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Organic Food Working with Nature - an Example

The Conventional Way or Nature’s Way – One of Many Examples

As long time readers know I was raised on meat and potatoes. My father was a meat salesmen — so we had plenty of it.

The more Bill and I learned about how animals were raised and their meat was treated before it reached our table, the more we wanted to excluded it from our diet.

Eventually we just about eliminated it, and get/got our protein from plants.

Someone Trustworthy that Raises Great Beef

About a decade ago, I was introduced to folks in Idaho that raise beef according to nature’s principles and whose standards are much higher than just the regulations that govern the “certified organic” program. This is a family farm that even supervises the butchering, packing, and shipping of all their meat. Each piece can be traced to the cow it came from! (Almost unheard of today.)

Thus, we designated $200 for their beef every year. We’d freeze it to have on hand when Bill’s patrons ate at our table — which was fairly often.

If I eat any meat at all – this is the meat I’ll eat.

Managing More Than 46,000 acres Hand in Hand with Nature

Even though I haven’t ordered for about 4 years, I still take their emails that are filled with wonderful stories of how they manage 72 square miles (more than 46,000 acres) of wilderness hand in hand with nature and about 600 head of cattle that share the land with wolves, bear, mountain lions, elk, deer, and lots of other critters.

The Effect of Organic Taking More of the Market

Organic has taken more of a share of the market in recent years. Companies and individuals have hopped on the band wagon thinking to join in because there’s money to be made. In most cases, when that’s the only reason they’re in it, they’ll cut corners whenever and wherever they can.

And with the corporate take over of the organic program in recent years, standards are being constantly lowered.

The “Original” Organic Growers

Before organic was “in”, most organic growers were in it because they saw that nature knew what she was doing and they wanted to follow that way. They did/do things because they were the right way long before the certified organic program existed.

Why Growers Usually Change from Conventional to Organic

It’s interesting to read stories (and there are many) of genuine organic growers who started out as conventional growers. They changed because they saw first hand that conventional is almost always totally against nature. They got tired of fighting that battle and turned to working with nature when they figured out that was the solution.

Here’s What the Couple in Idaho Experienced

Thirty years ago when this couple started raising cattle they followed along with what the majority was doing in most things.

In a recent email they tell of one procedure that caused a lot of hardship and problems. They changed to doing it nature’s way and eliminated just about every problem involved.

Following is the conventional procedure, the reason for it, some of the problems it caused, nature’s solution, and the simple thing that brought them to that aha moment of realization.

The Conventional Procedure

Ranchers raising cattle time mating to produce calves in the dead of winter, December through March.

The Rea$on for It

Ranchers came up with this procedure to get calves started a month or so ahead of spring so they’d be as big as possible by the time grass died back in the fall. That’s when they loaded calves on trucks to be sold at market. Those few extra pounds bring a few extra dollars.

The reason for most conventional procedures, be it in raising animals for food, raising crops, or home gardening can be traced to making a few extra dollars rather than being the right way to do things.

Some of the Problems Calving in Winter Brought About

Here are some things that had to happen in order to keep newborn calves alive in subzero temperatures:

  • Ranchers had to be on hand for every calving in those subzero temps to ensure the calf got up immediately. If it didn’t, its core temperature would drop so quickly it wouldn’t survive.
  • Sometimes ranchers spent the night just dozing in the calving barn to keep watch.
  • Their presence stressed the cows. At times cows would stop labor due to stress. Nature would have had them looking for a private place to give birth rather than under floodlights in a barn with humans.
  • If labor didn’t progress, intervention with chains and calf pullers were needed to get the baby out.
  • Other requirements for this unnatural process was high dollar hay to feed lactating mama cows.
  • Adequate bedding was need for calving in snow.
  • Windbreaks were needed to keep subzero breezes of the babies.
  • Extensive lighting systems were installed to be able to see what cows were starting to calve.

Nature’s Solution and the Simple Thing that Caused an Aha Moment for this Rancher and his Wife

Almost all of us are so programmed by our society that it sometimes takes us a while to realize that there’s a much simpler and better way. And in many cases, it can be right in front of us.

One spring when the elk, antelope and deer (and the other animals of the field) were bearing their young in the warmth and green grass of spring, this Idaho rancher and his wife decided to follow suit.

