We have all heard about it. I see the movements of people’s ever changing dietary habits toward plant based diets. These diets are much like what my cows eat making it plant based meat.
This article may not be what you are thinking. I am a strong believer that I don’t reserve the right to judge others eating habits and what they feel is beneficial to the body. However, I wanted to share my thoughts about plant based meats and the very critical role plant based beef cattle are to converting millions of acres of grass into a usable product to feed our nation.
All cattle have plant based diets. They eat an abundance of forage, grain, and plant based ingredients. Cattle are a lot different than humans because they have a “ruminant” digestion system. They have four compartments in their stomach, which enables them to digest things that humans cannot digest. One of the main things we are taught about as Animal Science Majors are the digestive systems of ruminant animals. They can digest cellulose, a main ingredient and nutrient of all plants. Humans cannot digest this, which means humans get a very low amount of nutrients from cellulose, unlike the cattle. The cattle turn something indigestible to humans into something that provides a lot of energy and nutrients to humans.
Cattle are incredibly unique for this aspect, without this, as the graph below shows, close to 25% of the United States’ land would be without an economically sound use. Rangeland without management and at risk of wildfires makes up close to 25% of the United States’ land. This land would otherwise be useless, and cattle act as great “property managers.” Not only do they graze the land, but they also fertilize it as they go. This results in a huge benefit for the land. Cattle will not overgraze the land if properly managed, which makes the land more plentiful in following years.
Cattle are the true plant based beef. They use resources, such as land not suitable for other industries, to create a product that is nutritious for humans. Beef provides essential nutrients that fuels are bodies. The below graphic shows the Big 10 that plant based beef provides for humans:
Here are a few nutrition facts about beef, specifically beef’s role in child development.