Why Grass-Fed Beef and Lamb - Part 5, Community Benefits
In Part 2 of this series we discussed environmental health benefits to grass-fed farming. Our reliance on perennial pastures and hay fields means we can produce proteins with less diesel fuel and no herbicides (glycophosphate or roundup). Actually our reliance on off farm inputs is extremely low. We manage the land in a sustainable fashion in harmony with our livestock, neighbors and our community. This benefits the community by making a healthy environment for us all to live in and enjoy.
In Part 4 of the series we discussed the benefits to human health. I think we can all understand how it benefits the community if we are all in better health. Our health care system will not be burdened with chronic health related issues from a bad diet, neither will our pocket books be burdened with either the bills or tax bills to pay for those chronic diseases caused by bad diets. Each and everyone of us benefits when we are a little healthier.
I think we can all see that those benefits can be great. Possibly the greatest benefit to Grass-fed is that it is local. We are members of this community. I buy my tractors in Alliance, repair them in Randolph, hire people from Palmyra, Kent, Ravenna and Columbiana. My veterinarian is from Homeworth. My livestock minerals come from a small farmer in Leetonia. Our fencing supplies come from Minerva, along with my hay equipment. I get my hardware in Edinburg; my drainage supplies from Marlboro. We are a local company that supports other local companies.
When the pandemic started there was a meat shortage, why? Because it is not local. The average steak travels farther in the previous year than you did. It has been determined from birth to your plate the AVERAGE distance that meat travels is 1800 miles. That is right, it might be born in Mississippi in February, shipped out west to graze the summer, then to Louisiana to graze the winter, then to a feedlot in Kansas and on to the upper midwest to slaughter. This is where it enters the food distribution system, large processing companies that hire mostly non-citizens had outbreaks of the virus. There are only 5 companies in the US that control 80% of our beef production. With this highly concentrated supply chain there is no resiliency. So as these shops had to curtail production the meat supply disappeared. As a grass-fed producer we are not reliant on the same supply chain and feed lots and grain other producers are reliant on. Second, I know my butcher well, we were able to react to the supply chain disruption and keep you in food. So not only is this additional environmental benefit on not burning all that diesel fuel to ship that steak all around the US, there is the benefit that we can be self-sufficient as a community.
Successful grass-fed farming by its very nature is local, which means it benefits our community. We are not and primarily don't use large multinational companies that don't have a vested interest in this community. We do have a vested interest in this community. I know I got a little preachy here but I believe in what each of us do everyday can either benefit us as a community or not. I believe that you vote everyday with every dollar you spend on what type of world you want. Vote wisely.