Cows are food.
Do you ever think about where your food comes from? More specifically, where your beef comes from…the journey it takes from birth to your plate? Probably not, I know I didn’t. All I knew is if my ribeyes were on sale at the grocery store and what night of the week I was going to cook them.
And the final product of beef on my plate was just plain delicious.
I had the wonderful opportunity to be sent to Omaha Nebraska by the Florida beef council. The Nebraska beef council wanted a group of us to see the journey of a cow.
What an interesting journey it is.
I have a whole new respect for beef farmers. I have never in my life met a group of people so proud of what they do, it was heart warming.
The first day of the Nebraska beef tour, we visited Greater Omaha Packing, a meat processing and packing plant. I really did not know what to expect. I am sure 99.9 % of the population has never been inside a meat packing plant.
It was EXTREMELY educational and I am glad I had the opportunity.
I cried…. I did, I cried. I was the only one that did. Like full on tears streaming down my face. I didn’t cry because the process was inhumane or abusive, because it WAS NOT. I just suppose the reality of the cute cow with batty long eyelashes actually needs to be killed and processed to make it to my plate.
From the time the live cow enters the facility until every portion of that cow has been processed, wether it be the meat we eat, to the membrane of the heart being stretched out to be used in heart transplants takes only 1 minute and 45 seconds. The process was mind boggling. Did seeing the process stop me from eating beef? Nope, sure didn’t. It made me realize that the cute cows are raised not to be cuddly, but to feed our mouths. I learned to separate my feelings.
We also got to experience feed lots. We traveled to the Albers feed yard and the Loseke Farm. Basically what happenes at a feed yard is the farmers buy small cows and feed them until they are ready to go to market. Cows are their livelihood. They take care of those cows like their children. You might think of a feed yard with cows just packed in small pins or yards with no where to move. So not the truth. Cow are natural herding animals. They like to stick close together. They are living in huge yards with plenty of room to roam around, they just like to snuggle I suppose..
Caring for cows is a very scientific job.
So many things are tracked by a computer. Each cow obviously has an ear tag with a number, and everything is tracked, any treatment that is done on that cow, or if they become sick, or even if they move pins, it is tracked. The farmer wants to know every single aspect of that cows live. The food they eat is also scientifically monitored. The cowboys go out every morning to observe the cows to make sure they are all happy and healthy. If one is acting not quite like themselves, they bring the cow in for observation. They truly want their cows to be healthy and happy.
Visiting the Wagonhammer Ranch was a beautiful sight. It was located in the Sandhills of Nebraska. The Sandhills have a much different landscape than the corn fields and cow pastures, they have rolling hills of grasslands, it’s quite beautiful. The Wagonhammer registered Angus herd of 400 momma cows that produce performance tested bulls and heifers for commercial cattlemen throughout the central US.
The Town and County Veterinary clinic was Ohhhhh so very different than my vet clinic. My vets office offers cute little dog bones and leashes while this vet clinic offers calf feeding tubes all sorts of large animal assescories.
Oh and they even have birthing suites..sometimes even cows need to have c-sections.
So next time you are eating that hamburger or filet, stop and think about where it may have come from. It’s a very interesting journey.