A report by the Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture at Iowa State University shows Iowans would be willing to pay a little more for beef and dairy products raised the old-fashioned way. Researcher Rich Pirog says half of the people surveyed said they’d be interested in “pasture-raised” products. He says the animals are raised on grass or pasture most of the season, and that is supplemented with silage or hay in the winter. The animals are not given any grain or animal byproducts. They also are given any antibiotics or growth hormones. Pirog says this method produces meat that’s not the same as you normally find.He says the meat had a different taste to it, it’s leaner, and that’s what producers sell. He says the producers that push those attributes have seen an increase in sales. He says the products are desired for their health benefits. He says pasture-raised products are lower in fat and cholesterol than conventionally-raised beef. He says the research is not conclusive, but he says there are indications the meat is also higher in the types of acids that help reduce heart disease. Pirog says pasture-raised products could be another niche market for Iowa producers. He says the demand for the products is stronger on the east and west coasts, and he says the demand has increased after the confirmation of “Mad Cow” disease in the U.S. Pirog says the Iowa survey was done before the discovery of mad cow, so that was not a factor in the survey.
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