The front end of a cow carcass was dangling from the ceiling. With a butcher's hook and a boning knife in my hands, I regarded the bright-red expanse of raw meat. The day before, on the first day of Beef 101 class, I had patted this steer on the forehead. My classmates and I had met at the Texas A&M Beef Center in the rural farmland outside College Station. In the barn out back, we estimated the grades of six cattle on the hoof, guessing at yield and quality by petting, stroking and poking the apprehensive animals — just like cattle buyers at an auction barn. We nicknamed the fattest one Porky and... More >>>