Until recently the livestock of this country were fed primarily corn and this has done on feedlots. That means hundreds of cattle standing in a confined space being fed corn to fatten them quickly for the market. The rise of the ethanol industry is changing all that and we are pretty pleased about it. You can read hand-wringing articles such as this one, bemoaning the fact that there just is not enough corn left over for the cattle because it’s all being used for ethanol production.
This development is having two or three fantastic results for all Americans. The one is that due to the rocketing price of corn, the price of feedlot-raised beef is catching up with the price of grassfed beef. This means that making the healthy choice i.e. selecting grassfed above ordinary beef, is going to be a lot easier for consumers. It also means that cattle farmers are seriously looking at forage as a viable farming method.
These farmers may take longer to get their cattle to the point where they’re large and meaty enough to start the long process to your dinner plate. But they also say they save on things like fertilizer and other expenses corn-feeders incur. And grass-fed cattle are healthier, and healthier for you too, the ranchers also say. That’s good for health-conscious folk who love eating red meat, and good news for cattle who naturally prefer being out there on the range grazing or eating grass-based feed than standing in a feedlot being fast- fattened with corn for the market.
Another great result is that with the increase in domestic ethanol production Americans are becoming less dependent on imported fossil fuels. We just do not see any downside to the run on corn for ethanol.