Texas Ranchers Set Sights on Organic Beef

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

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

itoggle 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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