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The Quality of Beef

Part 1 of What’s Keeping You From Buying Beef?

Ahhh Sunday afternoons.  We affectionately call those “family farm days”.  It’s our day to reset after a busy week and we greatly look forward to it.  We spend the day checking cows, checking fences, checking waterers, working on some type of project, and try to work in some fun.  This time of year, the kids like to fish and look for mushrooms.  Our son has become quite the bass master and looks forward to his weekly fishing trips!  

You might be thinking, why does this matter regarding my quality of beef?  Well, Sunday dinner is a big deal around here.  I typically do a large spread including roast beef and gravy, mashed potatoes, bread, sides, and a dessert.  It’s the one meal of the week when I like to all sit down and enjoy it.  Plus, leftovers aren’t a terrible thing to have around when you farm and work full-time!  We want your family to be able to have the same experience and enjoy some quality Prime Angus beef.  

As proud members of the beef industry, we believe in producing high-quality beef, Prime Angus.  This isn’t something you can go into a grocery store and purchase.  The degree of marbling in our beef is supreme and something we pride ourselves on. 

So how do we ensure quality assurance in our cattle? 

  • Genetics 
  • Feed 
  • Overall health and safety 

Genetics 

We raise Black Angus beef.  Black Angus beef is all about superior marbling.  Marbling is the intramuscular fat content found in each cut of meat.  When talking about Black Angus beef, more fat equals more flavor, creating the most tender, flavorful, and juiciest beef.  Black Angus Beef is also considered to be graded in a class of its own, most easily compared to prime-grade beef on the USDA scale.

Angus beef cattle are specifically bred for an increase in muscle mass.  You might be thinking, why on earth does that matter?  Well the larger the cross-section of muscle mass means you get a higher content of intramuscular fat and a larger section of protein.

We all know USDA Prime beef is the best available grade for purchase.  Years and years of selective breeding allow us to decide which animal will produce the highest and best yields.  In recent years, our cattle line has been graded not just as Prime beef, but as Certifed Prime Angus Beef.   

This ensures that every single steak, roast, or whatever your favorite cut is, packs in the most flavor available.  We constantly strive to make sure we are producing the most flavorful, tender beef.  We want our Angus Beef cattle to gain 3-4 pounds a day for 120 days to ensure the muscle mass and fat content are of the highest quality beef.   

Feed

A well-balanced diet is probably the most crucial element in creating the prime quality grade beef we love.  Cattle are what is called a ruminant, meaning they take in plants to ferment in one of their stomachs to create a fatty acid. This process is commonly referred to as “cud” and the plants that cattle eat can likely not be used for any other purpose.  

Besides grass, cattle enjoy a diet of hay, grain, and supplemental mineral throughout the year.  We prefer our cattle are left to free range but Mother Nature doesn’t let us call the shots!  When there is plenty of rain and sun, mixed grass pasture is our first choice.  In the winter months, we make certain they are well-fed on hay.  

When finishing out our beef for butchering, we fatten them up for 120 days.  They are finished out on a grain mixture.  That mix is made up of dry distillers grain, cracked, soy whole pellets, and alfalfa pellets.  This high-quality grain mixture is what gives meat that wonderful, tender flavor.  No need to fear grain-fed beef, they are always offered pasture along with their grain.  Our cattle enjoy a diverse diet of both grass and grain to produce perfectly tender meat graded at a prime level of marbling.   

Overall Health and Safety

All beef producers are concerned with beef quality assurance.  Consumer confidence is a top priority and animal health is of the highest regard. Our beef is raised without growth hormones and is antibiotic free.  For the benefit of overall animal welfare, we do vaccinate our cattle for a couple of fatal cattle diseases; 

  • 7- way Blackleg
  • IBR
  • Tetanus and de-wormer 

Blackleg is a highly infectious disease caused by bacteria found naturally in soil.  While the disease itself is not contagious among cattle, the spores are.  Cattle can transfer the spores to the soil and then back through the herd.  Blackleg affects both the skeletal and cardiac muscles and is almost always fatal.  It is most easily spread in cattle under the age of 2.  

IBR or infectious bovine rhinotracheitis is also a highly fatal disease that can impact an otherwise healthy cattle herd.  IBR attacks the upper respiratory system of cattle and is extremely contagious.  It acts very similar to pneumonia and causes high fever, extremely labored breathing, mucus, and hematoma to the nasal cavities.  

Tetanus and De-wormer 

Our steers do receive a tetanus shot when they are banded.  This is to prevent infection.  While each operation is different, we have found that banding steers work best for us.  It causes the least amount of infection and discomfort.  Ivermectin is used to de-worm cattle as well.  Worms keep them from meeting specific growth milestones important for high-quality beef, they simply won’t gain weight and put on fat.  

While these are routine vaccines that are standard in cattle, it is important to note that there is always a large window from the time of vaccination to the time of processing.  This is called the withdrawal period.  In our case, it is approximately 12 months.  

Most recently, rumors surrounding mRNA vaccines in cattle have been flooding social media like crazy.  It should be noted, there is currently NO approved mRNA vaccine for cattle.  This is not something we intend to introduce as there are no studies, research, etc. available for this data for cattle vaccines. 

As beef producers, we take the health and safety of not only our livestock very seriously, but we must also consider the health and safety of beef consumers.  I cannot in good faith feed consumers something I would not feed my own family.  And until data proves otherwise, this is the vaccination plan we will continue to utilize for beef quality assurance.

We take beef production very seriously and want to provide you with the highest quality Prime Angus beef possible.  Simply put, you can’t find this type of product in the grocery store.  Our beef is processed when the age of the animal is approximately 18 months of age to allow for superior marbling.  We are lucky enough to work with 2 well-known reputable butchers who cut beef better than you are able to find in the grocery store.  They allow for custom processing and are always willing to work with the customer on specific beef cuts. 

The mixture of grass and grain, and finishing out on grain for 120 days maximizes the intramuscular fat for the highest quality of the beef.  We want the highest USDA marbling scores and always aim for Prime.  Our goal is well-fed beef cattle who thrive in a healthy environment.  So feel good about where your next meal comes from and remember, it’s okay to have beef with us!

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