Grass Fed & Finished, All Natural Beef

For someone trying to make healthy or responsible choices with their food, the language beef producers use can be extremely confusing. That's why we here at Brown Paper Beef spend so much time explaining exactly what we do and how we do it. You can find that information here on this page, in the tabs along the top and by following the context sensitive menus at right.

Please take some time and browse around our site, then see our order page if you think Brown Paper Beef might be right for your family.

You can also contact us directly. We're happy to answer your questions!

Grass Close Up

Grass Fed Beef

In the past the term grass fed was completely unregulated. In 2007, the USDA regulated the term to mean beef that is fed only mother's milk and grass during it's lifetime. Despite this ruling, many producers still use the term grass fed even though their animals are finished on grain. Many producers who use it this way state it explicitly, as in “grass fed, grain finished”. Many do not.

In addition to this confusion, the official USDA "grass fed" designation can refer to beef that is closely confined in feedlots and fed exclusively baled hay. The animals can still be implanted with hormones, fed antibiotics and steroids, treated with chemical pesticides, etc.

We do none of those things. Brown Paper Beef meets and far exceeds the USDA grass fed technical requirement.

Grass Finished Beef

The vast majority of beef produced in this country are “finished” on grain. This means that during the last 90 to 120 days, they are confined in a feedlot and fed grain, supplements, etc. Grass finished means that during this time period, the animals are fed grass and not grain.

The term grass finished is unregulated so it can mean whatever any given producer wants it to mean. For example, it could mean animals that are confined in a feedlot, treated with chemical pesticides and implanted with hormones, but only fed grass hay.

For us, grass finished means that our animals are fed only grass that they graze themselves in our pastures (unless the snow gets too deep - see below) and are not treated or implanted with anything.

Stockpiled Brome Grass
Stockpiled Brome Grass

Stockpiled Pasture & Hay

We use stockpiled grass in our pastures to feed our beef in the winter months. Stockpiling is the practice of setting certain pastures aside and allowing the grass to mature and go dormant. These pastures of "standing hay" are then used to graze our beef through until spring brings things to life again.

Another advantage of stockpiled grass is that since it is still standing, it rises above the snow! It takes a pretty good snowstorm, over a foot of snow, before our animals can't graze. If that happens, we will feed them baled hay in the pasture, but only until the snow melts. If you live along the Front Range of Colorado, you know that the snow melts fast, so we rarely need to feed baled hay for more than a few days per year.

Minerals & Vitamins

Vitamins and minerals are necessary for the health of our cattle in the same way that they are for humans. Vitamin and mineral deficiencies can and do cause serious problems in cattle. All ruminants (cattle, deer, elk, etc.) seek out mineral "licks" which can be anything from a mineral laced spring to an exposed rock face to certain types of plants.

Ruminants like deer and elk are free to travel many miles to a known mineral source when they feel that they aren't getting enough of one thing or another. Cattle don't have that luxury in most cases; the neighbors frown on our cattle grazing through their vegetable gardens!

We are lucky in that we have an artesian mineral spring on our property and we often see deer and elk using it, as do our cattle. Nevertheless, we still choose to provide our animals with mineral blocks or "salt licks" placed around the property which they are free to use when they feel the need.