|Society for Range Management|
The Society for Range Management and the American Grassfed Association (AGA) held the symposium on low-input grassfed livestock production at Working Landscapes: Providing for the Future, the 63rd SRM annual meeting, on 11 February 2010 in Denver, Colorado. The producer-oriented session involved five presentations by ranchers producing grassfed meat or genetics primarily on native rangelands of the western U.S., and one presentation by dairy-farming veterinarians, all of which can be considered case studies of the experiences and observations of the authors; as well as one scientific study, an overview of grazing management, and presentations by the American Grassfed Association and the Southwest Grassfed Livestock Alliance. Videos of the presentations are available on the SRM website.
The Virtues of Grassfed Products for Consumers
Meg Cattell and Arden Nelson
Windsor Dairy, Windsor, Colorado
“Windsor Dairy is about family friendly farming and incorporating beauty into our lives,” said Meg Cattell. She and husband Arden Nelson produce raw milk and raw milk cheese – Grade A, certified organic, pasture fed, from American Devon and milking Shorthorn cattle. The cheese is produced with no chilling, pumping, or heating, and is sold within 100 miles of Windsor, Colorado.
Appropriately, Windsor Dairy is converting old feedlots to pasture. They use mob grazing, irrigation, and a pasture seed mix to restore degraded land. This involves no tillage but occasional drilling, and some mowing. “If we’re not careful, we’ll reinvent the prairie,” Cattell said.
Cattell and Nelson are both veterinarians, and Windsor Dairy’s livestock management promotes animal welfare: they have found that with planned rotational grazing and freedom of motion, the cattle are relatively free of disease. Windsor Dairy’s organic herd has a clinical mastitis rate below 1%, and a total death/cull rate of only 7%, well below U.S. averages, according to Cattell. Grain feeding, in contrast, increases rumen acidity, leading to acidosis (a common metabolic disorder of grain-fed cattle) , and increasing concentrations of pathogens such as acid-resistant Escherichia coli .
“We are reinventing real food,” Cattell said. Windsor’s milk is 4.5% fat and 3.8% protein, which is higher than whole milk from confined dairy cattle (3.3% fat and 3.2% protein) . Grassfed is usually leaner than grain-fed meat, and although the total saturated fatty acid content may be similar, the grassfed beef fatty acid profile may be more nutritious .
Cattell asserted that the largest health problem in the western world may be omega-3 fatty acid deficiency, which is related to chronic inflammatory and neurological diseases. Cattell said that the desired omega-6 to omega-3 ratio is <3:1, but the average western diet is about 15:1. She said that conventional beef is about 20:1; grassfed beef, 5:1; and wild game, 3:1. Published data vary, but show that grassfed beef has more omega-3 fatty acids, and a lower omega-6 to omega-3 ratio, on a g/g fat basis. Polyunsaturated, including omega-3, fatty acid concentration in meat decreases with days on grain feed .
Grassfed raw meat and milk may have several times as much conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) as grain-fed products . A fatty acid found only in ruminant meat and dairy products, CLA has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties in mice, but has not yet been conclusively shown to be significant to human health .
In addition to human nutrition, grassfed production addresses natural resources conservation issues, including soil and water conservation, organic matter (carbon) sequestration, wildlife and plant diversity. For example, Windsor Dairy’s manure is low in phosphorus, unlike the manure of grain-fed cattle. Dung beetles recycle it into the soil. “There is a closed loop of nutrient cycling on the farm,” said Cattell—as nearly a complete whole as a farm can be.
