Recently we had the opportunity to participate in an annual event held in Garden City, KS called farm day, put on an organized by the Finney County Farm Bureau. Throughout the day about 700 4th graders from all the surrounding communities come to the fairgrounds to learn more about the agriculture in our area.
There were stations to teach them all about:
- Corn and what we use it for from a local ethanol plant.
- Milk from a dairyman that taught them where milk comes from and what it used for, such as cheese and butter.
- A large equipment dealer to teach them about tractors and farm equipment and the many different types
- And many more!
All in all, I believe there were about seven different agriculture-related stations.
We were there to discuss by-products and the many ways we use a cow for more than just for beef.
A by-product is something produced in the course of making the main product.
In the beef industry, the main product we produce is beef—the hamburgers, steaks and roast beef we enjoy eating. A beef by-product is something made from a cow besides the beef we eat. To illustrate, an 1150 pound market steer yields approximately 500 pounds of beef. Nearly all of the remaining weight is recovered as by-products.
There are three categories of by-products to determine the items made with the rest of the animal: EDIBLE, INEDIBLE and MEDICINAL.
Edible By-Products are things we can eat.
Some edible beef by-products are fairly well known such as variety meats. The nutritious value of liver, kidneys, brains, tripe, sweetbreads, and tongue has been acknowledged for quite a while. Other important edible by-products are less well known. Fats yield oleo stock and oleo oil for margarine and shortening. Oleo stearin is used in making chewing gum and certain candies. Gelatin produced from bones and skins is used in marshmallows, ice cream, canned meats, and gelatin desserts. Intestines may provide natural sausage casings.
Inedible By-Products are things we cannot eat.
You probably use at least one item containing inedible beef by-products every day. For example, you probably know that the beef hide is used to make leather, but did you know that the hide also supplies felt and other textiles? It provides a base for many ointments, binders for plaster and asphalt, and a base for the insulation material used to cool and heat your house. In addition, “camel hair” artists’ brushes are not really made from camel hair but from the fine hair found in the ears and tails of beef cattle. Footballs, which used to be called “pigskins,” are also generally produced from cattle hide.
Industrial oils and lubricants, tallow for tanning, soaps, lipsticks, face and hand creams, some medicines, and ingredients for explosives are produced from the inedible fats from beef. Fatty acids are used in the production of chemicals, biodegradable detergents, pesticides, and flotation agents. One fatty acid is used to make automobile tires run cooler and, therefore last longer.
Bones, horns, and hooves also supply important by-products. These include buttons, bone china, piano keys, glues, fertilizer, and gelatin for photographic film, paper, wallpaper, sandpaper, combs, toothbrushes, and violin string.
Medicinal By-Products are things used by your doctor.
More than 100 individual drugs performing such important and varied functions as helping to make childbirth safer, settling an upset stomach, preventing blood clots in the circulatory system, controlling anemia, relieving some symptoms of hay fever and asthma, and helping babies digest milk include beef by-products. Insulin is perhaps the best-known pharmaceutical derived from cattle. There are 5 million diabetic people in the United States, and 1.25 million of them require insulin daily. It takes the pancreases from 26 cattle to provide enough insulin to keep one diabetic person alive for a year.
Through genetic engineering techniques and research developments, many of the drugs produced from cattle are now being chemically produced in a laboratory, often less expensively than recovery from animal organs.
Most of the material used for surgical sutures is derived from the intestines of meat animals.
This description of cattle by-products is by no means complete. In fact, new uses are discovered almost daily. But we hope that now when you hear “Where’s the beef?” you will think:
• It is in hospitals and drug stores.
• It is helping your car run better and your clothes get cleaner.
• It is in sporting goods, photographic equipment, and art supply shops.
• It is in firecrackers on the Fourth of July.
• It is in your garden keeping down insect infestations.
• It is in soap for washing your face
We really enjoyed spending our day with the area kids teaching them about what we do at Cattle Empire, we hope you were able to learn something as well!