Health Benefits of Eating Grass-fed Beef

Wait – what?! Did you say, health benefits of eating red meat? But haven’t we been told that “a diet high in red meat and saturated fat… blah blah blah.”

Here are the facts concerning grass-fed beef consumption being associated with health benefits (backed up by the scientific studies, if you’re interested):

Grass-fed beef tends to have a higher nutritional profile compared to conventionally raised beef, containing higher levels of:

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids: particularly alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) – which are beneficial for heart health and play a crucial role in reducing inflammation;
  • Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA): a type of fatty acid associated with various health benefits, including anti-cancer properties and improved body composition;
  • Certain vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins A, C, and E, and antioxidants, compared to grain-fed beef;
  • Lower total fat content than grain-fed beef.

What’s more, it is becoming increasingly clear that the link between saturated fat intake (the kind of fat found in all beef) and increased risk of heart disease is not supported by scientific evidence. According to Teicholz (2023) (emphasis added):

“The idea that saturated fats cause heart disease, called the diet-heart hypothesis, was introduced in the 1950s, based on weak, associational evidence. Subsequent clinical trials attempting to substantiate this hypothesis could never establish a causal link… [but] were largely ignored for decades… Subsequent reexaminations of this evidence by nutrition experts… have largely concluded that saturated fats have no effect on cardiovascular disease, cardiovascular mortality or total mortality…The global re-evaluation of saturated fats that has occurred over the past decade implies that caps on these fats are not warranted and should no longer be part of national dietary guidelines. Conflicts of interest and longstanding biases stand in the way of updating dietary policy to reflect the current evidence.”

So there you have it! Don’t worry too much about your saturated fat intake, and when you do choose to eat foods that contain saturated fat, look for options – like our Wisconsin Meadows 100% grass-fed beef – that have lots of other health benefits to boot. Not to mention the fact that your purchase supports family farmers right here in Wisconsin, and that the beef you eat comes from some of the happiest, healthiest cattle anywhere in the world!

By: Josh Miner, Wisconsin Grass-fed Beef Cooperative


Daley, C.A., Abbott, A., Doyle, P.S., Nader, G.A., and Larson, S. (2010). A review of fatty acid profiles and antioxidant content in grass-fed and grain-fed beef. Nutrition Journal, 9(10). doi:10.1186/1475-2891-9-10.

French, P., Stanton, C., Lawless, F., O’Riordan, E.G., Monahan, F.J., and Caffrey, P.J. (2000). Fatty acid composition, including conjugated linoleic acid, of intramuscular fat from steers offered grazed grass, grass silage, or concentrate-based diets. Journal of Animal Science, 78(11), 2849-2855. doi:10.2527/2000.78112849x.

Dhiman, T.R., Anand, G.R., Satter, L.D., and Pariza, M.W. (1999). Conjugated linoleic acid content of milk from cows fed different diets. Journal of Dairy Science, 82(10), 2146-2156. doi:10.3168/jds.S0022-0302(99)75458-5.

Leheska, J.M., Thompson, L.D., Howe, J.C., Hentges, E., Boyce, J., Brooks, J.C., … & Smith, S.B. (2008). Effects of conventional and grass-feeding systems on the nutrient composition of beef. Journal of Animal Science, 86(12), 3575-3585. doi:10.2527/jas.2007-0561.

Teicholz, N (2023). A short history of saturated fat: the making and unmaking of a scientific consensus. Current Opinion in Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Obesity, 30(1): 65–71. doi: 10.1097/MED.0000000000000791.

Healthy, perennial pasture systems preserve our most precious resource: Water!

You might think of us as beef and pork producers – after all, we are the “Wisconsin Grass-fed Beef Cooperative.” But that’s not quite right. What our members produce – using regenerative methods – are actually healthy, well-managed grass-based perennial pastures that build soil health, improve water quality, provide wildlife habitat, and help to keep sequestered carbon in the soil where it belongs!

There is no question that well-managed, pasture-based grasslands are better for the environment than even no-till row cropping. Our members’ pastures improve water quality, reduce flooding, promote biodiversity, and do not contribute to climate change by releasing greenhouse gasses stored in the soil. When corn and soybean fields that produce feed for conventionally-raised beef and pork are converted to regeneratively-managed perennial pastures, water quality improves and flooding decreases. Plus, wildlife habitat is created for animals such as waterfowl. What’s more, the greenhouse gasses that are released as the result of annual corn and soybean planting are instead “sequestered” in the soil.

