Raising Sustainable Beef Just Got Bigger – and Better
Grass-fed, pasture-raised beef makes for happier cows, happier land and happier eaters. But sustainable, conscionable ranching has traditionally been carried out by very small, very local operations. Does caring about meat within the larger ecosystem have to mean caring for just a few very lucky cows?
One of our favorite producers, La Cense Beef, is proving that delicious, healthy meat can be produced at a larger scale than previously thought possible. In doing so, it is leading the charge in bringing bigger farms into these practices.
Though the La Cense Beef property is a full 88,000 acres, this is no factory farm. The cattle is rotated from meadow to meadow to keep them happy and the land naturally fertilized. Their cowboys are trained to pay close attention to a steer’s individual behavior and needs. This natural environment and diet keeps their digestive systems happier, so they don’t need the same regimen of antibiotics that feed lot cows are raised with. The cows grow more slowly, their meat develops naturally, and they aren’t given growth hormones to speed things up — they’re even grass-finished rather than grain-finished, only ever eating as cows are naturally meant to through their entire lives. And due to the size of La Cense Beef’s operation, a whole lot more cows are benefiting.
This large-scale ranching means more land dedicated to sustainable practices, more properly-raised livestock and far more delicious dinners. While it’s still a much more intensive process than raising your average factory-farmed cow, the rich, deeply flavorful meat is well worth the effort and attention.