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State of Grass Fed and Role of Epigenetics


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By Dr. Allen Williams

Published in: Environment
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State of Grass Fed and Role of Epigenetics

  1. 1. State of Grass Fed &State of Grass Fed & Role of EpigeneticsRole of Epigenetics Allen Williams, Ph.D.Allen Williams, Ph.D. Grass Fed Insights, LLCGrass Fed Insights, LLC
  2. 2. U.S. Beef Industry 23-30% decrease in prices for all classes ofdecrease in prices for all classes of cattle since August 2015.cattle since August 2015. U.S. Beef exports declined 18% in 2015.U.S. Beef exports declined 18% in 2015. Beef imports increased 33% in 2015.Beef imports increased 33% in 2015. Feedlot losses at $4.7 Billion in 2015.Feedlot losses at $4.7 Billion in 2015. 33
  3. 3. Grass Fed Sector 44
  4. 4. Domestic Grass Feed Beef 55
  5. 5. Grass Fed PotentialGrass Fed Potential 66
  6. 6. 77
  7. 7. 99 USDA Prime Grass Finished Beef
  8. 8. Value of Grass Fed Beef Market 1998 – 100+ serious grass fed beef producers – $4-$5 million retail value – Domestic – Industry in infancy 2015: – More than $3.2 billion+ sold in U.S. $550+ million domestic $2.5+ billion+ imported – More than 3700 producers involved. – Growing @ 25-30% rate annually. Has reached 7.2% Market share. 1010
  9. 9. Domestic Grass Fed Production July 2014 – July 2015 – Total of approximatelyTotal of approximately 225,000 headhead harvested.harvested. Branded and Direct MarketBranded and Direct Market – 184,000 harvested by branded programsharvested by branded programs ((82%82% of totalof total)) – Top 15 grass fed branded programsgrass fed branded programs harvestedharvested 122,000 headhead (54% of total; 66% of(54% of total; 66% of branded)branded) – 41,000 head direct marketed (18% of total)(18% of total) – 97 million lbs Domestic GF Beef producedDomestic GF Beef produced 1111
  10. 10. Recent Developments JBS purchased Grass Run FarmsJBS purchased Grass Run Farms Grassfed hamburger offered in all Carl’s JR. andGrassfed hamburger offered in all Carl’s JR. and Hardee’s restaurantsHardee’s restaurants Outback Restaurants now offer 100% GrassfedOutback Restaurants now offer 100% Grassfed hamburger.hamburger. ABP Food Group-Sysco – Further expandedABP Food Group-Sysco – Further expanded grass fed marketgrass fed market USDA AMS revokes “Grass Fed Standard”USDA AMS revokes “Grass Fed Standard” – USDA AMS PVPUSDA AMS PVP – USDA FSISUSDA FSIS 1212
  11. 11. Current Developments Cargill now integrally involved.Cargill now integrally involved. Bill Helming and RaboBank ProjectionsBill Helming and RaboBank Projections – Grassfed beef will bewill be 30%+ of total domesticof total domestic beef market share withinbeef market share within 5-8 years – Beef production will segment into: Commodity, All Natural, Organic, Grass Fed (Lean & High Quality), Non-GMO Grain Fed 1313
  12. 12. Grass Fed Dairy Growing Organic Valley Dreaming Cow Dairy Maple Hill Creamery Kalona Snowville Creamery Organic Pastures Traders Point Creamery Siggi’s Kalona SuperNatural Trickling Springs Creamery Natural by Nature 1414
  13. 13. Economic DataEconomic Data University Studies and Farm/Ranch Case StudyUniversity Studies and Farm/Ranch Case Study data show:data show: – Takes average ofTakes average of 0.8 – 1.2 acres0.8 – 1.2 acres per head to finishper head to finish steers.steers. – More than enough available acres to finishMore than enough available acres to finish 3030 million+million+ head annually in U.S.head annually in U.S. – Skilled grass finishers netSkilled grass finishers net $300 - $500+$300 - $500+ per acreper acre annually.annually. – Build soilBuild soil rather than deplete.rather than deplete. 1515
