Grass Feeding Cows – Food Economy Discussion Response

Grass feeding cows, rather than the current industrial system, would be better for the health of cows, people, and the environment

Summary of Debate 6.2 Classmate Responses

In the debate on the statement, “grass feeding cows, rather than the current industrial system, would be better for the health of cows, people, and the environment,” before reading the debate, 15 students were pro and 13 students were con. After reading the debate, 15 students were pro and 13 were con, though some student switched sides. Therefore, the debate is a tie. On the pro side, students believed that cows should be allowed to eat their natural diet of grass, and when humans consume these cows, the meat will be healthier. On the con side, students agreed that it would take a lot of resources in terms of land and water to grass feed cows, and would not meet market demand. In our book, Pollan emphasizes that Polyface Farm, which feeds cows grass, is a good alternative in terms of being healthier and having less impact on the environment. Growing corn to feed cows also impacts the environment through pesticides, artificial fertilizers, and monoculture.

Please send your response to the summary and doing the debate to Debate 6.2 Classmate Responses.

My position:


In the last decade, the American food system has changed for the better, which is the essential development in the modern diet. The naturally grown food is better for feeding the cows and also for human consumption due to the current outbreak of diseases such as diabetes, which is caused by the industrially generated food (Pollan, 2016). However, the world is changing, and many states in America have adopted organic farming and the consumption of natural farm products rather than industrial foods.

Additionally, the outbreak of the mad cow disease in England questioned the mode of meat production. The E. coli bacteria in America contaminated many junk foods like hamburgers. Moreover, a lot of people were affected by this outbreak; thus leading to high rates of obesity and type-two diabetes (Pollan, 2016). Food is supposed to sustain human beings and offer comfort instead of causing diseases. The outbreak led to the establishment of more organic farms across America that supply natural foods to cows and also human beings to control such illnesses caused by industrially produced foods.

Furthermore, the adoption of organic farming in the last few years has improved the economy of the small-scale farmers who originally produced low yields of farm products due to the low demand for organic farm commodities. The promotion of organic farming has raised the prestige of farmers. Many students are now studying agriculture-related courses with the aim of working in organic farms to improve farm production (Pollan, 2016). The number of farmers in America, which had been declining in the twentieth century, began rising after the new initiatives by U.S Department of Agriculture appreciated the importance of organic farm products like growing grass for cows and the cultivation and production of other natural farm products.

This new generation of farmers has offered alternatives to the food economy. Farmers have increased their supply and variety of organic goods in the markets. Examples include organic eggs and beef from cows that feed on natural grass, which have offered alternative diets to people who have obesity and diabetes (Pollan, 2016). This has led to cheaper and access to better quality farm products for such people, who originally bought such foods at higher prices because the supply was low. Many of the organic agricultural products in America were previously imported from other countries, which led to the high costs of the farm products.

Moreover, growing grass for feeding animals and also farming organic farm products like corn for human consumption has led to the conservation of the environment, unlike industrially produced foods. Many of the activities carried out in the organic farm do not pollute the environment, and if they contaminate, they contribute to small amounts of pollutants in the atmosphere such as CO2 from tractors used for tilling, plowing, pulling and pushing agricultural machinery (Pollan, 2016). However, the inorganic foods produced in industries contribute a lot to the pollution of the environment because the industries rely on the production of foods by the use of petroleum products as fuel. Petroleum products are the primary pollutants of the environment; hence they should be discouraged to conserve the environment.


Nowadays, people are willing to consume foods labeled as organic. Although organic food is much more expensive, it is good for the human’s health and the environment. However, grass feeding cows are not like organic food. They are much harmful and not efficient than grain-fed cows.

There are a lot of factors to consider when trying to decide whether grass-fed or grain-fed beef is better for the environment. One is the use of resources, specifically land and water. A grain-fed cow will require three acres of land, while a grass-fed cow requires nine acres. Ultimately, a grass-fed cow will use 35 percent more water and 30 percent more land than a conventional, grain-fed cow. The fact is that grain-fed cows are simply more efficient purely from a resource perspective (Sara,2017). Normally, grain-fed cows only use three to six months to reach the market weight. But grass-fed cows need to use almost three years to reach. Compare to grain-fed cows, grass-fed cows are totally inefficient to raise in the meat industry. They use much more resources from the earth.

In fact, each pound of grass-fed beef produces 500 percent more greenhouse gases than grain-fed. Grain-fed cows also produce one-third the methane of grass-fed, partially due to their shorter life span, though both contribute to methane and nitrous oxide emissions. There is a common argument, though, that the grazing cows help produce more grass and improve the soil, which sequesters carbon dioxide underground. The validity of this argument isn’t proven, but it likely doesn’t make up for the negative impacts.(Sara,2017) We all know that global warming is a serious problem around the world. The fact is that grass-fed cows are producing much more greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. This is much more harmful than Grain-fed cow from the same production.

Ten years ago there were about 50 suppliers of it, but now there are thousands. Even if people choose to ignore that it’s just as bad for the environment as grain-fed, they reality is grass-fed beef is produced too inefficiently to feed the world. That simple fact is reason enough not to eat them, but even if it’s not at least the hipsters have been put on notice that no matter where their burgers came from or how fancy a bun they’re served on, they certainly can’t up their “eco-conscious” cred.(Sara,2017) In 2050, the population of our earth is expected to grow to 9.7 billion. If we consider eating grass-fed beef, this is not an efficient way to feed all the people. The best way I think is not the cows to become vegetarian, is us!

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