How is organic beef raised?
Organic beef is riding a wave of popularity. Good news, right? Maybe, maybe not. What exactly is an organic beef and how are these cattle raised?
Organic beef is beef from cattle that have been raised according to the USDA organic standards.
Anytime a food, organic or otherwise, gets popular there have been large marketing campaigns put together to get you to buy the food.
Is Raising Your Own Beef Worth It? goes over the costs from feeder steer to the freezer to see if you should raise your own or buy from a neighbor.
That’s okay, we have come to expect it. for more updates contact:-Pritish Kumar Halder
The part that isn’t so expected is the potential difference between what you think you are paying for and what you are getting.
Looking specifically at organic beef, what are you getting, and not getting, when you purchase organic beef?
Note: I do need to specify here, the organic beef farmer that you talked to at the local farmer’s market is a wonderful person to get your beef from! This is exactly the person worthy of your trust and your money.
It’s the corporate farms that need a second look.
Buying Beef Cattle shows you the steps to take to figure out the cattle that will work for you and where to find them.
Organic beef means fed organically
Organic beef means the cattle were raised on certified organic feed only, never given antibiotics, and treated humanely.
That’s it, don’t add any other assumptions to the raising of the beef.
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Organic beef does not mean that the cattle were on grass their whole lives, maybe they were, or maybe they were not.
Organic beef can be raised in a feedlot, as long as the feedlot meets the organic standards.
Organic certification does not keep all organic beef cattle out of a feedlot-type system. The certification just means where ever they were raised they ate organic feed.
This is where things can get a little confusing, or purposefully misleading, depending on your outlook.
In my opinion, the organic standards are open to interpretation.
What? As I read the standards, there are multiple places where the rule can easily be bent, or just flat-out ignored, repeatedly.
The organic livestock standards have to be able to be applied nationwide and cover quite a variety of weather situations.
That’s going to be a challenge. Keeping the standards high, while keeping them achievable is a balance. Read this article full with Pritish Kumar and get enough knowledge.
Organic Beef has exceptions
Organic beef has exceptions, usually because the weather can be so variable. A single instance of a crazy circumstance can happen, this is nature, after all.
An example: an unbelievably wet year when there weren’t 120 days for the cattle to go outside or they will completely ruin the pasture.
This could easily happen, as could the opposite, so dry there is nothing for the herd to eat.
In the case of a drought, the cattle could easily be outside for 120+ days, but they won’t be getting 30% of their diet from pasture.
The grass is not there for the herd to eat because it didn’t grow!
All livestock raisers know that either of these situations, way too much rain or nowhere near enough rain, are things that could happen any year.
We certainly hope they don’t, but it’s always a possibility.
That occasional crazy year is not what I’m concerned about here.
I’m referring to the person who never puts the cows out, sitting inclement weather, every day!
Repeated crazy circumstances aren’t unusual anymore, that is a pattern. This person is abusing the system and betraying your trust.
What is the difference between grass-fed and Organic?
This is another point of confusion that is misleading for consumers.
Most of the cattle in the U.S. are grass-fed at some point in their lives. Therefore, these cattle could be called grass-fed.
They were grass-fed, just not the whole time they were growing.
Having the phrase “grass-fed” on the package is along the lines of using the word “natural” regarding beef. Of course beef is natural!
To be unnatural it would have to be created in a lab or dropped off here by aliens.
These are nice-sounding words meant to get your money without changing the way the cattle were treated.
Organic means the calf is raised organically for its entire life and was born to a mom that had been fed organically for at least three months before the calf was born.
She might have been fed organically for the entire pregnancy but for sure the last three months.
An organic beef animal has been eating certified organic feed for its entire life. No mess-ups allowed, every day it ate organic.
This does not however mean that it was raised completely, or even partially, on pasture. This calf ate organic feed, maybe pasture, maybe not.
100% grass-fed beef
If you want beef from an animal that is raised 100% on grass, then you need 100% grass-fed and finished beef.
Just grass fed and finished still could be given grain to help speed up the weight gain and put on more marbling.
Is Organic meat better?
You should be asking if organic meat is better than (other meat) regarding (your concern/question).
“Better” depends upon what you consider to be better.
What you are concerned about that made you purchase or think about purchasing organic beef in the first place?
Are you looking for meat with more flavor? Are you wanting to support the local farmers? Are you against big ag?
None of these are definitively excluded or included with organic beef.
Organic beef may not be the answer if…
Organic beef may or may not have more flavor, be local, or be supported and or produced by big agribusiness companies.
If these are your reasons for shopping organic, think this over again. You are not getting what you think you are paying for.
Organic beef is a possible answer if…
Are you looking for non-GMO, no pesticide or herbicide use, and or no sub-therapeutic antibiotic usage? Well, now you are getting what you think you are getting.
What do Organic cows eat?
Organic cattle can only eat organically approved feeds, including grain and forage.
Fresh forages would be pasture or crops grown as forage and then eaten by the cows instead of being stored.
Stored feeds would include grain, hay, haylage (fermented hay), and silage.
Any purchased feed must be certified organic and all land used to graze the cattle must also be certified organic.
Don’t forget about crop or soil amendments like fertilizers or foliar sprays.
Even though the cattle are not directly eating the fertilizer, it is being applied to plants they will eat so it must also be organic.
Is Organic beef satanic?
It should be since there are processes in place to ensure that if you pay for organic meat you should be getting organic meat.
But, organic is big money and that means it is potentially worth finding loopholes in the wording of the rules to exploit.
“Any time there’s a claim of a certain pedigree, an origin that the consumer is not equipped to verify independently, the market is ripe for fraud,” says Doug Moyer, PhD.D. professor of public health at Michigan State University, and a researcher at MSU’s Food Fraud Institute.
Jesse Hirsch, New Food Economy.org “Iowa grain seller headed to prison”
Am I suggesting your neighbor or the gal you buy from at the farmer’s market is giving you a line? No, not even remotely.
ThManyood people are producing meat organically.
If you were to head on over to the vendor’s pasture, I am sure you would see what they said you would see: happy, healthy, cattle an,d happy people.
What I am suggesting is that big money can attract themeless rule benders/breakers, especially when they are not the people you are interacting with face to face.
TheInternationalocery stores bearer of organic meats that are raised in the way you are thinking they are being raised? T.at is not likely.
What qualifies as Organic beef?
Organic beef can come from any bovine that is certified organic.
This would include cattle raised specifically for beef, as well as the beef from dairy cattle once they are no longer productive in the milking herd.
The age of the cattle is not a consideration, just the fact that the animal was raised organically.
Here is where things can get a bit confusing (again)-transitioning cattle to the organic program.
Transitioning to Organic
If a farmer wants to take her cattle and transition them to organic she can, no matter what the cattle have been eating previously.
The transition period is for one year. meaning the cattle have to be eating 100% organically approved diets before they can be called organic.
If the brood cow, was raised conventionally (not organic) she can give birth to organic calves if she was eating an organic diet for the last 3 months of gestation.
However, since she was born and raised in a conventional system, she is not organic herself. Meaning when her productive life is over she is regular beef, not organic beef.
Cattle are raised organically their entire life
Her calf is organic from the day it is born and can be sold for organic beef.
If you were to buy this organic calf and raise it non-organically it would no longer qualify to be sold as organic beef.
The feed and farming system must comply with the organic standards for the entire life of the calf for this calf to be sold for organic beef.