  14. 14. Recent Industry Survey - Beef • AMI Consumer Survey – 2014 – Over 67% have purchased natural, organic, and Grass Fed meats in past year. – 25-42 age group most likely to purchase. – Key Drivers: • Human Health • Animal Care and Welfare • Better nutrition & Variety • Better taste • Environmental Concerns
  15. 15. “What’s Hot” Survey • National Restaurant Association –Survey of 1,000 chefs –Smaller entrée items –More grass fed items –Natural, organic, sustainable, locally or regionally grown
  16. 16. National Restaurant Association Survey • Top Menu Trends – 1,500 chefs • Top Three Trends: – Locally or Regionally Sourced Meats – Healthy Children’s Dishes – Food Trucks • Other Important trends: – Sustainability – Back to basics Foods – Farm-Branded Foods and ingredients – Organic and artisan food products
  17. 17. Market Research Focus GroupsMarket Research Focus Groups – 2006 Study– 2006 Study • Retailers & Restaurants • Wholesale & Distribution • Medical, Health • Consumer Cross Segment •
  18. 18. Identified Consumer Targets •Young/Middle Aged Families •Baby Boomers •Concerned Consumers •Wellness & Fitness
  19. 19. Market Research Results - 2006 • High Acceptance Rate • Potential to capture 20-22% of beef market share • $15-$17 Billion in Sales Potential • Capture Non-Beef Eaters
  20. 20. What Are Current Protocols? ““All Natural”All Natural” – No growth hormones administeredNo growth hormones administered – No antibiotics – therapeutic or sub-therapeuticNo antibiotics – therapeutic or sub-therapeutic – No IonophoresNo Ionophores – No chemical pesticides or herbicides appliedNo chemical pesticides or herbicides applied when cattle are present…when cattle are present… Cattle raised on “open range”Cattle raised on “open range” – No confinement, except for inclement weatherNo confinement, except for inclement weather 2222
  21. 21. Current Protocols Grass fed onlyGrass fed only – No grains, mature corn, or animal byproductsNo grains, mature corn, or animal byproducts Supplements - ???Supplements - ??? – Molasses from cane sugar.Molasses from cane sugar. – Other allowed supplements??Other allowed supplements?? Soyhulls, Haylage, Baleage, Non-Grain SilageSoyhulls, Haylage, Baleage, Non-Grain Silage Grain byproducts?Grain byproducts? – DDGs, Wet Corn Gluten, Wheat Mids, ….DDGs, Wet Corn Gluten, Wheat Mids, …. 2323
  22. 22. Current Protocols Handling & CareHandling & Care – Cattle handled in low stress manner??Cattle handled in low stress manner?? – Humane practices used for gathering, sorting,Humane practices used for gathering, sorting, loading, transport, and slaughter.loading, transport, and slaughter. – GAP Program, AWA, Food Alliance, etc….GAP Program, AWA, Food Alliance, etc…. CertificationsCertifications – AGA, USDA Grassfed PVP, AWA, FoodAGA, USDA Grassfed PVP, AWA, Food Alliance, Audubon Bird-Friendly, ……Alliance, Audubon Bird-Friendly, …… 2424
  23. 23. What Does This Mean for You? Branded program implicationsBranded program implications Direct Market implicationsDirect Market implications Grass Fed beef segregationGrass Fed beef segregation – Imported vs. domesticImported vs. domestic – Lean vs. High QGLean vs. High QG 2525
  24. 24. What Are Primary Aspects of Beef Quality? Five Main Areas of Focus:Five Main Areas of Focus: – GeneticsGenetics – FinishingFinishing – Animal Handling - at all stages of lifeAnimal Handling - at all stages of life – Slaughter & Processing (fabrication, furtherSlaughter & Processing (fabrication, further processing, packaging, etc…)processing, packaging, etc…) – Costs of ProductionCosts of Production 2626
  25. 25. Largest Challenges Feedlot Style “Grass Fed” Beef – TMRFeedlot Style “Grass Fed” Beef – TMR Imported Grass Fed and lack of COOL.Imported Grass Fed and lack of COOL. Lack of strong Pastured Protein TradeLack of strong Pastured Protein Trade Association.Association. Certification that consumer trusts.Certification that consumer trusts. No national brand awarenessNo national brand awareness – Confused consumersConfused consumers – Label deceptionLabel deception 2727
