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In The Heartland
Missouri Grows Grass

So Why Do Americans Eat So Much Feedlot Beef?


Rick Hopkins 

Missouri is one of the leading states in forage based agriculture.  Missouri has 12,600,000 acres of grassland, 11% of all US pasturelands. Missouri has 3,720,000 acres of hay lands, producing 6,657,000 tons of hay. The Conservation Reserve Program represents 2,000,000 acres of Missouri grasslands.

Livestock sales represent 57% of Missouri's agriculture market value totaling $4,260,000,000. Cattle make up $2,697,000,000 of agricultural revenues ranking Missouri second in the United States with 5% of all cattle operations located in the state. 

There are 110,000 farms in Missouri. This total includes the 69,000 cattle operations equaling 4,350,000 head of cattle and calves. Cattle on feed represent only 2% of all Missouri cattle. Missouri cattle producers (grass farmers) represent 58% of Missouri's annual farm income.

With all of these significant statistics, why do Missouri cattlemen continue to allow their cattle to enter the feedlots?  The answer is not as clear as you might think.

In 1930, Warren Monfort and a couple of associates capitalized on the availability of surplus grains by having the feed shipped to the cattle instead of shipping the cattle to the feed.  They are credited with conceiving the idea of confined feeding of cattle.

The cattle industry was quick to adapt the idea of raising calves until weaning age, backgrounding on available forage such as wheat pastures or corn stubble, and moving into the feedlot for finishing on grains and byproduct feeds.  The economics of this process work as long as grain production and waste byproducts are subsidized.

What does this mean to you, the consumer?  It means you have already made a partial payment on the beef, pork, and poultry you purchase in the markets.  And what do you get for your tax dollars and hard earned income?  You receive undernourished and inadequately inspected meat and a host of added chemical residues and micotoxins.

Cattle are ruminant animals.  Ruminants are grazing animals such as cattle, sheep, goats, deer, and giraffes. They perform impeccably on a proper diet of grasses and legumes.  Livestock confined in a feedlot require additional pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and synthesized supplements to stay alive long enough to be fattened and slaughtered.

So why do Americans eat so much feedlot beef?  Because corporate greed has given us so few choices.  We now offer you a choice.  American Pasturage, Inc. is a family run business producing, raising, and delivering to you the most healthful beef available.


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