Hides from Texas, where cattle are branded, are generally useless because the scars break up a continuous piece of material, says consultant Jim Gillette of International Resource Network Inc. in Grand Rapids, Mich.
In Germany, farmers used to construct their homes above their barns, where a few well-cared-for cattle were kept. That leather was top-notch but expensive.
Most leather today comes from cattle that live much of the time out in the open, where they get occasional scars and rough spots. According to Eagle Ottawa Leather Co., when these scars heal, they can reveal the natural beauty of leather.