Grass-Fed Beef Nutritional Analysis for Consumer Education and Labeling

2013 Annual Report for FNC13-912

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2013: $22,260.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2014
Region: North Central
State: Iowa
Project Coordinator:
Kristine Jepsen
Grass Run Farm, Inc

Grass-Fed Beef Nutritional Analysis for Consumer Education and Labeling


WORK ACTIVITIES As outlined in the project proposal, we have collected and delivered for analysis three samples of 12 raw grass-fed beef items across three weekly harvests, resulting in nine samples of each cut to be analyzed by Iowa State University’s meat laboratory. Each of the three harvest dates represents cattle from a participating producer/farm. Sampled items include: 1) Ribeye (boneless, trimmed) 2) Strip Loin 3) Top Sirloin 4) Chuck Roast 5) Top Round Roast 6) Peeled Knuckle/Sirloin Roast 7) L-Trim 8) S-Trim 9) 75/25 grind 10) 80/20 grind 11) 85/15 grind 12) 92/8 grind We determined these items by reviewing overall volume of product per head of beef, overall market demand for and awareness of these items, and overall marketability of the resulting nutritional data – the trim products are widely salable as components of many further-processed items that would benefit from accurate nutritional data. The specifications for sampling were determined by consulting members of the laboratory staff and communicating closely with the professional meat processor involved in selecting and collecting the samples. We have also discussed with University personnel how best to document this research so that it is publishable in scientific journals of animal science and nutritional analysis, as well as in popular media, all with the University’s credentials and history of scholarly contribution in these areas of science. RESULTS In general, we have learned just how much communication is required to accomplish analysis that is without precedent. It took us many weeks longer to determine and coordinate the collection of samples than we projected, partly to ensure our cattle harvest schedule was aligned with the intent of the grant, and partly to ensure that the processor collecting the actual samples could educate all involved staff about the sampling protocol to isolate those variables the lab needed for scientific validity and eliminate variables that would negatively impact the results, such as inconsistency of sample size or positioning on the raw muscle. FUTURE WORK PLAN We anticipate receiving results from laboratory analysis in August 2013 (representing 95% of our project budget) and will begin publishing findings immediately, including the recalibration of nutrition panels in the marketplace and providing harvest-specific data to collaborating producers, creating a metric to consider nutritional value as it relates to carcass yield, grade and production ration. OUTREACH We have been talking about this work almost daily since it began and have cultivated several audiences anticipating our findings – grocery stores, nutritionists, distributors, other grass-fed beef producers, end customers, and members of the media. We are also active sponsor-participants in one of the grass-fed industry’s largest events – The Grassfed Exchange conference in August 2013 – where collaborating producers expect to share details of their participation. We are also looking at conferences and symposiums in 2014 to present the data, including the annual Protein Summit. To best disseminate our results as takeaway media, we are creating a template for the infographics and narratives that will accompany the standard nutrition panel.

Objectives/Performance Targets


Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes


Wayne Rasmussen
Cattle Producer
GIOP Livestock
86331 535 Ave.
Plainview, NE 68769
Office Phone: 4025823656
Brian Buessing
Cattle Producer
BB Cattle
2990 Granite Rd
Axtell, KS 66403
Office Phone: 7857362238
Ryan Jepsen
Cattle Finisher
Grass Run Farm, Inc
2712 Hoover Drive
Dorchester, IA 52140
Office Phone: 5634191380