Ranching in Sync with Nature
Lasater Grasslands Beef, Matheson, Colorado
Ranching in sync with nature on the prairie—stewardship of the land, forage, livestock, and wildlife—is “akin to heaven,” according to Dale Lasater.
|A cell center on the Lasater Ranch. Courtesy Dale Lasater|
|Dale Lasater with his Beefmaster cattle. Courtesy Dale Lasater|
|The Lasater Ranch in February, during the SRM pre-conference tour. Dan Nosal|
It is possible to increase total forage utilization significantly with sheep and cattle compared to cattle alone, due to a greater diversity of plant species being grazed; thus a higher stocking rate can be sustained under multiple-species grazing [18,19]. Sheep select forbs, including many weeds, and will forage near cow dung. For instance, in Montana, sheep grazing for several years significantly reduced leafy spurge (Euphorbia esula L.) abundance . Goats prefer browse, and so have even less dietary overlap with cattle than do sheep . Pastured poultry eat mostly insects and seeds, but do graze some grass and forbs [22,23].
Multiple-species grazing mitigates risk by diversifying income and allows for multiple marketing opportunities each year. Producers considering different species of livestock should determine their centerpiece enterprise based on their competitive advantage and the species with the highest gross margin. Too many operations use cattle as the centerpiece: many lack a competitive advantage and would yield a higher gross margin from other species. The net income should be at least half of the gross. Stacked or ancillary enterprises should feed off of surplus inputs and labor from the centerpiece.
Multiple-species grazing can be done with leader-follower, flerd, or complementary grazing.
|Sheep and cattle in leader-follower grazing. Courtesy Richard Parry|
|Sheep and cattle in a flerd. Courtesy Richard Parry|
Benefits of Low-Input Ranching
Pharo Cattle Co., Cheyenne Wells, Colorado
“Agriculture that is not profitable and enjoyable will never be sustainable,” Kit Pharo of Pharo Cattle Co. in eastern Colorado is fond of saying. Profitable ranches make the most efficient use of their forage resources. While the average producer breaks even over the course of the cattle price cycle, the low-input producer can make a profit most years if not every year.
Over the last four decades, input costs have risen five times faster than cattle prices. The beef industry is at a tipping point: what has worked so well for the past 40 years probably will not work for the next 40 years. While most industries accept and implement change within about two years, the livestock industry seems to take about two decades to accept and implement proven concepts. The problem is that the generation currently working the land is often living in their parents’ paradigm. The producers who dare to quit the herd-mentality way of thinking are the ones who are leading the change, rather than being led by it. Following the crowd is seldom the best way to manage a business because it forfeits any possible competitive advantage.
Pharo asserted that to increase their profit potential, ranchers should produce a differentiated product rather than an undifferentiated commodity (e.g., grassfed beef vs. feeder calves). This is not easy: it requires planning, managing, and marketing. A producer needs to believe in their product in order to market it.
Pharo identified three keys to increasing efficiency and profit in the livestock business, which can be summed up as ranching in sync with nature.
|Matt Barnes, Kit Paro, Harvey Sprock, and Joel Brown observing |
planned (Pharo Cattle Co., left side of fence) and continuous grazing.
The second key is matching the livestock production cycle to the forage cycle . In most of North America, this means calving in May and June, as elk and deer do. Pharo said that this can reduce feed and labor costs by 70%. Most producers could eliminate all winter feeding except in emergencies. Pharo’s experience, working with many cattle ranchers across the United States, is that calving in May and June, the vast majority of calves will be born without calving problems and in the first 30 days of the calving season. Individual weaning weights will be lower than with winter/spring calving. However, with reduced death losses, a producer can usually wean more total pounds, which are worth more per pound because of the price slide.
|A 2250-lb bull with a frame score of 4.5 |
(52 in tall at the hip), a biological type
bred to sire grassfed cattle.
Courtesy Kit Pharo
Ranchers, especially grassfed livestock producers, are in the business of converting free solar energy into a high-quality food product. Properly done, the livestock will do nearly all the work. Keeping it simple (low-input) is the way to keep it profitable—and enjoyable.
