A Montana ranch girl explores the beef industry abroad.
“I spent the last month traveling the globe and learning many surprising things about the world food supply. Here in the U.S., we often complain about the price of food or even sometimes the quality, but after my recent travels, I won’t be complaining anytime soon,” says Karoline Rose, an Angus breeder from Three Forks, MT, who is studying animal science at Montana State University.
Rose recently spent time in London, Morocco, Uganda and Israel, studying livestock production and volunteering in orphanages. She recaps her travels and discoveries.
“The first stop on my trip was London -- a very high-class, wealthy city. We didn’t travel outside the city, so I wasn’t able to see any farm land but I can tell you that beef was only on the menu once during my whole trip. It’s obvious that they do not consume it regularly in their diet. Can you imagine a life without hamburgers or steaks fresh off the grill? It’s a shame that they don’t get to enjoy high-quality protein as we do here in the U.S.
“Next stop was Morocco, a very poor country in Africa. After several hours on a train, we watched men tending to their cattle and sheep, and I was instantly shocked at the body condition of these animals. Yes, the grass was dry and overgrazed, but the animals were extremely skinny. Most of them had a body condition of 1 or 2, and almost all the cattle I saw were similar to Holsteins, which makes perfect sense to have a dual-purpose animal. We all know that cattle with low body condition scores and harvested at an older age don’t produce the highest quality meat, but when you only have one cow, it’s nice to get milk and meat from the same animal. Over the course of my time in Morocco, I never saw beef on the menu. Camel was on the menu, and I tried it; trust me, stick to beef!
“My last stop was Uganda -- a third-world country that depends heavily on agriculture for income. Right off the bat, we saw several cows roaming the town. The cattle were well fed and well taken care of; they were taken on walks every day and were identified differently depending on the owner. Beef was a staple on their American restaurant menus; I tried a few hamburgers and found it good, but not comparable to American beef. One of my favorite things was beef from a street vendor, seasoned with plain salt and grilled on charcoal. It had to be some of the best meat I had eaten in weeks, I also tried goat and fried grasshopper.
“As much as I enjoyed my travels, I am happy to be home and enjoying a high-quality American steak! Don’t take our high-quality food here for granted. Every day we can walk into a grocery store and get a steak that is safe and delicious for our family. We can enjoy all the vitamins and nutrients that beef contains every day, if we would like. We are truly blessed to have such hard-working farmers and ranchers who care about raising the best product they can!”