Free Range Beef Saves Bees and Prevents Desertification
When we began our journey to improve the food supply we chose to focus on beef over all other food. We did so not because it is the #1 expenditure in the US diet budget, but more importantly, we felt the practices of raising beef by mega corporations had reached an all-time low.
Treating animals inhumanely not only reduces the nutritional value of the protein they produce and creates super bugs that make humans sick, it also destroys the environment through destructive practices that keep cattle overcrowded in limited spaces to minimize costs and increase yield.
Humane treatment of our beef and improving the environment is important to us. That’s why we were excited to discover a study conducted by the University of California Berkeley in 2011 that identified free range pasture lands including those grazed by cattle, propagate growth in bee and other pollinator populations.
The study identified that, "range land habitats often provide a diverse array of successive blooms, supporting the needs of multiple bee species."
Allan Savory, an internationally respected ecologist from Rhodesia who has done studies around the world including the US, has proven that free range cattle grazing in large herds, improves soil conditions by stomping grasses into the ground which speeds up the erosion process to make way for new plants and naturally fertilizing as the cattle move in herds to new grasses.
Free range cattle actually prevent and even reverse desertification and increase plant variety and productivity. So, it’s understandable that free range herds would in fact provide an environment that grows a variety of bee populations.
Bee populations have been diminishing as desertification and soil erosion have grown significantly. There are other factors contributing to the decline in bee populations, but, I was happy to learn free range cattle ranching as we practice on Nurture Ranch helps grow those populations. Bees and other pollen spreaders are important to our agriculture as 2/3 of all global crop species depend on animal pollinators.
What I find interesting is that when I first began looking at pastures to nurture our cattle in the waist-high grasses of East Texas, I was regularly buzzed by bees. I did not understand the symbiotic relationship between bees and free range cattle. I believed that bees flying around our pastures were simply more prevalent in East Texas, where commercial flowers, tall grass, giant pine trees and natural honey production is plentiful.
Prior to learning about theses studies, I had asked our team to incorporate bee imagery in our branding because there was something natural and magical about their presence in our pastures.
We eventually took the bees out of our designs because we thought it might confuse customers who would wonder, “why does a 100% grass fed beef company have bees on the package? Do they sell honey beef?”
Interesting though, if you look at the colors of the Nurture Ranch logo, you will see the colors are yellow and black, inspired by the bees and green inspired by our tall lush green grass.
To learn more about the bee study by the University Of California Berkley as featured in The Atlantic click here.
To watch a Ted Talk by Allan Savory on "How to fight desertification and reverse climate change" through free range herd management click here.
Keep On Ranching!
Rodney Mason, CEO