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Grass-Fed and Grass-Finished Livestock Production

Grass-Fed and Grass-Finished Livestock Production

Helping to keep Working Landscapes Intact

(p.95) Spotlight 5.1 Grass-Fed and Grass-Finished Livestock Production
Stitching the West Back Together
Gary P. NabhanCarrie BalkcomAmanda D. Webb
University of Chicago Press

In recent decades, declining ranching economies have returned fewer food dollars to producers. Ranchers have fewer assets with which to invest in the long-term protection of their land, and many have sold their property for development. Beginning in the 21st century, some ranchers turned to the emerging niche market of grass-fed and grass-finished beef. While the definition of these terms is imprecise and benefits somewhat debatable, consumers have embraced the commodity and by 2010, certified grass-fed beef sold for three times the price of grain-fed beef. Farmers benefit by receiving a greater proportion of the consumer dollar spent on meat, and less impact on their land. Thus, not only do ranchers gain more income during an era when production costs are rising and profit margins thinning, but the protocols associated with certified grass-fed production are consistent with the ethics of valuing the integrity of working landscapes in a holistic manner.

Keywords:   grass-fed beef, grass-finished beef, ranching economy, niche market, working landscapes, commodity

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