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Grain Fed Cattle


Missouri ranks second in the nation for beef production and it's safe to say that Missouri's beef industry is a major part of our states economy. This morning, K-S-M-U's Katie Hummel introduced you to a farmer who raises grass-fed cattle, a new alternative approach to cattle production. Now, we look at the traditional, grain-fed cattle farming process here in southwest Missouri.

O.D. COPE CALLS HIMSELF AN OLD-FASHIONED COWBOY.

ASIDE, FROM HIS RODEO TITLE, THOUGH, HE'S A CATTLE FARMER IN BARRY COUNTY, MISSOURI.

WHILE SOME CATTLE PRODUCERS ARE TRYING NEW METHODS, O.D. HAS A MORE TRADITIONAL APPROACH TO CATTLE FARMING.

O.D. SAYS HE DOES RAISE HIS CATTLE ON GRASS' UNTIL A CERTAIN POINT

AND O.D. FERTILIZES HIS PASTURES, AS WELL.

HE SAYS HE HAS TO IF HE WANTS TO STAY IN BUSINESS.

AND SOME FARMERS BELIEVE THAT THINGS LIKE ANTIBIOTICS, VACCINES AND FERTILIZERS ARE HARMFUL TO CONSUMERS OF BEEF.

BUT O.D. BELIEVES THAT ANTBIOTICS AND VACCINES ARE AN ESSENTIAL PART OF CATTLE PRODUCTION.

BUT SOME GRASS-FED FARMERS LIKE RICK HOPKINS OF MARIONVILLE, MISSOURI CONTEND THEIR BEEF IS HEALTHY FOR CONSUMERS.

BUT O.D. SAYS HE DOESN'T SEE ANYTHING WRONG OR DIFFERENT WITH GRAIN-FED CATTLE PRODUCTION.

HE SAYS IT'S BEEN DONE THIS WAY FOR YEARS WITHOUT ANY PROBLEMS.

BUT GRASS-FED CATTLE PRODUCERS DISAGREE AND SAY THEIR BEEF IF FLAVORFUL.

AS FOR THE HEALTH BENEFITS'GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS SAY GRASS-FED IS NO BETTER THAN GRAIN-FED.

LAURIE GARMON IS THE ACTING DIRECTOR OF POLICY IN THE AG BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT DIVISION AT THE MISSOURI DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE.

GIVEN THAT, IT'S UP TO CONSUMERS TO DECIDE WHICH TASTE THEY LIKE BETTER AND HERE IN SOUTHWEST MISSOURI, THERE ARE OPPORTUNITIES TO TRY BOTH GRASS AND GRAIN FED BEEF.