100% GRASS
Grass-Fed Beef: Good for the Environment download
Links to Websites

The Meatrix

For an amusing look at the problems with factory farming, be sure to check out The Meatrix, a four-minute online animation that spoofs The Matrix movies while educating viewers about today’s meat industry. The Meatrix has received worldwide critical acclaim and has been honored with more than a dozen major film and Web awards, and it has been translated into more than 30 languages.

Links & Websites of Interest


Site for the American Devon Cattle Association.
Supplier of 100% grass-finished beef.
Site for the Milking Devon Cattle Association.
Site for the newly created North American Devon Association.
Good articles on livestock management.
All about Devons.
A comprehensive descriptions of all breeds.
Temple Grandin designs livestock handling facilities.
American Romney Breeders Association’s site.
Cornell offers information on grazing.


Information on grassfeeding with a list of grass farmers.
Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education, a program of the USDA’s Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service
Site for the University of Vermont’s Center for Sustainable Agriculture
Site of the Northeast Pasture Research and Extension Consortium.
Regional Farm & Food Project, a ten-county, non-profit membership organization of farmers and consumers promoting sustainable agriculture.


Union of Concerned Scientists offers a free monthly e-newsletter called FEED (Food and Environment Electronic Digest), which helps keep you informed about food production and safety issues.
Chefs Collaborative is “a national network of more than 1,000 members of the food community who promote sustainable cuisine by celebrating the joys of local, seasonal, and artisanal cooking.”
An online directory of sustainably-raised meat, poultry, dairy and eggs; enter your zipcode to find sustainable products from farms, stores, and restaurants in your area.
Site for Michael Pollan, noted author and journalist, who writes frequently about trends in food production.
Bear River Valley Beef in Ferndale, CA
Site for Herondale Organic Farm, Ancramdale, N.Y.
The blog of twice-elected Texas Agriculture Commissioner Jim Hightower.

100% Grass-Based Systems

Northeast Agriculture

Agriculture in the Northeast has changed over the years based on changes in the economy. Stonewalls throughout woodlands, representing the boundaries of agricultural fields, are silent reminders of an earlier day. Agricultural history in the Northeast is the story of change, and things are changing again.

New techniques for grass farming offer the possibility for a resurgence of farming in the United States. Intensive rotational grazing or grass farming is a technique that has been perfected in New Zealand and Australia for many years. It consists of using a system of portable electric fence to move animals quite often (even daily) onto a fresh “bite” of grass. This method spreads the manures evenly across the land, gives the best possible nutrition for a ruminant animal, and then rests the land until the next rotation.

As a result, grass is continually being grazed at an adolescent stage when the vitamins, minerals, and protien are at their best. This method requires quite a bit of skill to work with the weather patterns of wet and dry as well as the seasons. What it does not require is much infrastructure: buildings and equipment are kept to a minimum with the major capital costs being fence, charger, and plastic water line and water troughs. These methods are very different from historic methods but have been tried in the Northeast and actually work quite well.

Why do we have livestock at all?
Don’t they just eat the food that would be better utilized by being given directly to people?

Note: The following answer to these questions is from the website of the Department of Animal Science, Oklahoma State University, and is reprinted with their permission.  www.ansi.okstate.edu/breeds/

Agricultural animals have always made a major contribution to the welfare of human societies by providing food, shelter, fuel, fertilizer and other products and services. They are a renewable resource, and utilize another renewable resource, plants, to produce these products and services. In addition, the manure produced by the animals helps improve soil fertility and, thus, aids the plants. In some developing countries the manure cannot be utilized as a fertilizer but is dried as a source of fuel.

Food is, by far, the most important contribution of agricultural animal, although they rank well behind plants in total quantity of food supplied. Plants supply more than 80% of the total calories consumed in the world. Animals are a more important source of protein than they are of calories, supplying one-third of the protein consumed in the world. Meat, milk and fish are about equal sources of animal protein, supplying, respectively, 35%, 34% and 27% of the world supply of total protein.

There are many who feel that because the world population is growing at a faster rate than is the food supply, we are becoming less and less able to afford animal foods because feeding plant products to animals is an inefficient use of potential human food. It is true that it is more efficient for humans to eat plant products directly rather than to allow animals to convert them to human food. At best, animals only produce one pound or less of human food for each three pounds of plants eaten. However, this inefficiency only applies to those plants and plant products that the human can utilize. The fact is that over two-thirds of the feed fed to animals consists of substances that are either undesirable or completely unsuited for human food. Thus, by their ability to convert inedible plant materials to human food, animals not only do not compete with the human rather they aid greatly in improving both the quantity and the quality of the diets of human societies.

Table 1.  Characteristics of Agricultural Land in Various Geographical Regions.

                                                                                   % of Agricultural

                                                    % of Total                   Land that is

         Geographical     Total        Land that is      Cultivated   Permanent

         Region         Land Area      Agricultural         Land      Pastures


                          (1000 sq.mi.)          (%)                 (%)                (%)

         World           50,495               35                    31               67

         Countries       21,176              36                    33              66

         Countries       29,319              34                   29               69

         Africa              8,994               37                   19                79

         Asia               10,334               38                   45               53

         Europe           1,826               49                    55               38

         Oceania          3,254               61                     9                91

         N. America       7,084            27                    46              53

         S. America       6,771              31                     15              81

         U.S.A.               3,524             47                    43              56


Source: FAO Production Yearbook

Table 1 – presents some statistics that are ignored by those who would suggest that we can no longer afford the luxury of animal foods. Only about one-third of the land area of the world is classified as agricultural. Thus, roughly two-thirds of the land area of the world is not suited for any sort of agricultural use because it is covered by cities, mountains, deserts, swamps, snow, etc. Of the 35% that can be devoted to agriculture, less than one-third (or about 10% of the total land area) can be cultivated and produce plant products that the human can digest. The remaining two-thirds of the world’s agricultural land is covered by grass, shrubs or other plants that only ruminant animals can digest. Thus, the inefficiency of animals is not a major concern since they represent the only way these plants can be converted to human food. As the human population of the world increases, it is likely that we will be forced to depend more and more on ruminant animals to meet the increased demands for food.

Thus far, nothing has been said about mono gastric animals. It is true that swine and poultry can be competitors with the humans for food if they are produced by the intensive confinement systems widely practiced in the developed countries. In fact the highest proportion of feed grains and other concentrates, such as oilseed meals, fed to livestock in the United States are fed to swine and poultry. Current grain prices make this profitable. This obviously could change if grain prices increase in the future. However, the high reproductive rate and favorable feed efficiency of swine and poultry would keep them as important contributors to the diets of humans.

Breeds of Livestock Committee: Udaya Desilva and Jerry Fitch