Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Raising or Buying Beef

Over the years, we have purchased several feeder steers from our neighbor who raises beef cows. We buy them at about 500 pounds and raise them on our pastures until they are finished.

With our sheep numbers growing and work that needs to be done on our pastures, the last two years we have opted to purchase finished steers from the same neighbor, instead of raising our own. We choose to use a local, reputable meat processor for the butchering of the steer.

There are many benefits to buying a steer.

1) Money Savings 

We save money when we  buy a steer (half/whole) over buying it by the package at the local food markets, especially the more expensive cuts of meat.

2) Better Quality 

When we buy or raise our own meat, it has always been superior to what we have found at our local markets.

3) Supporting local farms

I like to know where my food comes from and how it has been raised. When we raise our own, I know exactly how the livestock is treated and what it has been eating. If I can't raise it, I like to support the local farmer who can. Our neighboring farmer, raises steers that are fed primarily on pastures/grass, which is what we prefer.  I also know he can use my hard earned dollars, more than the local grocery.

I always find it interesting when I read post in homesteading groups that declare, if you don't raise it or butcher it yourselves, you shouldn't eat it. I have a different mindset. I think raising and processing your own meat are important, useful skills to have. We have done it!  But, I have no problem supporting local farmers and butchers. We have purchased chickens, hogs, steers, turkeys etc. from other homesteaders/farmers. Grateful, that when I can't (or simply don't want to) do it, I can support someone else who can/does.

Maybe I am just not a hard core homesteader.  Just a city girl who moved to the country, happy that her kids have a connection with where their food comes from. I see many people trying to be more self sufficient, and getting discouraged because they can't do it all. I say, do what you can and shed the guilt when you can't do it all.

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  1. I agree, Sandra, it's great to raise and butcher your own meat, but if you don't, that doesn't mean you're not a homesteader. Even the early homesteaders still bought things and I suspect they always will. We've grown several heads of beef, but it's a pain for us come slaughter time (argh) so we now purchase our beef locally from those who do a better job of it than we do.

  2. Exactly! Nobody can be and do everything. We are each gifted in different ways. Also in order to raise any given livestock needs to be set up to accommodate those critters. If you tried raising waterfowl and beef in the same quarters, at least one of the two, if not both would fail. I so agree - we buy beef from a neighbor too:)

  3. We have talked about raising our own many times but have never taken the plunge. Except for chicken.


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