Saturday, November 22, 2008

Lessons From Argentina, Walking Away from GrassFed is Bad

Allan Nation, the man when it comes to pastured finished livestock, blogs about Argentine farms in a perfect storm situation. I encourage you to go to this page and choose "Click Here for Allan's Blog" and read the short note entitled "Argentine Farming In Melt-down."

If you don't have time (it's a really short, easy read) the basic issue is this. Traditionally, Argentine ranchers rotated their grain crops with grassfed beef every few years. This allowed the ranchers to grow grain without the use of added nitrogen as the cattle naturally fertilized the pastures in the off years.

Last year, many looked at soaring grain prices and sold off their cattle to switch to grain-only.

Well, grain prices have dropped and it now costs more to grow the grain crops than the crops are worth. Combine this with some odd-sounding government policies to keep domestic beef costs artificially low and you have a real problem.

Allan doesn't come right out and say this so I will. Pasture finishing livestock can make soil healthy and reduce carbon footprint (and even sequester it). We should be encouraging this and remember this point when others suggest instead that we should stop eating meat altogether.


Jenna said...

i'm sure my hubby is wishing i was the steak lady instead of the health food lady. maybe i can be both? you've been tagged.

SteamyKitchen said...

awesome article!

Chez Us said...

Can't wait to read this article - especially since we are doing an Argentian dinner for New Years eve. Will not be able to fly down there & get the beef but it will be good to have a topic at the dinner table!!

Carrie Oliver said...

Denise, you can get pretty close to Argentine beef if you order from Estancia ( - they have good distribution in the SF area or you can order online. Estancia is Hereford beef raised and finished on grass in Uruguay. (Same breed as shown in the photo here). Beef is Wet-aged 21+ days and it's delicious. Bill Reed, CEO, is a great guy and I'm would be happy to talk to you about your dinner and his beef.

Carrie Oliver said...

Hi, Jaden :-) Thanks very much for the visit!

Curt McAdams said...

I know I'm coming in here late, but I think it's interesting that the biblical principal of resting fields every 7th year really does work well even today. It's like the stock market... you can go for short term gains with higher risk, but planning for the long run and doing things right usually ends up ahead in the end.