The word sustainable can mean many different things to different people. There has been a lot of attention given to sustainability and sustainable agriculture lately, but we’ve been farming this way for decades, before it became trendy.
For us, sustainability isn’t just in the way we preserve the land, it’s in the families who preserve the land for us. If our farmers and ranchers are not economically viable, they will lose their land, which diminishes the opportunity for future generations to return to the farm. Based on this belief, we incorporate components that balance the needs we have today without compromising the needs we will have tomorrow, from an environmental, economic and people perspective.
Our definition of sustainability is three-fold:
- Environmental: Traditional family farmers use methods that have been passed down from generation to generation allowing for preservation of the land and care for the animals. Examples include alternative energy sources, raising fewer animals per acre and rotational grazing.
- Economic: Farmers are paid a premium price and given access to a national marketplace in which to sell their livestock. Our structure provides the small farmer a viable livelihood that its small, rural community, although ideal for raising animals, cannot provide.
- Social: We help keep generations of family farmers on their land and in their local community so that in turn those local communities can thrive.
Yes, this does takes extra work, tenacity and dedication, but it pays back through both the quality of the land and the quality of our meat.
Our Top 10 Sustainable Best Practices:
- Pay farmers a premium in accordance to our strict raising protocols to ensure the economic viability of their business.
- Establish a floor price for our farmers tied to the cost of inputs of feed and fuel.
- Provide a robust and growing national marketplace for our small, independent farmers and ranchers to sell their products.
- Promote agricultural biodiversity by using breeds which thrive in their natural environment.
- Practice genetic diversity to keep breeds healthy over generations.
- Maintain livestock density well below the conventional industry standard so the land will not be overburdened.
- Raise livestock in areas where feed is locally available to reduce transportation needs and lower the carbon footprint.
- Mitigate soil erosion and/or loss by maintaining pasture with coverage for livestock, crop rotation, rotational grazing and responsible waste/manure management.
- Prohibit the use of concentrated liquid manure systems that are used in conventional feedlot settings.
- Utilize buffer strips and grassed waterways to support soil and water quality.