Weatherbury Farm Grass-Fed Meats w 724.587.3763

Health Benefits: No Pesticides or Herbicides

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Purchasing Considerations when buying grass-fed beef

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If you live in the US, it’s important to realize that pesticides, genetically engineered ingredients, herbicides like glyphosate, hormones, and countless other drugs are allowed in your food. Most people make the mistake of thinking that “beef is beef,” not understanding the vast differences between factory farmed meats, and meats from organically-raised pastured animals.

To insure that grass-fed beef is produced without pesticides and herbicides, it should be sourced from an organic farm.

Pesticides are chemicals used to eliminate or control a variety of agricultural pests that can damage crops and livestock and reduce farm productivity. The most commonly applied pesticides are insecticides (to kill insects), herbicides (to kill weeds), rodenticides (to kill rodents), and fungicides (to control fungi, mold, and mildew). Of these pesticide classes, herbicides (weed killers) are the most widely used. Today, over 1 billion tons of pesticides are used in the US every year.

Just because beef is grass-fed does not mean it there are no herbicides or pesticides used in its production.  With the approval of Roundup Ready alfalfa in late 2011, one of the main forage species for grassfed production is now GMO. Grass fed beef producers can spray their new alfalfa stands with Roundup and eliminate weed competition thereby increasing longevity and productivity in their fields. Another source of glyphosate in grass fed beef is that beef labeled as grassfed may have grazed on GMO corn stubble and beans in Roundup treated fields.1

Pesticide Use on Factory Livestock Farms

There are numerous chemical pesticides used to control insects and other pests in livestock facilities. Industrial farms apply these chemicals directly to the skin, fur and feathers of livestock such as cattle, pigs and poultry in order to kill off flies, mites, spiders, cockroaches, ticks and other pests.

Even though these problems can be reduced without the use of toxic chemicals, industrial agriculture relies on pesticides to counteract the filthy conditions inside livestock facilities. Improved cleanliness inside farm facilities, fly traps and the use of higher quality feed could all help to minimize these problems without posing any risks to human, animal or environmental health.

Non-organic meats have far higher concentrations of pesticides than any non-organically raised fruits and vegetables.2 

Pesticides and Animal Feed

Approximately 37% of the world's grain and 66% of U.S. grain is used for livestock feed.  This grain is grown by intensive farming operations that use massive quantities of pesticides while producing problems such as pesticide resistance in insects and weeds, and pollution of nearby water supplies with toxic chemicals.  Many grain crops are genetically modified,  so that the plants are bred either to contain pesticides within their entire genetic makeup or to withstand direct application of chemical pesticides or herbicides. Furthermore, when grain is grown with pesticides and then fed to livestock, pesticide residues accumulate in the animals' fatty tissue. When humans eat the meat and dairy products derived from these animals, we're exposed to the toxic ingredients in the pesticides and are at risk of developing health problems as a result. However, the most direct route to pesticide exposure is through ingesting produce with pesticide residues.

Pesticides and Public Health

Pesticides are a public health concern and have been linked to a range of diseases and disorders. Many chemical pesticides are known to cause poisoning, infertility and birth defects, as well as damage the nervous system and potentially cause cancer. Although it is widely understood that exposure to pesticides is dangerous to humans, research has shown that many people in the US carry high levels of pesticides in their bodies. According to data collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the average American child between the ages of six and eleven carries four times the acceptable level of pesticides called organophosphates (which are known to cause nerve damage). Scientists studying the effects of chemical pesticides have found that exposure to small doses of these toxins during the fetal stage and childhood can cause long-term damage.


Herbicides are chemicals used to destroy or inhibit plant growth, especially of weeds or other undesirable vegetation. Herbicides can kill and contaminate the food and shelter for many wild animals.  Additionally, it has been found to cause reproductive harm in frogs and cause genetic harm in fish.3 Many cows graze on pastures that have been sprayed with not only pesticides, but also herbicides.

Sources: and
“GMO, Glyphosate Residue in Grass Fed Beef, and You”, July 18 2014
2. 12 August 08

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Weatherbury Farm
1061 Sugar Run Road
Avella, Pennsylvania 15312

phone: 724.587.3763

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grass fed beef & lamb, certified organic stone ground flour and milled products, farm stays

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Weatherbury Farm  is a non-smoking farm.


Revised: June 11, 2018 has been on-line since June 27,2007