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