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Farmer Markets Dairy Cows As “Butter Beef”
Jill Gould says meat from dairy cows is so much better she calls it Butter Meat. The upstate New York dairy farmer started the Butter Meat Co., opening a store in her hometown. Her efforts earned her recognition as one of the top 10 national Farm Bureau Ag Innovation Challenge nominees.
“I’m busting myths about meat from dairy cows only being used for ground beef or pet food,” says Gould. “Looking at USDA data, a lot of steaks from dairy cows go to fine restaurants. It has the best intramuscular marbling for great taste. Dairy beef really is a better meat.”
One of the myths she is busting is that steers and heifers 18 to 24 months of age produce better meat than dual-purpose dairy cattle that may be 3 times that age or more. “Our beef is aged to perfection at 5 to 7 years, giving the fats time to mature and bring out flavors that can’t be found in your typical beef,” she says. “It is full-flavored meat from animals that have lived long, full lives.”
In addition to the marbling and taste, Gould points out that one of the reasons we eat beef is for the iron. Older animals are believed to have higher levels of iron. She is waiting on nutritional analyses to verify not only iron levels but also other minerals, like magnesium, which she expects to be higher.
She has already proven there is a good market for Butter Meat-branded beef, even in a pandemic. “We haven’t had a normal week since we opened on February 1st,” says Gould. “By the first of March we were getting calls, ‘Do you have beef?’ The local retailers didn’t have any.”
Gould set up curbside pickup, marking down the customer’s name, make, model and color of their car, as well as the meat they wanted.
Gould sources the meat she sells from the family’s organic dairy herd. She credits the independent slaughterhouses she works with for keeping her in business. Gould talks to her customers about where beef comes from and the effects of consolidation in the beef industry.
She also strengthens her marketing message by differentiating the meat by the age of the animal. If a customer orders a box of cuts, they will find the age of the cow it came from. It is a relatively easy thing for her to do.
“Butter Meat comes from animals that were born and raised on one, possibly two farms,” she says.
Gould hopes to extend the Butter Beef brand, sourcing beef from other herds as she builds demand. She is already shipping boxes of beef nationwide. Franchising the brand could be a next step. Meanwhile she hopes to win the $50,000 Ag Innovation Challenge prize.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Butter Meat Co., 1 North Main St., Perry, N.Y. 14530 (ph 585 204-2788; www.buttermeatco.com).

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2021 - Volume #45, Issue #5