Foodie Friday: Grass Fed vs Grain Fed

Hi!  I hope you all are preparing for a wonderful weekend.  I know ours is booked with work , t-ball, baling hay, working the garden, caring for livestock and a rodeo.  Lil' man may be making his debut in the mutton bustin...if so I will be sure to post pictures on Monday.  

Today is a big day for this little blog of mine. 
 We are announcing the winners of our first giveaway and beginning another giveaway!!!  

So first thing first!  
The winner of the $25 gift certificate to Cotton Hills Farm is 

Mrs. Janette Deas!!! 

The winner of the Bush-N-Vine Visor is 

Amanda Radke!!

Amanda will now be able to show her support for family farms in South Dakota and South Carolina!

Congratulations ladies!!  I will be in touch with both of you about your prizes!!

This is grain fed Country Fried gravy though :( 

Now onto today's blog topic Grain Fed vs Grass Fed. 
 We have a cow-calf operation on our farm.  

Basically we have cows,

 those cows have a calf, 

calf is weaned, 

we sell the calf, 
the cycle repeats.  

The majority of our calves are sold to feedlots in the Midwest to be harvest for meat.  We do raise some of our calves out for ourselves.  When we do this we have them enclosed in a lot like the one in the picture below and feed them grain.

Recently I have had a couple of conversations with other moms who seem to think that grass fed is a better choice for their family.  That sparked some interest in me as to why they might believe that.   So I did some research.  I went to sources that know cattle to find out the facts.    

Replacement Heifer at Sunset
And basically what I discovered is it is all a choice.  Some cattle farmers & ranchers decide to raise their cattle feeding them grain for a portion of their lives while others feed them on grass.  Each type of beef offers value to consumers, all beef is safe and nutritious.  There are 29 cuts of lean beef and lean beef meets the daily value of 10 essential nutrients (i.e. iron, zinc, and B vitamins).  If you want to know more about the nutritional value of meat check out  We are blessed in America to be able to choose what we would like to eat.  And this is another one of those choices.  

Here's the facts so that you can make and informed choice:

Grain-fed beef is the most widely produced beef in the United States. Grain-fed cattle spend
most of their lives grazing pasture before moving to a feedlot for approximately four to six
months where they are fed a carefully balanced diet that usually includes grain. Feeding cattle
a grain-based ration for a small period of time helps improve meat quality and provide a more
tender and juicy product for consumers.
While cattle are in feedlots, owners and managers ensure they have a balanced diet; access to
clean water; room to grow and roam; and overall, humane treatment. To help improve their
productivity, grain-fed cattle may receive growth promotants that have been rigorously tested
and proven safe. (

Grass (Forage) Fed or Grass-Finished Beef

Grass-finished beef refers to how the cattle were managed prior
to harvest and specifically, to the type of diet the cattle consumed. While most cattle spend the
majority of their lives in pastures eating grass before moving to a feedlot for grain-finishing, grassfinished
beef cattle remain on a pasture and forage diet their entire lives.
In October 2007, USDA published standards that give beef farmers and ranchers specific
guidelines about the type of diet acceptable for cattle qualifying for the “grass (forage) fed”
marketing claim.
• Grass and forage should make up the animal’s diet for its entire lifetime, with the
exception of milk consumed prior to weaning.
• It is difficult to produce large quantities of grass-finished beef on a year-round
basis due to seasonality. For this reason, grass-finished beef can be more
expensive, and some grass-finished beef sold in the United States may be
imported from countries with more temperate climates.
Grass-finished beef may have a slightly different fatty acid profile than grain-fed beef; however,
the difference is not significant. Grass-finished beef can contain more conjugated lineoleic
acid (CLA) than other kinds of beef, but research has not determined whether this results in a
significant health benefit. Research also has shown that a 3.5-ounce serving of grass-finished beef
offers 15 milligrams more omega-3 than other kinds of beef; however, beef is not a primary source
of omega-3 fatty acids. (

I do want to point out that just because cattle are grass fed doesn't make them organic or natural this label just refers to the animal's diet!

 Now that you know the basics about the differences in Grain Fed vs. Grass Fed...check out the Cow Chow game to learn more about what cows eat!  If you have questions about Grass fed vs Grain Fed just ask me.  I will be happy to answer them or you can hop over to CommonGround's site and leave a question there as well.  

Now for the giveaway!  We are giving away a $25 gift card to one lucky reader!  The winner will be announced next Friday May 11!  The one required entry is that you leave a comment answering the following question: 

Do you choose Grass Fed or Grain Fed Beef for your family?  Why?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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  1. I choose grain fed, purely for the cost factor. If they were both the same cost, I might choose grass fed, although I do prefer US grown to support farmers here.

  2. i choose grass fed and hope it becomes more and more affordable as more people demand it! its costly but i cut out other expenses in order to enjoy quality foods! Thanks for a super giveaway!
    My email: anashct1 [at] yahoo [dot] com

    1. Thanks for your comment. I am interested to know what made you choose grass fed over grain fed? Do you prefer the taste? Thanks for participating!

  3. I don't really know much about the difference between the two, so I just buy whatever is cheaper. :^/

    Thanks for doing this giveaway! :) If I win, my email is grigory99 at yahoo dot com

    *crosses fingers*

    1. Grigory what cuts of beef do you normally buy?

  4. We usually raise our own cows on fescue and then finish them on a high energy, low protein forage. Crabgrass, annual ryegrass, cereal rye, wheat etc.are good for finishing as this adds fat for a good finish. If you use a forage to finish with too much protein, there is a sort of "wild" gamey flavor similar to deer meet which is repulsive to some consumers. When finished correctly with high energy forages, there is a great flavor.
    A short list below pretty much sums up the reason we choose grass finished beef. This came from

    "Grass-fed beef is better for human health than grain-fed beef in ten different ways, according to the most comprehensive analysis to date. The 2009 study was a joint effort between the USDA and researchers at Clemson University in South Carolina. Compared with grain-fed beef, grass-fed beef was:

    Lower in total fat
    Higher in beta-carotene
    Higher in vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol)
    Higher in the B-vitamins thiamin and riboflavin
    Higher in the minerals calcium, magnesium, and potassium
    Higher in total omega-3s
    A healthier ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids (1.65 vs 4.84)
    Higher in CLA (cis-9 trans-11), a potential cancer fighter
    Higher in vaccenic acid (which can be transformed into CLA)
    Lower in the saturated fats linked with heart disease

    S.K. Duckett et al, Journal of Animal Science, (published online) June 2009, “Effects of winter stocker growth rate and finishing system on: III. Tissue proximate, fatty acid, vitamin and cholesterol content.”

    1. Thanks for your comment. I would encourage you to also check out they have some great info about the choices of beef.