|Photo by Lucius Fontenot|
|A happy cow at Gonsoulin Land & Cattle|
Local grass-fed beef is gaining popularity nationally and Acadiana is following suit. Locally pastured beef producers Brookshire Farm, Gonsoulin Land & Cattle and Rolling R Ranch are seeing an increase in pastured beef sales because of the many benefits to our health, economy and environment. And consumers are beginning to take interest in the treatment of the cattle they are consuming and who is raising it as well.
“I feel like our family benefits in so many ways from buying local meat,” says Megan Romer, a mother and local foods consumer. “The meat we buy locally comes from animals who have been raised and slaughtered humanely, fed the correct food for their species — chickens eat grubs, cows eat grass, and so on. Local meat is the healthier choice, and it aligns better with our morals.”
Stores are also beginning to notice an increased consumer demand for local pastured beef. Recently, Rouses Supermarkets began selling Gonsoulin Land & Cattle beef at 18 of their stores. Traditionally these products have only been available from farmer’s markets or through direct order from the farmer. “The availability of our beef in a supermarket will make it easier for consumers to purchase healthy, local products,” says Shannon Gonsoulin, a veterinarian and owner of Gonsoulin Land & Cattle.
Brookshire Farm, Gonsoulin Land & Cattle and Rolling R Ranch are all raising their beef hormone- and antibiotic-free. Grass-fed cows are less stressed because their bodies digest grasses better than grains. Grains alter the pH of the cow’s manure causing a breeding ground for E. Coli, which is commonly linked to food-borne illnesses and outbreaks because manure is a popular soil fertilizer for the fruits and vegetables we eat.
For Brookshire Farm co-owner Anne Blanchet, raising cattle is a science. She plants her pastures with native grass species and carefully selects refined forages, which help to enhance the taste of the meat. “Pastured beef’s distinctive flavor comes from healthy soil, nutritious plants, clean water and the weather seasons,” says Blanchet. “The flavor of [our] beef is enhanced by our management practices. Our animals are selected to be able to fatten on grass.”
In addition to consumer health, the local economy and environment are shown to benefit from beef raised and purchased locally because money is being kept within parish and state boundaries and going back into the pockets of Acadiana residents. And meats raised within Acadiana are not trucked long distances, decreasing the carbon footprint of the operations.
“We know every cow in our pasture and many of the consumers who purchase our beef,” says Gonsoulin. “It is a very rewarding process to know that the beef and associated revenue will stay in our region and benefit our community members’ health and the economy.”
Tyler F. Thigpen is a wetland ecologist and president of Acadiana Food Circle (www.AcadianaFoodCircle.org), a community-based nonprofit that connects local food producers to consumers.
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Black Friday shopping begins; Pope visiting Turkey; oil prices decline and more national and international news for Friday, November 28, 2014.
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A divided 3rd Circuit Court of Appeal reversed a Lafayette district judge’s ruling absolving the co-owner of a New Iberia accounting firm of liability in an embezzlement case.
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By striking a deal to lessen the blow of health insurance changes on state workers, school employees and retirees, Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration lowered the volume of criticism but gave itself and local school boards a new budget headache.
With the airport tax coming up for a parishwide vote in about a week, the Broussard City Council and its mayor have come out in support of the proposal.
Protesters rallied peacefully in several Louisiana cities in the wake of the Missouri grand jury decision not to indict a police officer in the fatal shooting of Michal Brown.
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The U.S. rep billed LSU for work allegedly performed on the same days Congress voted on major legislation and held important committee hearings on energy and the ACA.
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Bill Cassidy cast an early ballot Tuesday, seeking to draw renewed attention to a race that has fallen off newspaper front pages and away from people's minds as they plan holiday meals and shopping schedules.
A Lafayette woman faces up to 20 years in prison for running up more than $1 million in unauthorized charges to her company credit card.
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State police say a 47-year-old Lafayette man, who collected more than $83,000 in disability benefits, is accused of operating two businesses out of his home at a time when he claimed he had no income.
Battered all night by Baltimore's relentless pass rush, Drew Brees could feel his protection collapsing and Terrell Suggs getting ahold of him as he urgently unloaded a pass to the right flat toward tight end Jimmy Graham.
After a convincing defeat at the polls on Nov. 4, Earl “Nickey” Picard has decided to let bygones be bygones with his former right-hand man Brian Pope, announcing his support for his former employee’s runoff bid to become Lafayette’s next city marshal.
Saturday the athletic department did everything possible to ensure the 2014 Ragin’ Cajun seniors remembered fondly their last home game. Rain and lightning never arrived but turbulence did in the form of the Appalachian State Mountaineers.
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