Beef

Health Benefit to You

Beef is an excellent source of five essential nutrients (protein, zinc, vitamin B12, selenium and phosphorus) and a good source of five essential nutrients (niacin, vitamin B6, iron, riboflavin and choline). One three-ounce serving provides these nutrients and naturally nutrient-rich foods such as lean beef, can be part of the weight control solution.

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Buy California Grown

There are 70 different breeds of beef today. Beef producers in California follow guidelines for animal well-being and environmental stewardship.

Learn more with a Beef Commodity Fact Sheet.

Where Is Beef Produced? In California | US | The World

In California

Tulare, Fresno, Imperial, Merced and Kern Counties.

In the United States

Texas, Kansas, Nebraska and California.

In the World

United States, Australia, Argentina and Brazil.

From Farms to Your Family Step 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

Step 1: Birth, Cow-Calf Operations and Weaning

Cattle have a nine-month gestation period, and while calves can be born year round, many are born in the spring. Calves remain with their mothers for the first several months of life on farms or ranches, during this stage, cattle graze in herds on large pastures within sight of their mothers. As calves reach six to 10 months of age, they are weaned from their mothers. Weaned male calves (steers) may graze until about one year old (yearlings) and then be sold to a cattle feeder or a stocker/backgrounder who will prepare the animal for the feedlot.

Step 2: Cattle Feedlot

Once most cattle reach approximately 12-18 months of age, they are taken to a feedlot. When cattle arrive at a feedlot, they are carefully unloaded and led through a processing barn, where they are tagged for identification purposes, vaccinated and entered into the operation’s record-keeping system. Feedlot cattle are separated into herds of 100 animals and live in pens that allow about 125 to 250 square feet of room per animal. Cattle usually spend four to six months in a feedlot, during which they are fed a scientifically formulated ration averaging 70 percent to 90 percent grain, and have constant access to water.

Step 3: Harvesting

Once cattle have reached 18 to 22 months old or weigh between 1,100 and 1,250 pounds, they are typically considered “finished” and are transported to meat packing plants. Precautions during transportation minimize stress and injury to the animals. Packing plant technicians then use a mechanical stunning device to quickly and effectively render animals unconscious. The harvesting process has evolved over the years based on scientific research to ensure both humane animal treatment and the production of safe food. During this process, employees use many methods to enure quality.

Step 4: Packaging

USDA inspectors oversee the process, food safety and meat grading. To grade meat, inspectors evaluate characteristics including marbling (distribution of internal flecks of fat, contributing to tenderness and taste) and the age of the animal. When beef leaves the packing plant, it is in the form of large sections which are shipped to meat processing facilities where employees skillfully cut and divide the meat into individual steaks and roasts sent to the supermarkets and restaurants.

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