Organic Grass-Finished Beef on a Forage Chain from Conception to Consumer
George Whitten, Jr. and Julie Sullivan
San Juan Ranch / Blue Range Ranch, Saguache, Colorado
George Whitten was raised in the pastoral sheep camps of Colorado’s San Luis Valley, where the flocks and herds were controlled by drought, snow, the flu, and before Whitten’s time, conflicts with American Indians. Whitten has spent his lifetime figuring out how to live in the ecosystem, and meeting Allan Savory helped him discover how to do this . “Allan taught me a whole new way to look at the world,” Whitten says. “The answer is literally beneath our feet.”
Shortly after Julie Sullivan came to San Juan Ranch, she told Whitten that she could not ranch if it meant sending animals to feedlots, and he agreed. They now produce organic grassfed beef, finished on a forage chain and direct-marketed to consumers. “Unfortunately, the term ‘organic’ has been marketed into meaninglessness,” Sullivan said, “but we try to be true to the real meaning of the word. One of the dictionary definitions of ‘organic’ is the fundamental constitution of a thing, and grassfed is the inherent, inborn, constitutional reality of a cow.”
Pastoralism was, and is, a way of life with promise for the future. While grassfed livestock production is relatively low-input, pastoralists have always invested in a high-maintenance relationship with their land and livestock.
|Partnership: Julie Sullivan and Zeke,|
San Juan Ranch. Matt Barnes
They see their ranch as a partnership between the land and the animals, from soil microbes to cattle to dung beetles to people, including not only the agrarian ranchers but also their interns, customers, and colleagues in organizations such as Holistic Management International and the Quivira Coalition. All these partners are equals, and each brings a new opportunity.
|Piled hay on the San Juan Ranch requires less energy input |
than baled hay, and is rationed out over the winter along
with meadow aftermath as complementary forage to
During the severe drought of 2003, they took their cows to New Mexico for a re-vegetation project at Kirtland Air Force Base. The land had been heavily disturbed by military operations and was returned to the state with an agreement to restore it to something like its natural condition. It had been seeded and mulched, but only sparse rows of fourwing saltbush (Atriplex canescens [Pursh] Nutt.) and a few annuals had become established in a matrix of bare ground, much of it exposed caliche. Whitten and Sullivan fed their cows hay at a stock density of 300 animal units per acre, moving the herd with electric fence every day. The distance between perennial plants decreased dramatically in the first year .
|George Whitten uses his herd of organic grassfed cattle to |
manage vegetation on the Baca National Wildlife Refuge
with rotational grazing and low-stress livestock handling.
They sell about 100 finished animals per year. The market is much bigger, so they are working on a cooperative with other ranchers who can meet their criteria. An animal can finish in 18-24 months and grade high select to low choice. They do an ultrasound test to predict a tenderness score, and only those animals that pass will be marketed as grass-finished.
Whitten and Sullivan define success as harmony with others: a life and a ranch that is humane, with secure finances, and that helps create a socially just world. They said that wholesome food is for everyone, not just a niche market for ‘food yuppies’.
The Low-Carbon Foodprint of Local Grassfed Livestock Production in a Semiarid Environment
Sky Island Brand / 47 Ranch, McNeal, Arizona
Dennis and Deb Moroney and their family are “becoming native” on the 47 Ranch in southeastern Arizona, a double challenge of restoration and production. The arid and semiarid Southwestern landscape has been degraded, like much of the American West, with the most severe damage done a century ago by well meaning people who did not understand their environment . Still, the cowboy/vaquero culture is the closest thing to combining Euro-American and indigenous fabrics of living, and where it is merged with an ecological understanding of the land, the emergent lifeway may be considered the most appropriate, and native, to the region.
Commodity livestock income could not make the payment on the ranch, even in a year of ideal climatic conditions. Desperation is the mother of creativity, and the traditional cow-calf paradigm was clearly not sustainable for the 47 Ranch, so Moroney started looking for pre-fossil fuel era models to reduce its carbon footprint. Carbon sequestration means increasing the organic matter in the soil, our most important capital. Moroney said this requires planned grazing as well as finishing animals on range or pasture to reduce the total carbon foodprint relative to finishing on harvested and transported feeds.
