In just a few short weeks, the freezer will be overflowing with Dot Seven beef. Beef that was given the highest level of care from birth until death will nourish our bodies for a long time to come. The more I learn and immerse myself into the ranching lifestyle, the more gratitude I have. I’m so proud that my family raises safe, nutritious beef for myself and others to consume. I am proud of the quality of beef we are producing (more on that later). But, perhaps the most rewarding part of this lifestyle is my growing understanding and appreciation for the end of the life cycle. I know that must sound so strange but it’s true. As a kid, I hated the fact that cattle had to die in order for me to enjoy a hamburger or a steak. I preferred to only be a part of caring for the animals while they were alive. We can probably all agree that death is a complicated topic but that it is most definitely the circle of life. If it weren’t for my immersion into the livestock industry, I’m not sure I wouldn’t still be slightly uncomfortable with the subject.
Death sucks. There’s really no getting around that. Although, at the wise old age of 30 (ha!), I now have a different perspective on death as it relates to the beef I eat. Cows are amazing creatures. Yes they can be dirty, smelly, and possibly run you up the side of the fence when they’re trying to protect their baby calf… but in the end they give their life in the most noble way so that we may sustain ours. I truly believe cows were put on this earth to make use of the land where we cannot plant crops. As humans, we spend our lives searching for our purpose here on earth. Cows are born with a purpose. Their life directly corresponds to the quality of ours and for that I am so thankful. Because of this understanding, (that I believe most ranchers have) we at the Dot Seven assume greater responsibility to treat these animals with first-rate care the entirety of their life. We owe it to the animal just as much as the consumer.
The steer calf in the picture above was born on the Dot Seven and was the first calf of the Fall 2014 calving season. He spent the first seven months of life with his mother, was then weaned from her and moved to another field of native grass for the next six months. From there he went to the feedlot to be finished on a ration (diet) that included grains. My family prefers the taste and health benefits of grain-finished beef; the more marbling* the better!
**Warning: The pictures below this line may be graphic to some. If you do not wish to see what a carcass looks like hanging in a meat locker, this would be a good place to stop. But I really hope you don’t :)**