This is where Rudio Creek Ranch families can share their tips and experiences with our beef, find other families to share beef with, post their favorite recipes, or get updated on happenings with Rudio Creek Ranch. To post comments or request connections please email Tami by clicking here. Tami will confirm necessary information with you and get it posted to this location on our site!
Here is an article written by one of the owner's daughters. We wanted to share her insight.
Grass Fed Beef Vs. Commercial Beef
By Chandler Redding
In every state, there exists a “farm” where smoke billows, gray in the sky. Where cows are subjugated through a life with only seeing the color brown—brown ground, brown feet, brown hungry bellies pushing against each other. These cows are compacted into confined stalls, shoved through passageways and forced to live where no creature should even have to stand. In a few small towns, in the middle of nowhere, where cows roam and grass grows, there exists a different kind of farm. The grass is the color of green that almost seems fake, and the smell is sharp in your nose. A creek runs through the mountains where the cows graze and visit often to submerge their hooves and dip their shiny noses. Birds sing their happy songs and cows trot from pasture to pasture munching on their fresh spring meadow.
Idealistic meadows seem too good be true. This enchanted image is unimaginable in our over- industrialized society. Do we ignore the moral dilemma that we have with ourselves and what’s on our plate? Is this because we have trained everyone around us to avoid any realization that our society treats animals poorly, especially consumer products like beef?
Amongst the different beef Americans consume on a regular basis, most often the meat comes from a company like Tyson. The life of that animal is completely different than that of one who lives on a small cattle ranch. Life for a factory animal is brutal. On most occasions their lives start out in a feedlot and continue living without grazing rights, in disheartening buildings, surrounded by other sickly creatures. Their confined living quarters cause them to pass diseases and perpetuate their unhealthy living conditions. The meat produced at a feedlot is mixed and mingled with the meat of thousands of different cattle. As a result, cross-contamination is more likely.
Commercial companies also disregard a cow’s natural dietary needs. Cows are ruminants, which means grass is their primary source of food—or should be. They are animals that have four stomachs, all of which are very sensitive. When the animals live at a commercial farm they are usually fed a strict grain-only diet. Grain and corn have never been a natural source of nutrition for a cow. Beef growers have found grain to be cheaper and more efficient for weight gain. The result of grain fed beef is the bacteria Ecoli growing in the stomachs of the cows. Beef companies have discovered this, but instead of changing the diet of the animal, the meat is bleached in order for it to be eatable.
Another destructive aspect of commercialized beef is the effect is has on the environment. Because animals are confined to small areas, immense amounts of manure collect. Carbon emissions enter the air and cause the overall area of the factory to be contaminated. In the article, How Our Food Choices can Help Save the Environment, Steve Boyan states… “Livestock now produces 130 times the amount of waste that people do. This waste is untreated and unsanitary.” The result of this is devastating. The waste is disturbing our waterways, killing animals that live in them, and also contaminating the water we drink. The effects of a commercialized cow farm is much more harmful to the environment than a wide spread cattle ranch.
Families all over the country don’t realize exactly what they are feeding their children on a regular basis. Moms go to the grocery store and buy beef to bring home to their children knowing if they pair the meatloaf recipe with a salad it is most likely a pretty nutritious meal. People with high cholesterol are usually advised not to eat red meat. My grandpa, for example, who has high cholesterol, thinks that any red meat might cause him to drop dead. Little does he know that rather than the issue being “red” meat, it’s the processing of the meat that is the real culprit.
My personal knowledge and experience with grass fed beef used to be minimal. I knew that the meat I was consuming on a regular basis was most likely unhealthy because I have watched things like Food Inc. and read books such as Chew On This. Both opened my eyes to what I had been shoving in my mouth. Admittedly that didn’t keep me from making a difference in my life or my diet. Many Americans put it on the back burner, focusing on more important life changing things going on in their lives. This used to be my way of excusing it until my parents bought an eastern Oregon cattle ranch, 6 years ago. My family and I now consider ourselves to be grass fed cattle ranchers. We take special precautions to ensure the health of both our cattle and that of the people who choose to eat it.
Grass fed beef is humanely treated and much healthier for the consumer. Grass fed beef farmers carefully monitor the stress of every animal. When their stress levels are high, lactic acid is released into their systems and we then consume those stress hormones. When cows eat their natural diet and are free to roam over large areas, they are leaner and produce more Omega 3 fatty acids. Grass fed beef actually has more Omega 3s and good cholesterol than chicken and almost the same as salmon.. Another health benefit of grass fed beef is the amount of vitamin E it contains. Most Americans are deficient in vitamin E because our diets have very few sources of vitamin E. Grass fed beef has four times as much vitamin E compared to commercialized beef. Some feedlot companies have been giving their cows vitamin E supplements but grass fed beef still twice the amount. The reason vitamin E is so important for humans and cows is because it helps the brain, lungs and heart all stay healthy. Both the cow and the consumer benefit from the process of grass fed cattle farming.
Rudio Creek Ranch (my family’s ranch) like most grass fed ranches, also takes special pride in specific efforts to make the life of a cow less stressful. For example, we cold brand our cows, which is painless compared to the flaming rod most cows get on their sides. This helps in the reduction of stress and allows our product to be more sellable to overly conscious buyers.
All over the country people are discovering the guilt free choice of grass fed beef. Small farms make less money and have fewer cows, but they feel better about what they are giving to the community. In the 1990’s when people started discovering the facts about grain feeding cows, small farms stopped sending their animals to feedlots. People have been discovering more and more facts about the destruction of the cow when they go to the feedlot. “Each day that an animal spends in the feedlot, its supply of omega-3s is diminished.” Some modern grass fed beef farmers are discovering the prows to a hormone free and also growth hormone free cattle. They stay true to the reality that the more natural the growth process of the animal the happy and healthier the cow.
This knowledge has unfastened my mind to the reality of how people want to make a difference in their lives by buying pure, grass-fed beef. I preach the words that are in this very essay all summer and I have justified why it’s so important. Consumer products in the United States today have overtaken things like small Saturday markets, homegrown vegetables, and organic eating. Although we have pushed these types of things to almost extinction, I have noticed that some people want to stop the extinction in its path. The food we eat and the decisions we make have the power to change the food industry. Human beings are intended to eat meat, and since the start of our kind, we have been consuming animals for survival. We are not designed to eat the beef we eat today. The saying “you are what you eat” is and always will be true in the sense that we can’t allow ourselves to be healthy without knowing what goes into our food. This vicious cycle will never stop unless individuals stand up and start taking control.
The only smart, healthy, humane, and conscientious choice is and always will be grass fed beef. Although small grass fed farms are stunted by the commercial beef growers, they are doing their part to stay true to the natural diets of both cows and consumers.