I came upon an article by Marion Nestle that concisely explains how our food supply is subsidized by our taxes. I think it is worth reading. http://www.foodpolitics.com/2011/04/externalized-costs/
There are some comments posted by readers following the article that are also interesting. One that is noteworthy refers to the fact that when our government has sent cheap or free food to developing nations, it has actually displaced local farmers there because they could not compete and stay economically viable against “free” food. Thus our handout became catalyst to the demise of local agricultural systems. This acutally created more poverty and hunger. There is now alot of work being done by private foundations such as the Benson Institute to help local farmers in these areas get back to productivity and self sufficiency in food production. As the farmers get viable again, the whole community benefits.
We are not immune from the negative and disastrous effects of government “safety nets” and handouts in our enlightened “First World” country. Local production of adequate food is central to our freedom and independence.
My son recently sent me a link to an article on grassfed vs. grain fed beef that one of his clients had sent to him. http://www.cnn.com/2011/HEALTH/03/29/grass.grain.beef.cookinglight/index.html#
I believe that there is a common perception that “fat is bad”. Let’s clear that up a little with the idea that too much fat is bad, and the wrong kind of fat is bad. This debate about fat often gets pulled in to the grass fed vs. grain fed debate.
It is quite possible to “finish” a beef animal on grass and legumes. It just takes longer than grain feeding. Labratory testing has confirmed that grass fed animals have fat higher in Omega 3 fatty acids, and Conjugated linoleic acids (CLA). See my other blog articles and our website www.bradysbeef.com for discussions about this.
Here at Brady’s beef, we have been selecting for breeds of animals that will finish with external fat cover and also internal fat or marbling within the muscles. We also actually bring the animals to a finished state before harvesting. By doing this, the eating experience is enhanced, the cooking is easier and more forgiving, and the overall nutritional value is much greater.
The great variation in qualities of grass fed beef comes because beef ranchers are not clear about the end product that their customer desires. What the ranchers do know is that they have a certain kind and amount of forage, and they have to pay bills and meet expenses. When they try to meet their own needs by directly selling an animal to a customer who is unclear about what they really want in a meat cut–the resulting meat product becomes highly variable.
What really helps us ranchers is to have a customer that cares enough to get to know us and our product. Then we can produce a final product that is great dining experience for the consumer and a profitable enterprise for the rancher.