Choices of Beef
Navigating the meat case can be a little confusing these days, but the good news is that all beef is safe, nutritious, and wholesome! Beef farmers and ranchers are proud to offer a variety of choices to meet changing lifestyles and different nutritional needs. They have adapted their practices to provide consumers with the grain-fed, grass-finished, certified organic or natural beef they desire. Each of these kinds of beef offers specific value to consumers who have different tastes and preferences.
There have been numerous claims made recently about grass-fed beef being more nutritious than grain-fed beef. Like all kinds of beef, grass-finished is naturally nutrient-rich and provides better nutrition than many alternative food choices. However, when compared to grain-fed beef, a 3.5 ounce serving of grass-finished beef contains only 1/10 of a gram more of omega-3 fatty acids than the same amount of grain-fed beef. All beef, no matter how it's raised, is an excellent or good source of ten essential nutrients we all need every day, such as protein, zinc and many B-vitamins.
A common misperception is that hormones in beef are unsafe, when in fact, hormones used as growth promotants have been safely used by beef producers for more than 50 years and continue to be regulated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Years of scientific research studies, government review and frequent evaluation of growth hormone use in cattle show the technology is safe for animals and humans. This advancement in technology has allowed beef producers to provide nutritious lean beef at a cost consumers can afford. While each type of beef offers a specific value, typically price and flavor are the core variations.
Ultimately, consumers dictate the actions of the beef production chain by determining what kinds of beef they want and at what price they are willing to purchase them. All beef starts with one of the 800,000 American producers whose livelihoods depend on producing a safe, wholesome and nutritious product tailored to the needs of consumers. Regardless of what kind of beef you choose, the safety promise is guaranteed by the beef producers' vigilance on farm, the inspection of every single animal by a public health veterinarian and the safe food handling at restaurants, grocery stores and even our own kitchens.
Pasture to Plate
Cattle farmers and ranchers are not only producing beef for consumers across the state, they are feeding their own families. Every step of the way - from the ranch, to the feedyard, to the packing plant, to the grocery story, and finally, to the dinner table - there are dedicated men and women working to ensure a safe and wholesome beef product. U.S beef is the highest quality and safest beef in the world.
Today's beef production system allows U.S. beef farmers and ranchers to provide a year-round supply of safe, wholesome and nutritious beef at an affordable price. Modern beef production technologies represent beef producers' continued commitment to responsibly producing food at a price consumers can afford.
More than 800,000 beef ranchers across the country work hard each and every day to safely, humanely and efficiently raise cattle that become wholesome and nutritious beef.
Beef farmers and ranchers constantly evaluate their production practices to make sure they are bringing safe and wholesome beef to the dinner table. Beef production technologies such as antibiotic usage are based on sound science and are subject to strict government review. If approved, these products are regularly evaluated and only remain in the marketplace if they are continually proven safe. This safety promise is guaranteed by beef producer vigilance on farm, public health veterinarian inspections and safe food handling at restaurants, grocery stores and even our own kitchens.
Beef Industry Facts
- Agriculture is a major contributor to South Dakota's economy, generating $25.6 billion in annual economic activity.
- South Dakota ranks fifth in the nation for number of beef cows. The state's 1.69 million head is 5.6% of the U.S. total.
- South Dakota is home to more than 15,000 beef producers
- In 2012 the beef industry had a direct, indirect and induced impact of $4.484 billion on the state's economy
- South Dakota has 3.95 million head of cattle - nearly five beef animals for every state resident
- "Beef cattle production represents the largest segment of American Agriculture."
- Production of meat animals responsible for $66 billion to economy
- 900,000 Cattle Operations in the US
- 87.7 million head of beef cattle
- 55.5 pounds per capita consumption of beef
- 97% of farms are family operations