Grass-fed beef project expands at Edisto REC

By Tom Lollis

CowsThe Pasture Based Beef Systems for Appalachia, a USDA research program, is helping cattlemen fill a growing demand for grass-finished beef.

For the next five years, Clemson researchers will develop a herd of 150 brood cows as part of the regional program. Based at the Edisto Research and Education Center in Blackville, the Clemson team is seeking to identify the right genes for forage-based herds.

“Forage-fed beef is leaner than grain-fed, contains more desirable fatty acids and antioxidants, and has twice the amount of a potent anticarcinogen called conjugated linoleic acid,” said Steve Meadows, team leader and director of the Edisto center. Other team members are John Andrae, forage specialist, and Susan Duckett, livestock nutrition and meat quality scientist.

Bill Clapham of the USDA-ARS Appalachian Farming Systems Research Center in West Virginia, said, “I like what I see going on here at Clemson University. They’ve opened their minds to a new way of doing things. We’re pumping the wrong kind of fat into our children and one of the biggest sources is (grain-fed) beef.”

For information: Steve Meadows, 803-284-3343, ext. 270,