The past two years we have battled pink eye and foot rot in our cow herd. While they are not life threatening to the animals, it is often the sign of a larger problem. Both illnesses cause the animals discomfort, something we work hard to minimize and cost us time, effort, and money to treat.
Recently livestock have received the stigma that raising and consuming them is bad for the environment. But what this assumption does is paint all meat consumption with too broad a brush. It fails to take into account how the animal was raised. The differences between grass fed in a regenerative, multi species system and in a grain fed CAFO.
There is a lot of debate when it comes to if beef is good for you or the environment. What complicates things, and I think causes a lot of confusion, is it depends on how the cow is raised. If the cow spent it’s life on lush pastures and didn’t eat grain, then that animal will deeply nourish your body and help the environment. If that cow was raised in a feedlot with thousands of it’s closest friends then that animal is more likely to contribute to environmental degradation, antibiotic resistance and E-coli breakouts.
Farming is one of those things where there is no substitute for hands on experience and first hand learning. Even pasture walks and farm tours are a great way to see what other farmers are doing and how they handle problems and challenges. The bad news is that it isn’t always possible to learn first hand from an expert. Books can often help fill in some of the gaps and give you ideas and starting points for things to try on your own farm. Winter often leaves a slow season when outside work diminishes and there is plenty of time for researching and learning by the wood stove with a hot drink at hand.
There are a lot of labels for farms these days, which has led to a lot of confusion and misunderstandings. Conventional… Sustainable… Regenerative… what do they all mean?
First and foremost, Willow Farm is a regenerative farm and always has been. Since the beginning we have been committed to doing things in a way that is best for the land, the animals, and for the people around us. So what is a regenerative farm? Here’s some definitions:
Welcome to Willow Farm's blog! I'm Kyle, farm manager and all things marketing