Texas Ranchers Set Sights on Organic Beef

U.S. Love Affair with Elite Food Labels Fuels New Meat Market

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Organically ranched cattle in West Texas

Cattle raised according to the USDA's "100% Organic" labeling standards on the Davis Mountains 100% Organic Beef ranch in West Texas. Keene Haywood/Courtesy Davis Mountains 100% Organic Beef hide caption

toggle caption Keene Haywood/Courtesy Davis Mountains 100% Organic Beef

After years of public input, in October 2001 the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced strict protocols for an entirely new class of American beef — organic.

The nation's growing awareness about the contents of its food is fueling rapid growth: USDA figures indicate that organic livestock production grew by more than 230 percent between 1997 and 2001. In the Davis Mountains near Big Bend in West Texas, a group of traditional cattle ranchers have concluded that organic ranching operations are going to be big moneymakers. NPR's Wade Goodwyn reports.



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