The Price Tag

Q: Grass, sun and water are all supplied by God, so why is grass fed beef more expensive than corn/ grain fed beef?

A: In the cattle industry volume determines profit. So, the speed at which cattle can be fattened become vital. Cattle confined to eating corn/ grain in feedlots can usually be fattened and ready to process in about 12-13 months. Free roaming grass fed cattle usually need about 18- 24 months before they are ready to be processed. Think about those 18-24 months as a cow "renting" land to graze on. Not to mention the time that the rancher could be using to develop other cows instead of sustaining the current cows.  You also have to consider that feedlots can hold hundreds if not hundreds of thousands of cows squeezed into a few acres. The acreage that would be needed for a rancher to have the same number of cows grazing on grass would be astronomical, not to mention wildly expensive (10-20 acres per cow). Usually grass fed cows come from smaller family farms, not commercial companies. These family farms are small operations without the resources to sustain a huge herd.  Yes, the sun and rain grow the grass, but in the end corn is much cheaper to feed the cows than grass (thanks to government subsidies that enable farmers to sell corn for 50 cents less per bushel than it costs to grow). When time and space are factored in it's not hard to see why the cost of grass fed beef is higher.