The ranch consists of approximately 50% mountains and 50% desert grassland. The ranch uses planned rotational grazing with 24 paddocks. The overall pattern is reverse transhumance, because the cool-season grass in the mountains grows in the winter, while the warm-season grass in the lower country grows in the summer monsoon. In the spring, cattle eat the mesquite (Prosopis spp.) beans on the desert grassland.
“Genetics is our link to a more sustainable past,” said Moroney. He selects animals for calm disposition, as well as the ability to adapt to the changing conditions, biodiversity, and poisonous plants of, and ability to finish on, the ranch’s native rangeland.
|Goats on the 47 Ranch. Matt Barnes|
The Moroneys saw endangered species as a form of wealth, even though—and partly because—their presence reduced the ranch’s market value. There is now a conservation easement on 1,000 acres that had several listed species. The ranch sold the development rights to the Arizona Game and Fish Department, and used the money to pay off the mortgage. The ranch retains the agricultural rights, and its only debt is an operating loan. Southeastern Arizona is under increasing development pressure, and part of the ranch’s goal is for all but a small portion to be under easement.
|Renewable energy. Matt Barnes|
Sky Island Brand grassfed beef, lamb, and goat meat are directly marketed to consumers in southern Arizona. Currently this includes selling at farmers’ markets; the ranch is also starting a buyers’ club.
The quintessential meal of the Arizona-Sonora borderlands, tacos al carbón, made of grassfed beef, sheep, or goat, with wild-harvested chiltepines (Capsicum annuum L. var. glabriusculum [Dunal] Heiser and Pickersgill) on a Sonora wheat tortilla, can be called tacos sin carbon for its low carbon footprint. Moroney and his colleagues in the Sabores Sin Fronteras (Flavors Without Borders) Foodways Alliance are pursuing grant funding for a taco truck which would not only sell this and other low-footprint local foods, but would also use digital screens to educate consumers about ranching and managing land to sequester carbon .
Desert-Adapted Cattle: Harvesting the Past for the Future
Ed Fredrickson*, Alfredo Gonzáles*, Gerardo Bezanilla**, and José Ríos**
*USDA Agricultural Research Service - Jornada Experimental Range, Las Cruces, New Mexico
**Universidad Autónoma de Chihuahua, Chihuahua, Chihuahua, México
The more you learn, the less you know—and developing beef cattle production systems adaptable to changing socioeconomic and climatic conditions in the arid and semiarid lands of the southwestern United States is challenging everything we were taught. This project was designed to identify the physiological and behavioral traits of desert-adapted beef cattle, in order to eliminate supplemental feeds, use less water, reduce the carbon footprint of beef production, and increase profitability to the producer.
|Chihuahuan desert grassland, |
Jornada Experimental Range, New Mexico.
Believed to be adapted to the arid and semiarid Atlas Mountains of Morocco and Algeria, they were probably brought to the Iberian Peninsula by the Moors around 900 A.D. Arriving in the Americas in 1493 with Columbus’s second voyage, these cattle were introduced to México in 1521, and about 7,000 were trailed to New Mexico by Oñate in 1598 .
Using genetic testing they found two pure populations, free of Zebu influence, in northern México: one in the Sierra Tarahumara of Chihuahua, and the other in San Ignacio, a 3-inch precipitation zone in Baja California Sur. The Chihuahuan criollos weigh about 800 lbs at mature size, and the San Ignacio criollos, called Chinampo cattle, are even smaller at 600 lbs.
When compared to British breeds, both criollo and black baldy (Angus x Hereford ) cattle visited water daily, but spent less time per day loafing near water (30 minutes vs. 3 hours). Criollo cattle travelled further from water, traveled faster, and used a larger area with more diverse vegetation types (e.g., tobosa grass and mesquite thickets) than British breeds [32,33]. Fredrickson said they also exhibited higher heat tolerance, and reached puberty earlier; and that others describe greater calving ease, and a shorter postpartum interval.
