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MSU Seeking Farms for Grass-Fed Beef Research
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Michigan State University (MSU) Extension recently received a three-year grant to test the feasibility of a value-added grass-fed beef chain in northwestern Michigan and is seeking interested producers to participate.


Source: Michigan State University Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Contact: Mindy Maxwell Pratt at 517-432-1555, ext. 223

MSU Extension Seeking 20 Farms in Northwestern Michigan for Grass-Fed Beef Research Project


Michigan State University (MSU) Extension recently received a three-year grant to test the feasibility of a value-added grass-fed beef chain in northwestern Michigan and is seeking interested producers to participate.

The grant is funded by the North Central Region Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education organization of USDA. This research will help pave the way from the pasture to the dinner plate and will involve not only the farms but also butchers, chefs and consumers to develop a new sustainable industry for Michigan.

The Traverse Bay Economic Development Corporation and the Michigan Good Food Charter of the Traverse City area have set a goal of sourcing 20 percent of the food for the Traverse City area from farms within 100 miles of Traverse City by the year 2020. This goal states that the meat portion of the plan should be pasture-based if possible.

The MSU Extension Grazing Team is seeking 20 beef farms willing to begin working toward this goal to develop a grass finishing system.

Below are the expectations for participating farms and what is available through the grant:

  1. Have a beef-producing farm located within a 100-mile radius of Traverse City, Mich.
  2. Complete the two-day MSU Grazing School in September 2012 or 2013 at the MSU AgBioResearch Station near Lake City, Mich.
  3. Complete the two-day MSU Grand Vision Beef Grass Finishing School in 2013 at the MSU AgBioReseach Station in Lake City.
  4. Write and implement a $1,500 mini grant for the farm to research a related grazing strategy or practice in 2013 (mini grants come from the SARE grant).
  5. Collect soil and forage samples from your farm for two years (paid for by the grant).
  6. Complete the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program Phase 1 farmstead assessment for your farm by Dec. 31, 2015. Visit http://www.maeap.org/maeap for more information.
  7. Participate in a grass-fed carcass cutout demonstration at Ebels General Store in Falmouth, Mich., in 2014.
  8. Be willing to host a pasture walk on your farm in 2013 or 2014 if requested.
  9. Participate in pre-, mid- and post surveys and an exit focal discussion survey from 2012 through 2014.
  10. Agree to sell 10 grass-finished steers/heifers to the project for the going local wholesale rate for grass-finished cattle as the final outcome of the grant by the end of 2015.

Note: all registration fees for participants to attend required workshops and mileage for travel to these sessions will be covered by the grant.

In the event that we have more applicants than the 20 openings available, the MSU Extension Grazing Team will select 20 participants from the pool of applicants.

The MSU Extension Grazing Team members in charge of this grant are Jason Rowntree, MSU Animal Science Department; Jerry Lindquist, MSU Extension grazing educator; and Kable Thurlow, MSU Extension beef educator. For more information contact Lindquist at lindquis@anr.msu.edu or 231-832-6139, or Thurlow at thurlowk@anr.msu.edu or 989-426-7741. Eligible farms interested in participating in this research project, contact Jason Rowntree at rowntre1@anr.msu.edu or 517 - 974-9539 for an application.

For more information about this northwestern Michigan grass-fed beef research project or to apply to be a cooperator farm, please visit Michigan State University (MSU) Extension News at http://www.news.msue.msu.edu. MSU Extension News features helpful articles about various topics submitted by MSU Extension experts throughout the state.