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Beef From Dairy Cows? It Could Be a Lifeline for American Farmers.



But for this to be more than a boutique experiment, Mr. Barber said a market needs to be created for it. Small dairy farmers have to be persuaded to pasture the cattle an extra six months or so before selling them, he said, an added expense but worth it for the increased return. Most important, he added, the beef should carry a name that develops cachet like Black Angus, Niman Ranch or Snake River Farms.

Tim Joseph, who in 2009 founded Maple Hill Organic, a consortium of more than 100 grass-fed dairy farms in New York, said a few farmers have been selling their culls to premium beef companies, but most do not.

Jill Gould, who owns Har-Go Farms with her husband, Stephen Gould, a fourth-generation farmer, sells their Butter Meat beef online and in a store near the farm. At Gage & Tollner, a restaurant in Brooklyn, N.Y., the executive chef, Sydne Gooden, has been buying whatever she can from Butter Meat for about a year, and using the trimmings for lunchtime burgers.

“The flavor, with aged fat, is so good,” she said. Occasionally, she offers rib-eye as a dinner special.

Last month at Blue Hill, in a blind tasting of four cuts of choice-grade steaks from grain-fed and grass-fed animals and from the dairy cows, the clear winner in terms of flavor, richness, complexity and tenderness was the beef from “the ladies,” as Mr. Barber calls the dairy cows.

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