The health of our grassland ecosystems and health of civilizations are deeply connected. This symbiotic relationship dates back hundreds of thousands of years. Using fertilization, soil aeration, and stimulation of plants, large herds of grazing bison and elk were the original architects of North America’s most fertile lands. The nourishment provided to the soil by these animals has served as a savings account in which the last 100 years of food production has relied upon.
However, in just a few hundred years, these large heard animals and predator species have been eliminated from our grasslands. With the widespread modernization of farming in the mid-20th century, contemporary agricultural practices, such as synthetic nitrogen fertilization, tillage, monocropping, and yield- based management systems, these abundant grasslands and the animals on these lands all but disappeared. The result is damaged and nearly depleted once-fertile grasslands on which we depend for food for our families.
Regenerative agricultural practices look to closely mimic a comparable native ecosystem. For example, a grassland prairie, which we know maintains much higher soil carbon stocks than conventional annual croplands in a given region. An array of practices can work to increase the amount of organic carbon added back into the soil while reducing the relative loss from erosion (C) and soil respiration (CO2). These practices include:
- reduced tillage/no-till and cover crops
- diverse crop rotations with higher frequency of perennial crops
- agroforestry (e.g. hedgerows, windbreaks, tree cropping)
- integrated livestock management with improved grazing management
- utilization of compost and organic waste to build soil health
At Box M Sustainable Meats, we are dedicated to doing better. We’ve committed to restoring the ecological health of our ranch to produce the best product not only for our family, but for yours. We start from the ground up – literally. We believe that by investing in the health of our soil, we are building the foundations for clean air, water, healthy plants, and most importantly, healthy animals and people. Our animals are managed using humane, stress-free techniques that allowed them to do what they do best – till, fertilize, and stimulate the soil while they graze. These practices allow us to cut out unnecessary growth hormones or antibiotics and the use of the herbicides, insecticides, and synthetic fertilizers. Throughout the year, we track and document our contributions to ecological restoration so that we can improve upon our practices from year to year. When properly managed, the impact from our animals has the ability to create a net positive return on the planet by sequestering carbon from the atmosphere while building topsoil and producing nourishing food.