Currently these animals are too small for today’s commodity market at 800 lbs mature weight, but there is substantial regional interest in desert-adapted, or heritage beef for grass-fed markets. In one test they sold 3,000 lbs of criollo beef in two weeks in a locally-owned grocery. The meat is dark red, possibly because it has more red than white muscle fibers—which should make it more nutritious . Fredrickson said several people have observed that criollo cattle also partition energy differently than other breeds, putting more energy into internal and intramuscular fat and less into backfat. Many consumers indicated that it was more flavorful than store-bought, commodity beef.
Benefits of Grazing Systems to Grassfed Production
USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service - Colorado, Greeley, Colorado
|Harvey Sprock. Matt Barnes|
Grassfed livestock production is not sustainable without proper management, both in terms of stocking rate and planned grazing involving appropriate recovery periods [35,36].
With long grazing periods or insufficient non-grazing intervals, preferred species and parts of the landscape are grazed more heavily than the pasture as a whole [37,38]. For instance, on sandy sites there is often wind erosion under continuous grazing, even when “properly” stocked.
Natural grassland grazing systems generally involve migratory mammalian herbivores, such as American bison (Bos bison), with grazing in any one place being patchy and of varying intensity, but almost always of short duration and usually not occurring more than about once per year .
|American bison, southwestern Montana. Matt Barnes|
Plants compete for water and nutrients; in the case of grass, this is primarily through the root system which comprises approximately three-fourths of their biomass. When a grass plant is grazed severely—below its growing point—it kills off some roots to initiate new tiller growth. It takes leaves to make leaves, and any plant grazed repeatedly without adequate recovery is at a competitive disadvantage with its neighbors.
Even more important than a short grazing period is a non-grazing period adequate for full recovery of grazed plants, so that they are no longer at a competitive disadvantage with nearby un-grazed plants. The time required for recovery varies widely between sites and with environmental conditions on any one site . Experimental data are lacking, but the experience of rangeland management specialists in Colorado is that recovery on most temperate steppe rangelands should be at least a month to a month and a half during fast growth, and at least three months during slow growth , or most of the growing season [24,41]. In more arid environments, during drought, or on severely degraded rangelands, recovery may require a year or more . During the “dormant” season there is no effective recovery [24,38].
|Planned rotational grazing (with cattle, left) and continuous grazing (with horses, right), |
at similar annual stocking rates. Shortgrass prairie, Chico Basin Ranch, Colorado. Matt Barnes
Grasses do not really go completely dormant, as they have overwintering tillers. Differences in palatability remain through the “dormant” season, so rationing out the stockpiled forage through planned grazing can still spread the use of the more palatable plants over the course of the season. Native grazers survive the winter without supplementation, by timing calving and early lactation to coincide with fast growth, and by putting on enough fat in the summer that they can afford to lose condition in the winter. Cattle can do this too, as long as there is stockpiled forage available.
|Harvey Sprock and Matt Barnes |
at a shortgrass prairie restoration site
with palatable shrubs such as saltbush.
Rebuilding Food System Infrastructure in the Southwest
Southwest Grassfed Livestock Alliance, Santa Fe, New Mexico
The Southwest Grassfed Livestock Alliance (SWGLA) provides support, workshops, and other resources for producers in New Mexico, Colorado, Arizona, and Utah.
One reason for a rancher to produce grassfed products is to become a price maker rather than a price taker. Even though 97% of southwestern consumers prefer local meat, and 13% would be willing to pay a 20% premium for it, only about 1% of New Mexico beef is consumed locally, according to the New Mexico Beef Initiative Survey (unpublished). Bower said that a typical New Mexico steak may travel about 3,000 miles from pasture to plate via feedlot finishing, processing, and distribution back to New Mexico, according to Farm to Table, a non-profit organization promoting local and sustainable agriculture in New Mexico (unpublished).
