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American Grass Fed Beef Newsletter

April,  2004
Circulation 20,374

Welcome to the latest issue of the American Grass Fed Beef Newsletter. In this issue, you will find the following:

* American Grass Fed Beef Acquires Processing Plant
* American Grass Fed Association Conference
* Meet the People at American Grass Fed Beef
* Recipes and Great Beef Ideas

Half the challenge of producing outstanding quality grass fed beef is done on the farm in finishing animals on grass pasture.  The other half is in how that animal is handled and processed at the time of harvest

The Whisnant family is proud to announce the acquisition of our own processing plant.  We are excited about now having the ability to have direct control over the entire process, from grass all the way to your grill.  The processing plant will be known as Fruitland American Meat.  It is located in the small town of Fruitland, Missouri and employs 45 and handles approximately 165 animals per week.

Our family has been in the business of producing beef for many years.  As veterinarian and ranchers, we are very comfortable in that role.  Our family takes a great deal of pride in producing what we consider the healthiest, and finest grass-fed beef on the planet.

In order to produce a quality and consistent product, we have addressed genetics, pasture management, and animal handling.  It is only logical to take it one further step forward to include the processing.  

When we began to market our special beef directly to our customers, our world changed.  The bar was raised higher.  We have gotten to know many of our customers personally and consider them part of an extended family. We ship our beef to health conscious families month after month. Our ongoing desire is to produce a higher quality and safer product with each herd.

Hundreds of inquires are sent to us monthly asking questions about our beef and how we raise it.  Our customers are intellectual, have done the research, and are well informed about the health benefits of grass-fed beef. They know the questions to ask a producer to ascertain if the product they purchase is indeed 100% grass-fed (the only way it should be done).  

We constantly get asked about our protocol for growing grass.  Other common questions are about how the product will be shipped to them and in what condition it will arrive.  Equally important questions our customers and potential customers are asked about how the beef is processed.

We all know that much of the scare about the safety of beef has to do with what happens to that beef as it is processed.  It is here that possible contamination can occur.  We have answered hundreds of questions about how our beef is slaughtered and what safeguards are in place to protect the safety and integrity of the grass-fed product.  

We have long believed that the small processing plants that handle animals on an individual basis and utilize hand trimming by skilled butchers were far safer than the factory assembly-line processing plants. From the beginning we sought out a processing plant in which we could have great confidence.  We now own that plant and will personally oversee its operation.  

Now we can assure our customers that we have made every effort to ship the safest grass fed beef on the planet since we now control every aspect of our operation.


The American Grass Fed Association (AGA) is a group of producers, food service industry personnel and consumer interest representatives whose goal is to promote the grass-fed industry through government relations, research, concept marketing and public education.  It was founded in 2003 with partial funding from the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union  and a $25,000 USDA grant to promote the association with producers, professionals, and consumers.

Among the AGA's top priorities is working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture to establish a legal definition for grass-fed and to implement a labeling program that benefits producers to acquire a premium for products that meets the criteria while providing a service to consumers wishing to buy grass-fed products. For more information on the AGA visit:

The American Grass-fed Association held its first conference March 5-6, 2004 in Auburn, Kansas where there were over 100 members and guests in attendance.  The group heard from nationally-recognized grass-fed experts, elected a new board of directors and networked over the two-day event.

Dr. Tilak Dhiman, associate professor Utah State University - Animal Nutrition Department, shared his extensive research on conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) in grass-fed versus traditionally-fed animals.  Higher levels of CLA in the human body are believed to lower body fat, reduce heart disease and lessen the probability of contracting diabetes.

"Milk and meat from animals raised only on forage have the highest levels of CLA," Dhiman told conference attendees.  "Research shows the level of CLA in grass-fed products is 4-5 times that of regular supermarket products."

Jo Robinson, author of Why Grass-fed is Best and Pasture Perfect, also spoke to the group about the benefits of grass-fed products and about a recent taste test she conducted.  Of the 10 steaks tested by professional chefs, eight were rated above a premium grain fed steak.  Chefs rated the meat on flavor, tenderness and juiciness.

"In conclusion, I would say that grass-fed beef can be extremely tasty, meeting or exceeding grain fed beef in flavor, tenderness and juiciness," Robinson said.  "These very limited results also seem to indicate the tastiest beef is aged at least 21 days and comes from cattle that are around 20 months old."

