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      Hometown Farmer: Grass-Fed Cattle Near Fordyce, NE

      Pat Steffen grew up on a farm of 400 acres of prairie near Fordyce, Nebraska.

      He tends to his cattle every day, but there are a few things you might notice about this herd.

      First, they're a breed you don't see every day: Scotch-Highland.

      Second, they're diet's a little different as well.

      "They've never had any grain," said Steffen.

      The cows are all grass fed.

      Pat's family stopped row-cropping in the early 90's, he started his herd back in 1999.

      He says a lot of the work of grass-feeding isn't just managing the cattle, it's managing the grass.

      "You have to constantly monitor your grass growth," said Steffen. "As your grass growth speeds up and slows down you need to speed up and slow down your rotations."

      Pat moves his cows to a new section, made up of fresh grass, every day.

      It's just one of the ways working cattle this way is different than the norm, and he says, more fun.

      "I saw too many years when you've got a good crop and it gets dry and it dries out," said Steffen. "Of course your grass can dry out, but it's a little easier to manage. When it starts to rain again, the grass grows again, I don't have to go back out and buy seed and re-plant my grass every year, the seed's there."

      From the field to family meal time, Pat says grass-fed cuts of meat are healthier, and after they've been on the grill, he can taste the difference.

      You can buy some of the meat Pat raises, for more information search for "Prairie Blossom Trails" on this web site: http://www.eatwild.com/products/nebraska.html.

      If you know of any farmers you think would be great here on "Proud to be a Hometown Farmer," you can email Jake at: jheller@siouxlandnews.com.

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