Tour of Lincoln County farms provides opportunity to learn about grass-fed beef operations
For the Tomahawk Leader
LINCOLN COUNTY – About 30 people participated in a tour of beef farms in Lincoln County on Saturday, June 5.
The tour, sponsored by the Lincoln Co. Farm Bureau, was focused on grass-fed, rotational grazing of cattle.
“Grass is the natural food of cattle,” a release from the Farm Bureau said. “While grass-fed beef takes longer to mature to market weight, the beef produced is lower in fat, high in antioxidants, and tastes great. And the benefits of buying local, getting to know who produces your food and who processes your meat, gives buyers confidence in the quality and availability of their food supply.”
The tour began at Tom and Linda Daigle’s farm, Twin Creeks Cattle, in the Town of Harrison. Owner Tom Daigle has been an advocate of grass raised beef for years and has hosted many pasture walks for people who are interested in learning more about the process, the Bureau noted. His brother Paul, who works for the Marathon County Land and Water Conservation Department, was also there to answer questions.
35th Assembly District Representative Calvin Callahan participated in the tour of the Daigle farm as well.
The participants learned about the environmental benefits of grass-fed, rotational grazed beef, the release explained. The animals rotate between pastures, changing each day to a new pasture, which allows the natural fertilizer to be evenly and slowly distributed throughout the pastures.
“Each pasture plot has time to recover, so the growth is richer and more diverse than in a conventional large pasture situation,” the release stated. “Perennial grass means the ground is not plowed up each year, preserving soil and allowing the pasture to soak up water that otherwise would run off into adjacent surface waters. This helps prevent flooding and slows nutrient loss to the groundwater and surface water.”
Pasture grasses use less commercial fertilizer, fewer insecticides and fewer weed control chemicals than the grain fed to today’s mass produced beef, the release said.
The Bureau noted that another benefit to using grass-fed local beef is “the confidence having a freezer full of meat brings to your family.”
Laurie Groskopf, Tour Coordinator, explained that during the COVID-19 pandemic, when meat got scarce and prices were unstable, having plenty of meat in the house freezer provided the serenity that there would be no shortages in the family diet.
“The cattle themselves are also raised in a healthier environment than the traditional feed-lot where market cattle are ‘finished’ by being fed grain,” the release said. “Pasture-raised beef live their lives outside, which is natural, and have their natural herd to rely on for company. “
“I visited the second farm, Jerry and Stephanie Conlan’s farm in the Town of King, during calving,” Groskopf recalled. “What an exciting thing to witness, and to my surprise, Stephanie explained that the cow approaching the new mom calf was last year’s calf. A multi-generational bovine experience! That was an eye opener.”
“Learning about where your food comes from and experiencing a real farm is not something many people have a chance to experience these days,” the Bureau stated. “We hope to make farm tours available in Lincoln County and surrounding counties each year, and surely do appreciate the Daigle and Conlan families giving up a day to help others learn about the benefits of grass-fed, rotational grazed beef.”