How Local Ranches Sustain Your Community’s Environment
In recent years, cattle ranchers and farmers have returned to a more natural way of raising cattle and growing vegetables and fruit. The obvious benefit goes to consumers who have the chance to purchase organic produce and beef that is 100% grass-fed and pasture-finished.
Another beneficiary is the local environment. In the case of Acabonac Farms, that means the rich soil and robust vegetation around the fields of the East End of Long Island. Protecting that environment, which has supported farmers and ranchers for hundreds of years, is as much a part of the operation as raising cattle.
There are many ways ranchers such as Acabonac Farms affect the environment in a positive way. They include the following.
No Growth Hormones, No Sub-Therapeutic Antibiotics
Consumers have become savvy about what goes into their food. The growth hormones used by industrial cattle operations, as well as the growth promoting antibiotics used to treat cattle who become ill eating grains, can get passed through the cattle to your dinner table.
It also affects the environment. Runoff from cattle operations into local streams, rivers and lakes can put antibiotics into local environmental systems, typically through fish. While studies have differed in their conclusions about the impact on the environment, Acabonac Farms deals with the issue simply and cleanly: they don’t use growth hormones or sub-therapeutic antibiotics at all with their cattle.
They don’t use pesticides, insecticides or herbicides on pastures, either.
As part of producing 100% grass-fed, pasture-finished beef, Acabonac Farms uses a system of rotational grazing. It not only provides cattle with a rich variety of forage, it also helps sustain the local environment on the East End of Long Island.
Rotational grazing involves moving the herd frequently, sometimes multiple times per day, from one section of the pasture to another. Acabonac Farms uses complex calculations to determine how much grass is available in sections of the pasture, how many head of cattle the amount of grass can sustain and how weather conditions are affecting grass growth.
Rotational grazing allows each area of the pasture to recover quicker after cattle graze. It also reduces soil erosion and water runoff by leaving grass with larger mass in the root systems. And rotating the cattle also spreads cow manure across the pasture more evenly. All this helps sustain the natural richness of the East End pastures.
Grass, Not Grains
Cattle in large, industrial beef operations spend the first few months with their mother, grazing on grass. But then, they are sold to feed lots where they eat grains and are often given growth hormones to quicken weight gain.
In addition to the fact that cows are not genetically disposed to eating grain, large operations require growing substantial amounts of grain that can lead to soil erosion. Keeping cattle fed on what nature produces allows a cattle ranch to act harmoniously with nature, not attempt to change it for their use.
A clear majority of scientists agree that the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere through the burning of fossil fuels is a major cause of global warming. But by managing the land in a careful way - adhering to the principle of working in harmony with nature and not against it - ranches such as Acabonac Farms help offset the burning of fossil fuel through carbon sequestration.
Simply put, carbon sequestration involves keeping carbon dioxide held in a solid form rather than released into the atmosphere. Through the land management processes listed above, 100% grass-fed cattle operations support healthier soil and lush forage that holds carbon dioxide rather than releasing it into the atmosphere.Producing quality, healthy beef is the goal of Acabonac Farms. Sustaining the environment is another. With dedication and commitment to a more natural way of farming and cattle ranching, agriculture operations all around Long Island are helping to change our approach to food while acting as stewards for our natural resources.
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Also in In the Field
Cattle have a bad reputation among some in the environmental movement. They’ve been targeted as one of the main contributing factors to global warming, producing methane that has more impact on the greenhouse effect per kilogram than does carbon dioxide.
So, let’s just get rid of all the cows! Problem solved.
Not so fast.