Grading grass-finished meat is focus of field day at Mingo Locker

For Release: September 29, 2016


Bruce Carney | Carney Family Farms | (515) 202-7326 | |

Tamsyn Jones | Practical Farmers of Iowa | (515) 232-5661 |

MINGO, Iowa — Farmers who want to learn how grass-finished beef carcasses are graded will have a unique opportunity at a Practical Farmers of Iowa field day on Saturday, Oct. 15, from 1-4 p.m., at Mingo Locker in Mingo (102 W Main Street). The event – “Grading Grass-Finished Carcasses for Meat Quality” – is the second in a two-part series exploring the use of ultrasound technology as a tool in managing grass-finished cattle. Those who did not attend the first part are still welcome to attend.

The field day is free and will include light snacks, but RSVPs are required, due to space limitations at Mingo Locker. Please contact Lauren Zastrow, or (515) 232-5661, by Wednesday, Oct. 12. The event is sponsored by Mingo Locker.

At the locker, attendees will get to inspect four grass-finished beef carcasses from Bruce Carney’s farm. Bruce and his family operate Carney Family Farms near Maxwell, and hosted a field day on Sept. 28 where guests had a chance to view these same animals – which were ultrasounded twice to help determine carcass traits – live in the field. Guests who attended that event will get to compare the carcasses against the ultrasound data to see how well it captured traits like marbling, rib eye area and backfat.

Those who did not attend the first field day in the series will still have a unique opportunity to see grass-finished beef carcasses, learn how they are graded, observe carcass characteristics in each cut and see up close how grass-finished carcasses differ from grain-finished carcasses. Joe Sellers, beef specialist with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, will grade the carcasses during the event, discussing meat quality and differences in grass- versus grain-finishing.

The event will also feature a tour of Mingo Locker, and Alex Frangopol, the butcher, will share his experiences processing grass-finished meat. In addition, Bruce Carney will speak about direct-marketing his grass-finished cattle.

Mingo Locker is a small-scale butcher shop; Bruce processes his cattle there. Carney Family Farms include 125 cow-calf pairs; a grass-finishing operation; and direct-marketing of beef, pork and chicken.

Directions: Mingo Locker is located in the middle of Mingo, at the corner of West Main Street and Station Street.

Practical Farmers of Iowa’s 2016 field day season features 25 events around Iowa. All field days occur rain or shine, and feature farmer-led discussions and farm or field tours. Details are in Practical Farmers’ “2016 Field Day Guide,” available at, or for free in print.

Practical Farmers’ 2016 field days are supported by several sustaining and major sponsors, including: Albert Lea Seed; Applegate Organic & Natural Meats; Center for Rural Affairs; Featherman Equipment; Grain Millers, Inc.; Iowa Agriculture Water Alliance; Iowa Beef Center; Iowa’s Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (I-CASH); Iowa Cover Crop; Iowa Environmental Council; Iowa State University Department of Agronomy; ISU Extension and Outreach; ISU Graduate Program in Sustainable Agriculture; Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture; Midwest Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES); MOSA Organic Certification; National Wildlife Federation; Natural Resources Defense Council; North Central Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE); Organic Valley – Organic Prairie – CROPP Cooperative; RIMOL Greenhouse Systems; Riverside Feeds, LLC; Soil First; The Yield Lab; Trees Forever; Wallace Chair for Sustainable Agriculture; Welter Seed & Honey Co.; and Willcross Soybeans.


Practical Farmers of Iowa strengthens farms and communities through farmer-led investigation and information-sharing. Our values include: welcoming everyone; creativity, collaboration and community; viable farms now and for future generations; and stewardship and ecology. Founded in 1985, farmers in our network raise corn, soybeans, livestock, hay, fruits and vegetables, and more. To learn more, visit