The greatest barrier to economic viability of grassfed production for most small family farms and ranches (particularly in the Southwest) is the lack of available, affordable, USDA certified processing facilities. This issue has become, in turn, a priority for SWGLA, which is working to connect stakeholders who have an interest in rebuilding the food system infrastructure in the Southwest so that producers can serve the demand for fresh, healthy locally grown and processed meats . Grassfed meat is not just a niche market, but one with the potential to reach 20-25% of the US Beef market, according to Allen Williams of Tallgrass Beef.
Grassfed meat and dairy products are also an ecological imperative for all the reasons mentioned previously: the use of native, or at least perennial forage, with carbon in the soil, rather than soil carbon loss through annual cropping, transportation, and bare-ground feeding; nutrients spread over pastures as fertilizer, rather than concentrated in feedlots as pollution; and both livestock and human health. Bower summarized her, and the previous ranchers’ presentations: grassfed products promote better human health, animal health, and environmental health, while preserving small-scale, family-run agriculture—thus improving food security and economic resilience for rural communities.
American Grassfed Certification: Paperwork behind the Promise
American Grassfed Association, Denver, Colorado
The American Grassfed Association (AGA) is a producer-run organization for the promotion and certification of grassfed ruminant production.
“Grassfed” now has a legal definition, requiring a 100% forage based diet, but animals can be temporarily confined and fed antibiotics. “Grass-finished” has no legal definition, but is normally used to indicate that animals are not only grassfed but have been grown to mature size with marbling in the meat (e.g., Whitten and Sullivan).
American Grassfed certification means that a product has met the legal definition, and that the animals have never been confined, and that they are born, raised, and processed in the U.S. Thus certification differentiates a product from foreign imports as well as confined-animal products marketed as “grassfed.” There are now two tiers of certification with different labels.  [Editor's note: at the time of the symposium, and in the original version of this article, there were three tiers. This section was updated in 2012.]
There is now mounting evidence that ruminants are healthier when grazing range or pasture rather than being fed harvested grains in confinement [7,8], and that these health benefits may then be passed on to the consumers of grassfed meat and dairy products [8, 10, 11, 15] (Cattell and Nelson). A forage diet and freedom from confinement are therefore the essence of the definition of “grassfed” and central to both American Grassfed and Animal Welfare Approved certifications (Balkcom).
Grassfed livestock products appear to be an expanding segment of the overall U.S. livestock industry. All six producers in the session implied that their grassfed enterprises were profitable, but most indicated that these enterprises require more skill and investment in business planning, marketing, and overall management. A producer has to believe in their product in order to sell it (Pharo), especially in direct marketing enterprises, where customers are effectively the producer’s partners (Whitten and Sullivan). The local grassfed meat industry currently has a bottleneck at the processing stage (Bower).
One of the ranchers emphasized grass-finishing their beef, i.e. raising the animals to mature weight with marbling fat, rather than selling younger animals (Whitten and Sullivan). Two of the producers were certified organic (Cattell and Nelson; Whitten and Sullivan). At least half of the producers sold their grassfed products locally (Cattell and Nelson; Whitten and Sullivan; Moroney), although at least one relied on internet sales (Lasater). One of the ranchers was in the seedstock business, selling forage-tested genetics to grassfed beef producers, rather than directly marketing grassfed meat (Pharo).
All of the speakers emphasized land stewardship. Two producers specifically spoke about using livestock as a tool for restoration projects (Cattell and Nelson; Whitten and Sullivan).
