Montana Raised Beef- Things you should know

Due to Covid 19, many Americans learned of the challenges the food industry faced and is still struggling with.  Whether it is baby formula, toilet paper or any other essential product we use on a daily basis, we have all had to adjust what we use. One area that has many concerned is our staples.  Bread, milk, eggs, vegetables, fruits and proteins.

Farmers markets are a great way to find those products in the summer, but what should you do the other 9 months of the year?  You can raise your own or develop a relationship with farmers and ranchers in your area. I was raised on a working cattle ranch and was taught at an early age how to raise, fatten and process cattle.  Since this is an area I am comfortable with, I am able to supply my household with beef that lasts a full year.  I am lucky to have the knowledge and the ability to do this.

So, what do you need to know when it comes to buying your protein directly from a producer?  Here is a starter list of questions:

  • Cost- what will the total cost be for the final product that will go into my freezer?
  • When will it be ready?
  • How many pounds, how big of a freezer will I need?
  • What was it fed?

The last question opens up several other conversations when it comes to beef.  Grass fed vs. Grain fed.  What tastes better? What is healthier?  According to the  NATIONAL CATTLEMEN'S BEEF ASSOCIATION both grass fed and grain fed beef provide many benefits.  The key to deciding for you is to test some of each and determine what you prefer.  Ask around and see which rancher in your area is willing to sell a small sample size for you to decide.  I prefer, grain fed using grass hay as well as a mixture of corn, oats, barley and molasses to finish.  Why, that is how my dad taught me.