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A Brief History of Wagyu Beef 


Wagyu comes from the Japanese word for cattle. This phrase essentially refers to cattle in Japan as, 'Wa' signifies Japanese and 'gyu' is the term for cow. Wagyu refers to a Japanese breed of beef cattle. These animals were originally used as work animals to help farmers with their daily agricultural tasks on the farm. These horned cattle are red or black. Since these animals were used to doing work, fat could be found lodged between muscle fibers, known as intra-muscular fat cells. Another term for this is marbling, which makes their beef highly sought after.

Wagyu in Japan 


Wagyu cattle were crossed with other breeds starting in 1868. The government was encouraging Western practices of culture and food in the country. Different types of cattle were imported to Japan at this time, including Ayrshire, Brown Swiss, Simmental, Korean, Shorthorn, and Devon breeds. This genetic mixture was stopped in 1910.

Four breeds today are referred to as Wagyu in Japan. These cattle breeds are Japanese Brown (known as Red Wagyu in the United States), Japanese Shorthorn, Japanese Polled, and Japanese Black (the main breed exported to the USA).


​Wagyu in the United States 


Wagyu beef were introduced on American soil in 1975. This is when two red and black bulls were imported by a man named Morris Whitney. Tariffs on imported beef from Japan were lowered in 1989, which motivated US producers to make products of high quality for Japan. Mainly black and some red Wagyu cattle were imported to the United States around this time in the 1990s.

Wagyu beef in Georgia is a unique and high-quality beef sought out by many. The marbling of the beef makes it very tasty and tender to eat. This type of beef is also a healthy choice of beef to consume due to the intra-muscular marbling. 

The Wagyu Health Difference


Health experts have proven that the mono-unsaturated to saturated fat ratio is high in Wagyu beef, compared to other types of beef available. About forty percent of this type of fat is stearic acid, which has a low chance of raising cholesterol levels in people who eat it.

If you are interested in learning more about this breed of cattle feel free to reach out to us with any questions or take a look at the American Wagyu Association website. 


Genetics of Providence Farmstead Beef

According to the American Wagyu Association, as of 2018, there are approximately 30,000 full-blood Wagyu cattle in the United States. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) defines American Wagyu as offspring of the Wagyu breed with more than 46.875% traceable Wagyu genetics. In order to differentiate our cows from full-blood Wagyu, our cows are designated as American Wagyu. In our breeding program, we use four full-blood Wagyu sires genetically proven for their quality carcasses. 

Our Wagyu sires are crossed with Jersey cows. This intentional cross combines the best of beef and dairy characteristics. Jerseys are known for presenting the highest marbling among dairy breeds. The cross between the Wagyu and Jersey results in high-quality, affordable American Wagyu. 

High-Quality Beef

We are excited to share that here at Providence Farmstead our beef stands out in quality. The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) grades beef based on two factors: quality and yield. Quality is determined by tenderness, juiciness, and flavor. While yield refers to the amount of lean meat which can be obtained from the carcass. Based on quality and yield, the USDA certifies beef as either Prime, Choice, or Select. 

Prime beef contains a generous about of marbling (the amount of fat distributed with lean meat). Prime beef is the highest quality beef available. Only about 3% of all beef in the United States is graded Prime.

Choice beef is still high-quality beef but either presents a lower yield or less marbling than prime.

Select beef is tender due to less marbling and is leaner than higher grades. Because of the lack of marbling, it does not present as much juiciness and flavor. 

At Providence Farmstead 80 percent of our carcasses inspected by USDA have been graded PRIME and the remainder were graded HIGH CHOICE. 

If you are interested in learning more about the USDA grading system check out their website.

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