Saturday, August 1, 2009

GREEN LIVING: Natural Grass Fed Beef - More to Natural Than Grass

By Win Brookhouse

When the term natural grass fed beef is used few people really see the full picture. It is not just putting cattle out in a pasture and turning them lose to graze, end of story. It is the natural way with which the rancher handles his animals and cares for them.

Working cattle from horseback is becoming a lost art. Most modern ranchers round up the cattle with ATVs, polluting the environment and creating an unnatural condition for the cattle. They will tell you that the cows get use to it, but really, what choice does the cow have. Working the cows from horseback or on foot creates a gentle personal environment for both the cattle and the rancher; best of all it is environmentally friendly.

A small family-owned rancher believes in this natural way of ranching. He knows each of his cows and takes joy in seeing them happy and contented. When the new calves arrive he loves to watch them with their mothers. He halter breaks his bulls so they are easy to move and catch when they some times decide to breakout and go for a stroll. Checking on them on horseback and taking them out to graze, along the roadside in the spring, builds his relationship with each animal and helps him to get to know each one's personality.

More than that he uses what is available and, by being inventive, bypasses the constant buying and discarding of farm equipment. This creates an ecologically friendly solution to the discarding and upgrading of expensive equipment that puts out large amounts of carbon in its manufacture and it operation. He and his fellow ranchers recycle old truck and cars instead of always buying new ones, they also recycle old tires, using the ones with good tread. The tires also come in handy for insulating water tanks in the winter time, instead of using up electricity that comes from coal burning power plants in South Dakota.

Many of us forget that the manufacturing of vehicles, tires, farm equipment, tools have a large effect on the carbon footprint of the United States, more so than the few extra gallons of gas that an old truck may burn. Doing chores like fixing fences and putting in gates and posts are done by hand labor instead of using a gas powered auger or a tractor.

In short, natural grass fed really means that as much of the process of raising beef should be environmentally friendly. It may mean more personal labor, but to a traditional rancher that is a small price to pay for a better, healthier, cleaner America.

By Win Brookhouse - Contributing writer for Support natural grass fed beef.

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