  26. 26. Role of Epigenetics 2828
  27. 27. What is Epigentics? The study of changes in organismsThe study of changes in organisms caused by modification of genecaused by modification of gene expression rather than alteration of theexpression rather than alteration of the genetic code itself.genetic code itself. – Most genes can have significant variation inMost genes can have significant variation in the degree to which they express themselves.the degree to which they express themselves. – Environmental factors, includingEnvironmental factors, including management, diet, climate, etc. --- allmanagement, diet, climate, etc. --- all influence gene expression.influence gene expression. 2929
  28. 28. Cow Herd AttributesCow Herd Attributes Must have greatMust have great longevitylongevity HighHigh fertilityfertility.. SoundSound feet & legsfeet & legs,, eyes, udder & teats, teetheyes, udder & teats, teeth.. Low to moderateLow to moderate milkmilk HighlyHighly adaptedadapted to their environmentto their environment Moderate frameModerate frame (BIF Frame Score 3.5-5.5)(BIF Frame Score 3.5-5.5) – Bulls = 52 – 56 inchesBulls = 52 – 56 inches – Cows = 48 – 52 inchesCows = 48 – 52 inches AdequateAdequate depth, thickness, and gut capacitydepth, thickness, and gut capacity.. Can survive and thrive without all the “props”.
  29. 29. Why Cow Size Matters All lactating/gestating cows need to consume 3.0% of their body weight daily in Dry Matter (DM) for optimum performance. So, a 1100 lb cow requires 33 lbs DM daily = 12,045 lbs annually. A 1500 lb cow requires 45 lbs daily = 16,425 lbs annually A 1800 lb cow requires 54 lbs daily = 19,710 lbs annually. 3131
  30. 30. Why Cow Size Matters Therefore:Therefore: – TheThe 1800 lb1800 lb cow requirescow requires 21 lbs21 lbs more DMmore DM daily than thedaily than the 1100 lb1100 lb cow andcow and 7665 lbs7665 lbs moremore yearlyyearly – Equals minimum ofEquals minimum of $230$230 difference.difference. – TheThe 1500 lb1500 lb cow requirescow requires 12 lbs12 lbs more DMmore DM daily than thedaily than the 1100 lb1100 lb cow andcow and 4380 lbs4380 lbs moremore yearly.yearly. – Equals minimum ofEquals minimum of $131$131 difference.difference. 3232
  31. 31. Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS Chamorro people of GuamChamorro people of Guam – Suffering ALS aat rate 100 x’s greater thanSuffering ALS aat rate 100 x’s greater than anywhere else in the world.anywhere else in the world. – Considered Flying Foxes (giant fruit bats) aConsidered Flying Foxes (giant fruit bats) a delicacy.delicacy. – Bats eat huge quantities of Cycad seedsBats eat huge quantities of Cycad seeds Cycad seeds contain high concentrations of BMAACycad seeds contain high concentrations of BMAA (an amino acid)(an amino acid) Produced by cyanobacteria in plant roots.Produced by cyanobacteria in plant roots. – Also known as blue-green algaeAlso known as blue-green algae 3333
  32. 32. BMAA is a very potent neurotoxin.BMAA is a very potent neurotoxin. In massive amounts it causes paralysis orIn massive amounts it causes paralysis or death.death. In smaller amounts, the effects are moeIn smaller amounts, the effects are moe insidious and happen slowly.insidious and happen slowly. Cyanobacteria produce BMAA.Cyanobacteria produce BMAA. 3434
  33. 33. BMAA causes a slow breakdown ofBMAA causes a slow breakdown of proteins in the central nervous system.proteins in the central nervous system. Cause “Tangled-up” proteins.Cause “Tangled-up” proteins. BMAA displaces a key amino acid in nerveBMAA displaces a key amino acid in nerve proteins called L-serine.proteins called L-serine. Okinawan’s have highest percentage ofOkinawan’s have highest percentage of centenarians in the world.centenarians in the world. – The eat high amounts of L-serine in their diet.The eat high amounts of L-serine in their diet. 3535