They held the bulls off the cows and timed calving to take place in the spring, long about May, on green grass and the high sun of spring.

Problems Nature’s Way Solved

  • Disease is almost nil.
  • Seldom is human assistance needed.
  • Cows are in the pasture and not stressed by night lights and humans.
  • Cows take care of the birthing themselves as was intended.
  • Rarely is a calf lost.
  • The ranchers don’t have to spend nights out in the cold and try to keep the newborns alive.

Final Thoughts

The young in nature are born when conditions are best for their survival. Not in the dead of winter.

When winter winds blow now on this Idaho ranch, all the calves are safely in the womb of their mothers where the cold can’t get to them. Just as it was always intended.

Please let me know if you receive two notices (emails) for this post. Thanks. I’m still working on trying to get it right. 🙂

Related Posts

Trying to Cut Back on Meat?

Information to Think on Before You Purchase Food, Hydroponics, Afo-Cafo- Meats – Vitamins and even Grain for your Animals You Might Think is Organic.

Organic Gardening – Gardening with Nature – Simple or Complicated

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All content including photos is copyrighted by TendingMyGarden.com.  All Rights Reserved.

37 Comments

  • Theresa, I am glad to see a post from you! I only got one email notification. I, too, am interested in receiving contact info for these folks! Thanks!

  • Getting two copies of your e-mail. Thank you for not giving up after Bill passed. Your followers love to hear from you and find out everything that is happening. God Bless

  • Hi Theresa,
    I received one copy. I so appreciate the practice of these folks. We buy locally from a ranch who practices in similar ways.

  • Thanks for your post, and passing on the current news! Sounds like the couple in Idaho have got the right idea. Please see realorganicproject.org to learn of folks who are standing up for the original intent of “organic” because they are more than frustrated with what current USDA “organic” stands for.

    And I think you’d be very interested in the face book page: Kansas/Nebraska Soil Stewardship Group, a page that is dedicated to farmers, ranchers and others who see building soil health as their primary focus and work; lots of good posts and re-posts on that page (continually) from “boots on the ground” (farmers, ranchers, scientists, and all others connected with true soil, plant, animal health – not to mention the health of our planet Earth!). Myriads of posts with up to the minute soil microbiology and other reports.

  • I received 2 copies.

    I’m seeing much more organic products and the prices have really come down on many items.
    When I see Walmart selling organic greens at prices not far off from non organic I wonder how
    “organic” the product really is. Obviously huge volumes pass through Walmart so can organic be done right with super big mass merchandising today? Are we going to need a new category for organic such as true organic or somewhat organic. The deception of labeling in most of our food products is misleading….natural flavoring ect. Sounds good but what is natural flavoring?
    It’s a crap shoot out there for sure. Being an informed buyer is our best protection and vote with your pocket book by not falling for junk labeling. I hope that when we see organic it is organic.

    Thanks and “Best of Health”

    Jim

  • Theresa

    I would greatly appreciate info on the folks as well. Thank you, as always for the honest information you give us.

    Peace

    Gail

  • Good Morning Theresa,

    I got them both & they look like what you sent before.

    Thanks so much for the information. I would love the email info as well when you have time.

  • I got two email notices, one from MailChimp and one from Google.

    This post made me remember my grandfather, who always kept a cow.

    The little meat I buy comes from our local Farmers’ Market. It may not always be certified organic, but I know it’s local, grass-fed when there’s grass, raised outdoors when weather permits, by the people I meet at the weekly market – not in industrial conditions and feedlots. I also like knowing that a pound of ground beef is all from the same cow, not unknown numbers of animals ground together.

    Permaculture teaches us that it simply works to raise animals along with growing vegetables.

    My son went to university this year and is noncommittally turning vegetarian. The meat in the cafeteria doesn’t feel right to him.

  • Hi Theresa – received 2 copies. Love reading about these folks, their land, cows and little calves; great mental pictures. I don’t eat much meat either, but now know where to get the best. Judith

  • Thank you for your post. I, too, would like to have this information. Recently I have eliminated gluten in my diet and found that, even though meat is technically gluten free, beef was still giving me a problem. My thought is that mass produced beef has a diet that conflicts with my diet.