"We can be extremely pleased with the leadership, enthusiasm and ingenuity of AGA members," said Marlene Groves, who was re-elected AGA President by those attending the conference.  "I am confident we have all the resources necessary to grow our organization and establish AGA as the nation's grass-fed voice."

During the conference, members had the opportunity to discuss in-depth details of proposed USDA national grass-fed standards.  The current proposal put forth by the USDA was for a 80/20 rule to define grass-fed.  This proposal came about under the influence of some powerful producers who are currently raising beef on grass and finishing on grain (just like any feedlot), yet advertising as grass-fed beef.  Members unanimously adopted the definition of "grass-fed" as meat from ruminants and milk that are 100 percent grass-fed.  The board and standards committee will also work on standards for poultry and swine in the near future.

In addition to Groves, others elected to the 2004 AGA Board of Directors included:  

Tom Gamble, St. Helena, CA, Vice-President
Carrie Balkcom, Denver, CO, Secretary
Dale Lasater, Matheson, CO, Treasurer
Dr. Patricia Whisnant, Doniphan, MO, Director at Large
Nathan Nelson, Dodd City, TX, Beef Director
Wayne Copp, Auburn, KS, Bison Director
Alan Yegerlehnder, Clay City, IN, Dairy Director
Julie Becker, Mitchell, NE, Goat Director
Meagan Phillips, Mesa, CO, Poultry Director
Virginia Goeke, Viroqua, WI, Sheep Director.

Among other things, board members will research non-grain supplements, such as alfalfa cubes, that are acceptable for grass-fed producers, explore relationships and joint membership opportunities with other agricultural and professional groups, and finish their AGA consumer focused grass-fed facts pamphlet.

The conference was partially sponsored by Mother Earth News and Kansas Farm Bureau.

For more information contact the folks at


When you call or email American Grass Fed Beef, you will more than likely be helped by our customer service representative, Lynette Blackwell.  Lynette has worked at our ranch and in the beef office for 2 years.

Lynette lives with her husband Jim, who is the Athletic Director at the local high school and also coaches Varsity girls basketball.  She has two children.  A 14 year old daughter, Jaysa and an 11 year old son, Bo.

She is quite knowledgeable concerning grass fed beef.  If she doesn't know the answer to your question, she is prompt to ask us.

She handles processing the orders each week.  She sees that we promptly ship our orders, sends customers the tracking numbers and manages our Buyers Club.  She contacts our customers with a follow up inquiry to make doubly sure that everything concerning the order met with the customer's satisfaction.


Spring Beef Roll

2 lbs. lean grass fed ground beef
1/2 C chopped onions
2 T olive oil or butter
2 - 10 oz. packages frozen chopped spinach drained and squeezed dry
1/8 t salt
1/4 t black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F

In a large skillet, sauté the mushrooms and green onions in olive oil or butter until tender.  Stir in spinach, salt and pepper; heat through.  Remove from heat; cool in large bowl.

On a large piece of heavy duty foil, pat the ground beef into a 16-in.x10-in. rectangle.  Spread spinach mixture to within 1 inch of edges.  Roll up starting with a short side; seal seams and ends.

Place seam side down in a 13-in.x9-in.x2-in. baking dish coated with non-sticking cooking spray.  Cover and bake for 50 minutes.  Uncover; bake 10 minute longer or until meat thermometer reads 165 degrees F.  Let stand for 5 minutes before cutting.  Yield 8 servings.

Bacon Topped Meat Loaf

1/2 C chili sauce
2 eggs lightly beaten
1/2 t Worcestershire Sauce
1 medium onion, chopped
3/4 C shredded cheddar cheese
2/3 C dry bread crumbs
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper
2 lbs. grass fed ground beef
2 strips of beef bacon strips, halved

Preheat oven on 350 degrees F

In a bowl, combine first 8 ingredients.  Crumble beef over mixture well, shape into a log in an un-greased 13-in.x9-in.x2-in. baking dish.  Top with beef bacon, bake uncovered at 350 degrees F for 70-80 minutes or until meat is no longer pink and meat thermometer reads 160 degrees F.  Drain if needed, let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.  Yield 8 servings.

Patricia Whisnant, DVM
Grass Farmer and Veterinarian

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