Our members – in partnership with folks like Grassland 2.0 and Grassworks – are actively keeping Wisconsin’s rural areas healthy, beautiful, clean, and full of a diversity of wildlife. We are stewards of our lands in the best possible way. And when you buy Wisconsin Meadows pastured-pork and 100% grass-fed beef, you are directly contributing to that stewardship by helping our members continue to grow abundant, high-quality pasture for their animals that keep Wisconsin waterways and wetlands clean and healthy, provide habitat for birds, pollinators, and other organisms, and are an important part of climate solutions.

By: Josh Miner, Wisconsin Grass-fed Beef Cooperative

Raising Animals Holistically Promotes Maximum Health

Raising animals in a holistic way, one that promotes maximum health, means not having to use prophylactic antibiotics or other medications. It makes intuitive sense – a healthy, robust animal will be better able to fight off infections and diseases than one that is weak or stressed. This is why our cooperative prohibits the use of antibiotics as part of the holistic approach our member-owners follow in raising 100% grass-fed beef and pastured hogs we sell under the Wisconsin Meadows label. 

Cows evolved to turn grasses into protein (“meat”) through a complex relationship between themselves and the microbiome that lives in their gut, or “rumen,” which is why they are called “ruminants.” When cows are given energy-dense foods they didn’t evolve to digest – like corn and soy – it throws their gut microbiome into “dis-ease,” which can lead directly to them being more susceptible to diseases. That’s why many conventional beef producers treat their animals prophylactically with antibiotics – to overcome the negative health impacts associated with a disease-causing diet of grains, allowing them to put on weight despite their unhealthy diet and out-of-balance gut microbiome.

Our cattle, in stark contrast, are raised outdoors, on high-quality pastures that their bodies are uniquely adapted to thrive on. We also minimize stress by ensuring that they are kept at appropriate densities and requiring that calves are kept with their mothers, drinking mother’s milk until they wean themselves naturally onto eating grass. These “management practices” allow our members to ensure that the cattle they raise are as healthy and happy and experience as little stress as possible during their lives.

That’s why we don’t use antibiotics – it simply isn’t needed, since our animals are healthy because of how they are raised.[1] “What about vaccines?” you might ask. Even though animal vaccines (like their human counterparts) are safe and effective at reducing disease prevalence and intensity, our members also avoid unnecessary vaccinations as well.[2] Why? Because they aren’t needed either. A healthy bovine immune system can fight off most infections, just like a healthy human immune system. The primary justifications for vaccinating humans – protecting against extremely dangerous diseases (like smallpox, polio, etc.) and protecting the most vulnerable in our societies through “herd immunity” – doesn’t apply to raising livestock. Our cattle have healthy immune systems as a direct result of how they are raised – outside, in the sunshine and fresh air, eating high-quality pasture on our member’s farms.

We think that you’ll agree that healthy, happy animals make for the best-tasting, most nutritious beef and pork products. That’s why the members of the Wisconsin Grass-fed Beef Cooperative raise their animals exclusively on pasture, outdoors, right here in Wisconsin!

By: Josh Miner, Wisconsin Grass-fed Beef Cooperative

[1] Plus, it helps to avoid the growing danger associated with the evolution of antibiotic-resistant pathogenic bacteria caused in large part by prophylactic use in the livestock industry.

[2] With a few exceptions for very infectious viruses, for example pink eye and bovine RSV.

October is National Pork Month

Did you know that October is National Pork Month? And, did you know that many of the member-owners of the Wisconsin Grass-fed Beef Cooperative also raise pastured pork on their Wisconsin family farms, just like this one pictured above, in Coon Valley, WI? Well… now you do!

Like our beef, Wisconsin Meadows pasture-raised pork comes from family farms – humanely treated pastured hogs born and raised in Wisconsin. Our livestock is naturally and humanely raised without antibiotics or synthetic growth hormones. Our hogs are not confined to crates and have outdoor access their entire lives. The piglets are left with their mothers to learn natural rooting and foraging behavior. Low-stress handling and rotational grazing keep both the hogs and the pastures healthy. Speaking of which, those well-managed pastures protect soil and water resources, as well as provide wildlife habitat.

Our producers are proud of the livestock they raise that go into Wisconsin Meadows products. But not only are they focused on humanely managing animals, they are also focused on the environment and using regenerative practices to improve soil and water quality. It’s just one more step in ensuring our product purity and a high-quality eating experience.  

WGBC Announces Annual Member Meeting

The Wisconsin Grass-fed Beef Cooperative Board of Directors, all producers, has announced that the next Membership Annual Meeting will take place on February 17, 2024 at the Wintergreen Conference Center in Lake Delton, Wis. All members are welcome to attend to learn about the cooperatives strategies, productivity and future goals. A newsletter with the agenda will be mailed or emailed out to all members in January 2024.