When buying ground beef in the grocery stores, or shopping for steaks at the supermarket butcher, it's easy to forget that the product in your cart once made it's way throughout the supply chain of the food industry. The beef life Cycle is a complex and dynamic process typically originating with calf cow pairs and ending with meat packers throughout the United States. What's so special - or dare we say dangerous - about the typical life cycle of beef in the United States?
In our opinion, the dangers of the beef industry reside in the harsh reality that much of our industry is choked by the handhold of large packers with little to no interest in maintaining community or small-family operations. Questionable ethics and cut-throat capitalism have wrought the cattle industry with one common storyline; the hometown rancher is priced out, and the large cattle conglomerates rule the day.
"What DOES the typical life cycle of beef look like", you may ask?
The typical life cycle of beef begins with calf-cow pairs. Calves are weened from their mothers around 6-8 months of age, and often moved to stocker pastures to gain weight and develop until 12 months of age. Conventionally raised cattle will then move on to the feed lots we have come to know, eating scientifically blended diets designed to build mass quickly. Conversely, some cattle will move from stocker pastures to auction, where they will then travel on to either feed lots or packers. At the end of the beef cycle, most every path converges at the packer whether from conventional feed lots or auction.
"So what does 1875 do differently?", good question!
1875 Beef retains much of the beef cycle within it's grasps, including both calf-cow operations and sustained grazing. Our cattle are born and raised surrounding the places we call home, and grazed on the beautiful grass lands of the Summer Lake, Silver Lake, and Paisley lake beds and hillsides. When it comes time to butcher our beef, we source our packaging at a local operation based in Eugene, Oregon, before returning the product to our communities, friends, and families. By focusing on retention of the various tiers of the beef cycle, we are enabled to provide top dollar for our product and support the communities who have been leading legacies in ranching throughout Oregon for decades.
The beef life cycle is bigger than a checklist or a process, it is indicative of both the bioethics of cattle raising and packaging, as well as the direct relationship between rancher and product-to-table destination.