What is grass-fed milk?

February 8, 2022

Are you curious about grass-fed milk but don’t know where to start? 

Choosing to add a new food into your diet can be overwhelming sometimes, especially if you are on a healing journey or if the food is not the “norm.”

There can be a lot of conflicting information when you venture down the google rabbit hole of information/misinformation. And, it may seem like people have mixed messages about the safety and health benefits of grass-fed milk.

But no worries, I am here to help give you the straight facts so that you can feel well informed to make the best decision for you!

What exactly is grass-fed milk?

By definition, grass-fed milk is milk from cows who have been forage-fed. 

Forage includes the grasses, legumes, wildflowers, herbs, vegetable and other wild edibles the cows graze while on pasture during the growing season.

In the winter months the cows receive a diet of dried grasses and alfalfa, AKA hay.

Animals cannot be fed grain, or grain byproducts, and must have continuous access to pasture during the growing season. (1)

At Beiler Family Farm, the cows have access to pasture year round (weather permitting) and they receive organic hay grown at the farm by farmer Jonas himself!

Is organic milk the same as grass-fed milk?

No, organic milk is not the same as grass-fed milk.

Organic milk is from cows that are fed a certified organic diet. However, this diet can include grain feed, hay, and forage. (2)

Organic cows do produce organic milk, but it is not considered grass-fed because they are also consuming grain.

What are the health benefits of grass-fed milk?

Whole fat milk and dairy products have gotten a bad wrap over the years. But studies are now showing that these products, specifically from grass-fed cows, can be especially healthful due to their high levels of conjugated linoleic acid (CLA).

Experiments have shown that cows on a diet of fresh grass produce milk with five times as much of an unsaturated fat called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) than do cows fed processed grains. Studies in animals have suggested that CLAs can protect the heart, and help in weight loss, and defend against cancer. (3)

Grass-fed milk also contains higher amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids. These Omega-3’s have potent anti-inflammatory effects. They support the brain, heart health, and have been shown to reduce symptoms of metabolic syndrome. This syndrome is the name given to a group of risk factors that raises your risk for heart disease, and other health problems such as diabetes and stroke. (4)

Is grass-fed milk production better for the environment?

If you are interested in consuming grass-fed milk, it's also likely you care about the environment, and you may be finding a lot of conflicting information on the web about this topic.

In fact, it’s so debated that, in my personal experience, I have seen search engines change the search results in recent years to favor information that says grass-fed is bad for the environment. 

So I get it, it can be hard to find reliable information out there, but here is what I can tell you. 

When compared to conventional concentrated feedlot operations, grass-fed is much better for the planet.

The concentration of manure in feedlots becomes an environmental hazard. It causes water pollution by leaking into aquatic ecosystems and contributes to algae blooms.

Animals grazing on pasture is a natural symbiotic relationship that has been going on for thousands of years. The animals eat the plants, and the plants benefit from the animals walking over the land, aerating the soil, and spreading their manure to feed the plants. It's and win-win!

Bottom line is, milk from grass-fed animals is better for your health and better for the environment!

At Beiler Family Farm you can be assured that you are receiving the real deal, 100% organic, grass-fed and finished milk.

Beiler Family Farm sets themselves apart from many other farms by growing all their own organically grown hay right here on the farm. 

This is the best way for farmer Jonas to know exactly what his cows are eating, so that he can produce the best quality milk possible.

Knowing your farmer is the only true way to know exactly what kind of milk you are getting. 

The Beiler farm team aims to build a relationship with our customers, maintain transparency, and always keep you informed about the farm's protocols and agricultural practices.

If you have any questions about your grass-fed milk, please let me know, I am always here to help : )

-Sara

And the Beiler Farm Team



Sources:

  1. USDA Definition of Grass Forage Fed
  2. Guidelines for Organic Certification of Dairy Livestock
  3. Is milk from grass-fed cows more heart-healthy?
  4. Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids: Benefits and Endpoints in Sport



Sara Scheller

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