  • I only received one copy as well. I have also greatly decreased my meat consumption after learning many years ago how terrible conditions are for most animals. I am fortunate to be able to purchase meat from 2 local farmers. I budget accordingly so I can afford to purchase from them. I think most people would do the same if they knew where their meat was coming from.

  • Hi, Theresa. Always nice to hear from you.
    I received two emails; one to regular folder, one to promotions. I’m using Google mail.
    I’d love to hear more about the ranchers.

  • Blessings to you at this holiday season. It’s good to hear from you again!
    I received 2 of the emails.

  • Thank you all for your response. I’ve answered everyone via personal email except for Heather and Jim Christensen. They both brought up excellent points that I wanted to reply to publicly because I felt others could benefit by the information.

    Heather, thanks for taking time to let me know how many notices you received.
    Glad you have a place you trust for meat. Your being educated on what’s done goes a long way towards making sure you’re getting a good product.

    The danger for many when they buy from local farmers is that they don’t really know what they should be aware of. One prime concern should be whether or not animals are fed with GMO feed. That’s something that transfers to our bodies and something we want to stay away from. I’ll discuss more about that in future posts.

    As you touched on, animals were raised with vegetables for years on family farms. One benefited the other. When one can handle that work load, it’s a great process.
    If not there are other ways: http://tendingmygarden.com/soil-fertility-without-manure-or-compost/

    Jim,
    Thanks for taking time to reply.

    I will not purchase any organic produce from Walmart. Most of it comes from China. That’s why it’s so inexpensive. HOWEVER, even though it is marked as organic it probably is NOT.

    In the first place China has very unhealthy practices on how they grow food.
    In addition, only a tiny percentage of what comes in from any foreign country is actually checked. US Dept of Agriculture doesn’t have the man power or the funds to check it all.

    There was a flurry of articles not long ago about things being marked as certified organic that when tested had all kinds of chemicals in them. Those products (grains) were found to have left their country as conventionally produced goods (raised with chemicals and poisons) and then somewhere along the way to the US the label was changed to USDA certified organic!

    As far as anything being labeled “natural flavoring” —as you indicated Jim – that means nothing. It’s only marketing to get folks to “feel” safe.

    The sad reality of the world we live in is that what is marked organic is not always organic. We have to do our homework in order to make the best choices.

    Growing as much of our food as we can is one of our best options.

    Theresa

  • I got two emails, I think the second one was for this post also (one about trending posts and a second that was just the post link itself like normal)
    I’m glad you’re up to writing posts and trying things on the blog. Just the other day I was noticing I hadn’t heard from you in a while and wondered how things were going.

  • Theresa,
    I only received one post. Great to see you’re back with new posts, hope you are all healed after your fall last summer. Enjoying your book & wishing for spring to get back to the garden.
    Thank you,
    Shaula

  • Thanks or letting me know Shaula.
    So glad you are enjoying the book. Spring will be here before we know it!
    All my best,
    Theresa

  • Thanks for this interesting and helpful article. I did receive two emails; one link did not work, but the earlier one did. I would like to receive info on the ranch mentioned in the article. Thank you for all you do Best wishes.

  • Thanks Marmie for letting me know.
    I’ll email you giving you the information for the ranch right after I post this.
    Theresa

  • Hello Theresa, I received one email, an error post from Feedburner. I had to get this post by going to Archives then to Recent Posts. Finally I was able to read it.

    So much info here. I have always been skeptical of organics in stores, one reason I started my own garden. I have not purchased any Romaine in stores this year because of E coli. Not in my garden. In Florida we are feasting on lettuces. My Winter Density is up and almost ready. Probably why your posts are so important to all of us. We want the control of what we eat and what better way than to grow it ourselves.

    Thank you for sharing your knowledge with us.
    Bonnie

  • Thanks Bonnie for letting me know about the email you received.
    Henceforth, no one should receive any emails from Feedburner, but
    rather one from Mail Chimp.
    I checked to make sure your name was not accidentally deleted from the list when I exported it to the new carrier.
    All seems well.

    I agree, I wouldn’t think of buying lettuce in the store. Haven’t for years. Originally I stopped buying it because it has no taste and as you and I both know – it can’t compare to homegrown.

    As you said, anything we can grow is of benefit when we want to control what we eat.

    Thanks for taking time to update me, Bonnie.
    Theresa

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