ABSTRACT This paper reports the results of a broad survey of 149 producers who identify their product as ?pasture-finished? beef. Returns are from 46 different US states and Canada. Survey responses provide information on farm background characteristics, production systems, and marketing. Results show consensus on many points, and diversity on many others. The structure of the pasture-finished beef enterprise is built on direct marketing, niche marketing, source identification, value added, and rising consumer consciousness of health, environmental, and social benefits. There is a need for more attention to the role of animal husbandry in sustainable agriculture. Recent years have seen renewed interest in grazing systems, and a growth in market demand for pasture-finished beef. This is can be seen in popular press and consumer trends. The industrial food system does not take good advantage of the natural characteristics of cattle. In traditional farming systems, cattle perform the useful work of harvesting and concentrating nutrients from outlying pasturelands and transporting them to the human homestead or household. Cattle grazing can be accomplished with minimal material and management inputs.
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