Half of the producers incorporate multiple animal species (Cattell and Nelson; Parry; Moroney). Most of the speakers emphasized the importance of having animals that are adapted to the local environment , whether in terms of species (Parry; Moroney), breed (Cattell and Nelson; Lasater; Moroney; Fredrickson et al.) or biological type (Pharo). Beef cattle for grassfed operations, especially on semiarid to arid rangelands, should be relatively small in overall body size (Pharo; Whitten and Sullivan; Fredrickson et al.).
All of the producers said that they used some form of rotational grazing , and most referred specifically to holistic planned grazing, or said that they had learned grazing management from Allan Savory [16,36] or others in Holistic Management  (Lasater; Parry; Whitten and Sullivan; Moroney). The basic principles of planned rotational grazing were explained by Sprock. Goals of grazing management included optimizing stocking rate, maximizing the proportion of total above-ground plant biomass harvestable as forage, and maximizing biological decomposition of plant matter in the animals’ digestive tracts, thus returning carbon to the soil rather than releasing it to the atmosphere through oxidation of standing dead material [36,39]. The producers were able to maintain livestock performance with planned rotational grazing [44,45].
All of the producers said that their grassfed operations were low-input compared to feedlot operations . Most emphasized that their livestock must produce with few external inputs, including help from their owners (Lasater; Pharo; Whitten and Sullivan; Moroney; Fredrickson et al.). One presentation emphasized that while material inputs may be low, planning and management inputs are high  (Whitten and Sullivan).
Most of the producers were members of AGA, SWGLA, or both. One (Whitten and Sullivan) explicitly mentioned partnership with Holistic Management International. Two said that they had partnered with the Quivira Coalition, and that they are participating in the Quivira Coalition’s Conservation And Ranching Leadership and Youth (CARLY) program to train ranching apprentices (Whitten and Sullivan; Moroney). Only one of the presenters was previously a member of the SRM (Moroney).
The rancher-focused session brought producers into the SRM conference, and may have increased the perceived relevance of rangeland management and SRM to the ranchers’ operations. Sponsorship by an outside organization (AGA) made it financially viable to have ranchers as invited speakers. Several progressive and conservation-minded producers became members of the SRM as a result of this partnership and the rancher scholarships provided by the Colorado Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative.
|Dan Nosal. Matt Barnes|
A slightly condensed version of this article has been submitted for publication in Rangelands. [Editor's note: it was published in April 2011 as "Low-Input Grassfed Livestock Production in the American West: Case Studies of Ecological, Economic, and Social Resilience." Rangelands 33(2):31-40. http://www.srmjournals.org/doi/abs/10.2111/1551-501X-33.2.31.]
An earlier version of this article was published as "Low-Input Grassfed Livestock Production and Planned Grazing for a Triple Bottom Line" in the November-December 2010 issue of Holistic Management International's In Practice 134:5-8.
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Author is Director, Colorado Section SRM; Certified Professional in Rangeland Management; owner and ranch manager,Shining Horizons Land Management, LLC, Cimarron, CO 81220-0122 and Kremmling, CO 80459-0711, USA.
Meg Cattell, DVM, and Arden Nelson, DVM, are owners, Windsor Dairy LLC, Windsor, CO 80550, USA.
Dale Lasater is owner, Lasater Grasslands Beef, Matheson, CO 80830, USA.
Richard Parry is owner, Fox Fire Farms, Ignacio, CO 81137, USA.
Kit Pharo is owner, Pharo Cattle Company, Cheyenne Wells, CO 80810, USA.
George Whitten, Jr. and Julie Sullivan are owners, San Juan Ranch and Blue Range Ranch, Saguache, CO 81149, USA.
Dennis Moroney is owner, Sky Island Brand / 47 Ranch, McNeal, AZ 85617, USA; member, Sabores Sin Fronteras (Flavors Without Borders) Foodways Alliance; agriculture instructor, Cochise College; former President, Arizona Section SRM; and Vice-Chair, Baja Arizona Sustainable Agriculture.
Harvey Sprock is Area Rangeland Management Specialist, USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service - Colorado, Greeley, CO, USA.