just not necessary to create meat with superior taste and tenderness.

For us, grass-fed and grass-finished is the ticket to just that. Our cattle and sheep spend their whole lives on our farm and are rotated and grazed across hundreds of acres of pasture without any supplementation of grain. The rotational grazing program we have in place creates a distinct marbling as the cattle and sheep are constantly exposed to the freshest and most nutritious of grasses and forages.

There may also be health benefits to eating grass-fed and grass-finished beef, according to a paper published in Nutrition Journal. Research spanning three decades supports the argument that grass-fed beef has more desirable saturated fatty acids compared to grain-fed beef. It’s also higher in heart-healthy conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and omega-3 fatty acids, offering a better omega-6 to omega: 3 ratio. Grass-fed beef is also higher in precursors for Vitamin A and E and cancer fighting antioxidants.

But don’t take our word for it. We invite you to taste the difference for yourselves and what better way than with our new ground beef sale! Buy any five ground beef packages and get one free!

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