Updated 03/14/2009 08:20 PM
NY Beef Week Seminars travel through North Country
JEFFERSON COUNTY, N.Y. -- When you eat a steak, you probably don't think about what your steak used to eat. But that's exactly what beef farmers do.
Speakers at the New York Beef Week seminar talked to local farmers about a new way to feed cattle- Grass feeding. Most of it's life, a cow eats grass. But within it's last few months, the cow is normally fed grains to fatten it up and give your steak the flavor you like.
"We're used to a tender, flavorful type of product because that's what grain feeding does," said Mike Baker, Beef Cattle Specialist, Cornell University.
Grain-feeding is what most beef farmers use. But there is a new interest in feeding cows grass their whole lives and no grains, called Grass-feeding.
"The major difference is there's a lot less energy in grass, so it takes a longer time to get that animal to the same degree of finish," said Baker.
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Other than taking longer, the beef might have a slightly different flavor. But otherwise, it's just another method of raising cattle.
Grass-fed beef isn't just a theory for seminars. Many local farmers are putting it into action on their farms. But it's still a growing market.
"I think that's a really small niche that really wants grass-fed. I think most people want to know where their food comes from," said Donald Holman, owner of Holmdale Farm.
Holman uses the traditional grain-fed method, but many local farmers are working to make their beef completely grass-fed. The benefit to customers: knowing exactly where their beef comes from.