On his blog, Mercola.com, Dr. Joseph Mercola outlines the dire situation facing small farmers attempting to use traditional agricultural techniques to raise beef cattle and contrasts that with the success of farmers selling locally produced, grass-fed beef. He writes (abridged):
- American cattle rancher Shad Sullivan from North Texas was interviewed by host Patrick Bet-David about the future of the cattle and beef industry
- Sullivan received an email from the USDA in April 2020, stating that it would help farmers to find alternative markets for their harvests, as COVID-19 caused meat processing plants to shut down
- If alternative markets couldn’t be found, state veterinarians and government officials would assist with culls, or depopulation, of the animals; meanwhile, the U.S. continues to import beef from other countries
- Due to the allowance of acquisitions and mergers, four companies — Tyson, Cargill, JBS and National Beef, which is owned by Marfrig Global Foods — control 85% of the U.S. beef supply
- There are now 727,906 beef farms and ranches in the U.S. In 1979, Sullivan says, there were 1.2 million to 1.3 million; he believes that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, one-third of the remaining beef farms and ranches in the U.S. may disappear after 2020 — maybe more
One way cattle farmers have differentiated themselves in these difficult times is by converting to grass fed, regenerative farming. Allen Williams, Ph.D., a sixth-generation family farmer,12 has consulted with more than 4,200 farmers and ranchers in the U.S. on soil health, cover-cropping, livestock integration, grazing management and other regenerative agriculture practices.
Many of the farmers and ranchers Allen has worked with over the past 20 years were in deep distress, trying to farm and ranch conventionally, and failing. Many of them were on the brink of losing their farms, which had been in the family for generations. By teaching them regenerative land13 management techniques, many of them were able to rebuild and prosper financially.
Regenerative farming pioneer Will Harris,14 who runs White Oak Pastures in Bluffton, Georgia, is another example of how you can accomplish the conversion from conventional to regenerative agriculture and thrive financially. He produces high-quality grass fed products, including beef and other animal products.
The Grassfed Exchange is one resource for ranchers, who can learn how to produce the highest quality beef using 100% grass-based production models.15
On an individual level, the best way to support U.S. farmers is to seek out locally produced food as much as possible, including grass fed beef, and buy it directly from the farm or a farmers market whenever you can.
Dr. Joseph Mercola
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