  34. 34. Studies in monkeys showed that highStudies in monkeys showed that high amounts of BMAA cause symptomsamounts of BMAA cause symptoms similar to Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS.similar to Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, ALS. – Produced brain protein tangles and beta-Produced brain protein tangles and beta- amyloid plaquesamyloid plaques BMAA in essence turns a switch on thatBMAA in essence turns a switch on that causes a cascading disruption in nervecauses a cascading disruption in nerve proteins (tangling).proteins (tangling). L-serine turns the switch off.L-serine turns the switch off. 3636
  35. 35. Blue-Green Algae ““We are the cause of our own demiseWe are the cause of our own demise”” Cyanobacteria popping up in manyCyanobacteria popping up in many places.places. Many cases where higher incidents ofMany cases where higher incidents of neurological diseases are occurring nearneurological diseases are occurring near lakes and bays with high levels of blue-lakes and bays with high levels of blue- green algae bloomsgreen algae blooms – New Hampshire, Ohio, Minnesota, Iowa,New Hampshire, Ohio, Minnesota, Iowa, Biscayne Bay, Texas, Louisiana, ………..Biscayne Bay, Texas, Louisiana, ……….. – One large contributor - AGRICULTUREOne large contributor - AGRICULTURE 3737
  36. 36. What Causes Epigenetic Effects in Livestock? Soil HealthSoil Health – Chemicals applied over time – fertilizers,Chemicals applied over time – fertilizers, herbicides, fungicides, …..herbicides, fungicides, ….. – Microbial populationMicrobial population Glyphosates significantly lower mycorrhizal fungiGlyphosates significantly lower mycorrhizal fungi populationspopulations Total population & balance VERY important!Total population & balance VERY important! – Water infiltration ratesWater infiltration rates – Soil aggregationSoil aggregation 3838
  37. 37. Plant species diversity & complexity – Secondary & tertiary chemical (nutrient)Secondary & tertiary chemical (nutrient) compoundscompounds – Medicinal propertiesMedicinal properties – Anthelmintic propertiesAnthelmintic properties – Stronger microbial populationStronger microbial population – Better mineral and water cycleBetter mineral and water cycle – Build soil, water, and animal healthBuild soil, water, and animal health 3939
  38. 38. Grazing & Livestock Management – Play huge role in expression of genes.Play huge role in expression of genes. – Many of the issues we experience are our theMany of the issues we experience are our the fault of our own management.fault of our own management. – Better grazing practices result in better geneBetter grazing practices result in better gene expression and better performance & animalexpression and better performance & animal – Do we manage for complexity & diversity orDo we manage for complexity & diversity or for near monocultures?for near monocultures? 4040
  39. 39. Epigenetics Effects Cattle healthCattle health Cattle fertilityCattle fertility Milk component production & calf weaningMilk component production & calf weaning weight and lifetime healthweight and lifetime health Cattle longevity & soundnessCattle longevity & soundness Exposure to internal & external parasitesExposure to internal & external parasites Endocrine system functioning.Endocrine system functioning. 4141
  40. 40. Compounding & Cascading Effects How can we influence?How can we influence? Good or Bad – never in between.Good or Bad – never in between. 4242
  41. 41. 4343 Building for FutureBuilding for Future GenerationsGenerations
  42. 42. Thank you!