Blog for Rural America

The Center for Rural Affairs, a private, non-profit organization, is working to strengthen small businesses, family farms and ranches, and rural communities. Permission to reprint items from this web log is hereby granted, on the condition that clear credit is given to the original source of the material. If the blog provides information for a story, please let us know by sending an email to

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Grass Fed Beef - Credit Where Credit is Due

Grass Fed Beef – Credit Where Credit is Due

By John Crabtree,, Center for Rural Affairs

USDA has finally proposed an administrative rule that would require livestock certified as “grass fed” receive a minimum of 99 percent of their lifetime feed from grass or forage, increased from the 80 percent proposed in 2002. The proposed rule, which is open for public comment until August 10, 2006, should be approved by USDA forthwith.

Let’s give credit where credit is due. Folks like Chuck and Bev Henkel of Norfolk, Nebraska, among many others, have worked tirelessly to establish a market for grass fed livestock that provides a premium for family farmers and ranchers that produce high quality meat raised in ways that consumers support. Approval of the proposed standard will be a dramatic victory and will ensure that grass fed beef producers are able to maintain their hard earned reputation for marketing a healthy and environmentally sustainable beef product.

USDA’s new grass fed standard is a response to an effort led by the Center for Rural Affairs, Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and other organizations to improve USDA’s 2002 proposal for livestock label claims such as grass fed and free range as well as antibiotic free and hormone free.

We urge everyone to help secure this victory by sending their comments in support of the grass fed label claim. While you are at it, urge USDA to move forward with the other sustainable production labels mentioned above. You can find out more about submitting comments and view a sample comment letter at – – under the action alert on grass fed beef.

post a question or comment here or contact John Crabtree,

Center for Rural Affairs
Values. Worth. Action.


  • At 8:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    What a great article once again John!
    I think that articles like this showing the hard work and perseverance shown by Chuck and Bev Henkel prove that "the little guy" can make a difference.
    I will be making my comments to the USDA and I hope everyone else that reads this article is inspired to do the same.


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