Conventional vs. Grass-fed Cattle

The beef industry prides itself on giving consumers a choice. Without our faithful consumers, there would not be the drive for demand of a beef product that our industry continues to see. As an industry, we listen to our consumers, and because of that, we not only ensure our beef is safe, wholesome, and nutritious, but also allows every consumer the choice in beef product they not only prefer, but also feel is best for themselves and their family.

Conventional raised beef and Grass-fed beef are both raised by producers to ensure a savory and enjoyable eating experience. No matter the way the animal is finished, all cattle spend the majority of their lives grazing on grass and eating hay. This is also known as back grounding. After this stage in life, producers decided the best way they believe to finish or feed out their cattle to market weight. This decision is largely based on geographic location in the United States, primarily based on the weather and feed availability. A vast majority of farmers in the Midwest choose to finish their cattle on grains such as corn and silage, primarily because of the geographic location of the Corn Belt as well as the seasonal growing periods. Personally, it is not ideal for my family to grass-feed our cattle because of the cold and snowy winters which stunt the pasture grass growth, so it is not economical to choose to raise the cattle strictly on grass and forages.

cattle in grass

All cattle spend the majority of their lives grazing on grass.


However, in warmer climates, such as in Sacramento, California, grass continues to re-germinate and grow which allows producers to maintain a grass-fed program for their animals. An abundant and array of grass growth as well as climate and water fall is important when a producer chooses to raise and finish his cattle out on grass.

lifecycle card

During the back-grounding phase of the beef cattle lifecycle, cattle graze on grass. The last 4-6 months determine whether cattle will be finished/fed out as conventional or grass-fed.


For our consumers, it is important to remember that conventionally raised beef cattle and grass-fed cattle offer a choice. There is a consistency of beef production, and our main goal as beef producers is to produce a safe, wholesome, and nutritious beef product that no matter the way it was fed out or finished, still provides the body with essential vitamins and nutrients. It is also important to remember that all beef cattle spend the majority of their lives grazing on grass and it is the last 4-6 months, mainly based on geographic and resource availability that determines how the producer chooses to finish or feed-out his cattle to market weight.

The next time you visit the grocery store to make a choice on which beef to buy, remember, all beef is healthy and nutritious and offers your body an excellent source of protein!


All beef is an excellent choice of protein to include in your daily diet!

Above all else, Beef, it’s what’s for Dinner!



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