But, for the few that do, a near-vertical, uphill battle exists. Trusting a label to scrutinize a farm, feed regiment or agricultural management system can be treacherous at best, and deceptive at worse. With the new de-regulation of words such as “grass-fed”, the task of deciding which box to check at the voting booth with your precious dollar has become as mind-boggling as a four-way stop in downtown L.A. (I know, I always have to ask my wife for help with who goes next?)
And now, LOCAL is on the chopping block, due to a loophole in the Country of Origin Labeling Laws (COOL) allowing the words “product of the USA” to be placed on beef that is only packaged here, not raised, or slaughtered in the USA.
Ever wonder how all of a sudden “grass-fed” showed up in all the major stores, online technology companies (notice I did not use “Ranches”) like Butcher Box suddenly popped up overnight? Or, how all the mega-chain grocers, overnight had Local “grass-fed” from a farmer nearby?
The answer is simple – it wasn’t “grass-fed“, nor was it local.
15 – The number of petroleum caloreies required to produce, ship, and serve a single calorie of conventional beef
1.9 – The amount required for a local, grass-fed and finished operation, like SonRise Ranch to produce the same calorie of beef
Somewhere in between – the number of calories to ship “grass-fed” beef to companies in the US from Australian, Brazil and Argentina to well meaning American consumers who believe they are supporting a Local Farmer or Rancher
- Stop local desertification spread – occurring at such an alarming rate that if not stopped soon, our grandchildren may not even know what grassland is. As Adam Khan of regenerating grasslands.com states;
- Local dollars stay local and expand local farms – At present, of the total food dollar spent only 12 cents enters the pocket of the person(s) who actually grow it. When Local food systems are patronized, this increases significantly (as much as 800%)
- Local Accountability – if the food you purchase is not palatable, improperly raised, or environmentally destructive, then you get to say so! How refreshing. A feedback loop is created when your dollars are spent locally. This helps, a wise farmer, get wiser. Conversely, if you don’t like the way a certain proprietor is conducting farming operations (like feeding Soy to pigs, or Corn to Cows), you can boycott them and compelling them economically, to change their ways – or, suffer the consequences by losing market share to those who “do it right”. It’s a direct vote!
- Local processors benefit from your dollars – do you ever hear horror stories of processing plants that slaughter 500 animals in one hour? Our processor employees 14 hard working , true craftsman and crafts-women, proud of their trade and locally integrated into their communities to process perhaps 25 animals – per week! That means that the process of killing is done in a much cleaner, more humane way.
Click this link and join the 900 plus other folks who feel strongly that a rule change is necessary, forcing the regulating authorities to require country of origin labels on grass-fed beef products to be accurate and not deceptive.
Here is the comment we placed;
"Extremely Destructive to small and medium, local, environmentally conscious producers working hard every day to restore a rapidly degenerating ecosystem -
We are a small family producing Grass-fed & finished Beef in the southwest, where desertification is swiftly expanding. We practice pasture based livestock, regenerative agriculture and management intensive grazing. We have lost a significant market share since 2006 to foreign beef labeled as product of the USA. The COOL loophole of labeling beef processed in the US as product of the USA is both deceptive and destructive.
Well meaning folks believe they are supporting LOCAL Farms by purchasing product(s) grown and raised in the USA - not a farm in Australia!
If the Australian, Brazilian and Argentine farmers wish to restore and rebuild their ecosystems – great, let them. However, American consumers should not be duped into thinking they are restoring soils, supporting local economies, and stopping desertification here in the USA when in fact, they are just lining the pockets of JBS, Perdue, and Cargill (who collectively, are destroying the earth at a rapid rate though their aberrant practice of using CAFOs to raise animals).
Please, immediately require an accurate country of origin labeling requirement. Our family has worked hard, for many years, to carve out a market share in the Beef industry – albeit a small one. This is eroding, not only our local ecosystems, but our hard work as we lose business to an inferior, overseas product with 3x the carbon footprint.
This must stop – you will destroy the small, local, American grass-fed operator who is sequestering carbon and restoring the environment right here in the United States."