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Know Your Meat, What does Grass Finished Mean?

Most people have heard of grass fed beef, but not everyone has heard of grass fed and grass finished. Additionally, most people don’t know what the health benefits are, especially heart health, finishing on grass provides. We believe it is our duty as producers to help educate people, and dispel the myths surrounding what is labeled “grass fed” beef, while keeping our customers informed about where their beef comes from, how it was treated, and what it was fed during its lifetime.

Myths surrounding grass fed beef

There is a lot of misinformation about what label “grass fed,” that you see on meat in the grocery store, as it is not defined or controlled by the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture). While the label may sound like the animal has been raised on pastures and finished on grass, what is not always clear or disclosed is that even with a “grass fed” label, the animal can be finished using a diet of things other than grass.

Options to finishing beef

The finishing process is where you will see the difference between the beef we offer and the vast majority of beef you will find in your typical grocery store. While grass fed beef may spend the majority of their lives grazing, the finishing of the animal is not ambiguous. The majority of the beef that started on grass may still be finished in feedlots on grain and corn. The finishing process helps to fatten up cattle before slaughter, especially when introduced to feedlots and space confinement. Though it may seem like a simple thing to raise cattle and finish cattle exclusively on a grass fed diet, it is actually fairly difficult and not very cost-effective- and thus not commonly practiced. The old saying, “time is money,” translates over to beef in most productions. Factory like finishing conditions, with a diet of grain and corn and added hormones, lead to a quickly produced fatty beef.

We believe the “low and slow” method produces a superior product. Our beef is never sent to a feedlot. Our animals graze on our pastures from birth to the moment they leave our ranch to be sent to you.

How is grass-finished beef different

Grass fed & grass finished beef is typically leaner and less fatty compared to conventional beef. The animals are eating a more natural diet, and, just like people, a more natural diet equates to a healthier animal. Grass finished beef has less unhealthy fats like Monounsaturated Fats and Omega 6s than grain or corn finished beef. Additionally, it has more good fats like Omega 3s and Conjugated Linoleic Acid. Studies have shown that grass fed beef also contains more Vitamin A, Vitamin E, as well as Vitamins B1 and B2. It has also been found to be richer in calcium, magnesium, potassium, and iron.

The good fats from Omega 3s play a critical role in heart health, as they reduce blood pressure, blood clots and inflammation. Additionally, they raise “good” cholesterol. If you are trying to maintain good heart health, grass fed and grass finished beef is an excellent addiction and staple to your diet.

Our animals live happier, are free to graze where they want and aren’t ever locked on a feedlot where sickness is common, and freedom is nonexistent. While the beef may be leaner, we find that our flavor is not sacrificed as a result. It's clear to us that the benefits are twofold: the customers we sell to are getting a high-quality product straight from our pastures that is healthy and tasty, and our animals get to live the highest quality of life.

Our Promise

We control every aspect of our beef production so you can be confident in knowing exactly where your food is coming from; when we say grass fed and finished, we mean just that. While you can not always trust a label at the grocery store, you can trust West Cattle Company. We will continue to provide the highest quality grass fed & grass finished beef along with our pasture raised pigs. We can provide answers to anyone who wants to know where their meat comes from, and who care about how the livestock is treated. We love what we do, and we will continue to live the legend and share it with you!

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