This week I decided to talk about Alabama’s beef industry, which is the second largest animal industry in the state just behind poultry.
The beef industry accounts for thousands of jobs and represents $2.5 billion. There are roughly 1.2 million head of beef cattle across Alabama. There is nearly 90 million nationally. Each of Alabama’s 67 counties is involved, in some way, in cattle farming or processing.
A large number of people may think beef is not healthy. According to Facts About Beef, beef is actually a very healthy food, in moderation of course as in nearly every other food. There are many diets that are healthy, which include beef. The DASH diet includes about 1.4 ounces of red meat a day. It is estimated Americans eat about 2.5 pounces of beef daily.
One of my grandfathers, Floyd Glenn Hicks, raises about 60 head of cattle. He has been a part of the industry for nearly 80 years, and he is still going strong at the impressive age of ninety. He said that one of the best parts of his day is waking up and going to check on all of his cows. He enjoys being able to get out of the house and ride in one of his three red “pick-ups,” as he refers to them. The cows know the sound of his truck, so they will come right up to it. They know when the truck is there, it is feeding time!
Caring for cows is not exactly an easy task. During the summer, you must grow hay so the cows will have something to eat during winter as the grass dies away. They also have to be sprayed for lice and other parasites.
I have really enjoyed growing up around the cows, and being able to watch and learn the different processes of life. Small family-owned farms are great places for students, researchers or anyone that wants to learn a thing or two about agriculture.
For more Alabama Beef facts and information, please visit Alabama Cattlemen’s Association’s website.