That’s A Lot Of Manure…

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I know that’s what some of you have been thinking when you’ve been reading my On the Ranch posts, I have had some correspondence to that effect anyway. You may believe I was fed a bunch of crap from the industry and am just regurgitating it. I’ll let you in on a little secret though…I’m actually quite a smart cookie, and believe it or not, I can think for myself. Gasp!

These posts are written simply to share a side of the beef industry that consumers rarely see. I don’t expect any readers to become a beef eater because of it if you aren’t already one. In reality I’ve had a lot more questions and good feedback than negative. I went into this tour knowing that I would get those types of reactions on some of the more controversial subjects, but I assume like me you can think for yourself and make your own decisions without being disparaging to me as a person.

So if you are one of the nearly 74% of people who say they are interested in knowing more about how beef is raised and who raises it, keep reading to see what happens to the real manure that is a natural biological result when you have thousands of cattle in a feedyard.

I have to tell you I have a very sensitive sense of smell. When I received the invitation for this tour my family pretty much laughed and told me to keep a bottle of smelling salts or a clothespin in my pocket to ward off the smell of the feedyard. Before I left I had all but perfected breathing through my mouth for a better part of a day! But interestingly enough, I didn’t find it ‘smelly’ at all, and I attribute that to the fact that the T&E Cattle Co.’s feedyard was very clean. I mean I’ve seen teenagers rooms messier than that feedyard!

One of the reasons Nebraska is the largest supplier of beef in the United States is that they have the right conditions all in one state to raise cattle. Grazing land for the initial part of the cattle’s feed and plenty of good land to grow the crops for the grain portion. To that end the cattlemen contain the manure that is ‘generated’ and it is used as a natural fertilizer on the crops.

When thinking organic we tend to think in terms of food, but manure is an organic fertilizer, and supplies essential nutrients to grow not just feed crops but our food as well. It actually generates fewer greenhouse gas emissions than synthetic fertilizers do.

Feedyards are regulated by the EPA, both for how their manure is applied to crops and to protect the water supply. They are not legally allowed to discharge any pollutants into the water, and need to have a precise plan of manure application rate to the crops to minimize the chance phosphorus and nitrogen from the manure could affect surface water. They also have to control runoff from the fields to waters. Steep fines are given to violators so feedyard owners invest in their operations to make sure they’re adhering to the requirements.

I have one last post to go up in my On the Ranch series, this is a fun one, because it’s all about family and the community. If you’re interested in seeing how ice cream can be made with the help of a bull semen container you’ll want to check it out!

I was taken on a tour sponsored by the Beef Checkoff with a group of influencers and experts to get a first hand look at where consumer’s beef comes from.  All expenses were paid, however all opinions in the posts are my own and were not swayed by that.

3 thoughts on “That’s A Lot Of Manure…

  1. I'm not sure I'll read the ice cream article because it sounds really gross! I am a new reader so I haven't read the whole series. It seems like you're enjoying it and that's all that matters!

  2. @Jayne – LOL, really it's not gross at all 🙂 I haven't written it yet, but that will be the last one in the series when I post – so stay tuned!

  3. I love cow poop. It makes my garden grow. As for those who feel differently about the cattle industry, no one is forcing you to eat beef. If you feel that your meat is not being made safely, don't buy it or better yet, grow your own.

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