NPR

Why More Farmers Are Making The Switch To Grass-Fed Meat And Dairy

Advocates of grass-grazing cattle say it's better for the environment and the animals. But there's another upside: Grass-fed meat and dairy fetch a premium that can help small farms stay viable.
Cows graze at Dharma Lea Farm in Sharon Springs, N.Y. Advocates of grass-grazing cattle say it's better for the environment and the animals. But there's another upside: Grass-fed meat and dairy fetch a premium that can help small farms stay viable. Source: Courtesy of Maple Hill Creamery

Though he didn't come from a farming family, from a young age Tim Joseph was fascinated by the idea of living off the land. Reading magazines like The Stockman Grass Farmer and Graze, he "got hooked on the idea of grass-fed agriculture — that all energy and wealth comes from the sun," he explains, "and the shorter the distance between the sun and the end product," the higher the profit to the farmer.

Joseph wanted to put this theory to the test, so in 2009, he and his wife Laura launched Maple Hill Creamery, an organic, all grass-fed yogurt company in upstate New York. He quickly learned what the market has demonstrated: Demand for grass-fed products currently outstrips supply.

Grass-fed beef is enjoying a 25 to 30 percent annual growth rate, while sales of grass-fed yogurt and kefir have in

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