I noticed (driving back and forth to work) that many of the local dairy farmers have their cattle out in the fields grazing on what nature intended them to... grass! So I asked myself, why then do dairy farmers opt for free grazing their cattle and many beef farmers choose to feed them corn?
The answer came to me rather quickly... profit, profit, profit! So what's the difference between a dairy farm and a beef farm?
If you have a dairy farm then your major source of income is milk and other dairy products, and in order to be successful you need healthy cattle. They need their cows to live long healthy lives so they provide them with milk for many years to come, and the best way to maintain healthy cattle is to feed them a healthy diet, and that's where the grass comes in.
On the other hand a beef farmer uses their cattle in a very different way. Because the end product (and in turn the profit) is the cows themselves rather than a byproduct of the cow, they have a much shorter life expectancy. In order to make the most profit and compete in the marketplace, a beef farmer needs his cattle to go from calf to slaughter as quickly as possible and be as large as possible, regardless of the consequences to the cows or those who eat the beef. So in order to achieve this "maximum profit" the farmers are less interested in providing a healthy diet and more interested in a diet that can provide them with fat cows quickly, and that's where the corn comes in.
So the next time you purchase beef, ask yourself if a healthy diet (as well as your health) is important to you, and if so then beef from a healthy cow (i.e. a cow with a healthy diet) should be just as important.