Meat Source

“The nation that destroys its soil destroys itself.” - Franklin D. Roosevelt.

The Inputs

  • Nothing Synthetic

    No synthetic fertilizers, chemical herbicides, no growth hormones, and only antibiotics when a steer is sick. The micro-organisms in the soil create natural fertilizer and the nutritious diet and exercise keeps the cows healthy.

  • Rotational Grazing

    Regenerative cattle farming mimics natural grazing patterns through a process of rotating high-density cattle herds between pastures, where the cattle graze, organic matter is trampled into the soil, and then the pasture is left to regrow.

  • Humane Treatment

    Regeneratively farmed cattle can graze and forage instead of being locked in a pen or feedlot. Steers from Thousand Hills Lifetime Grazed are humanely weaned as calves and are less likely to experience stress and disease throughout their lives.

  • The Science Behind It - TL:DR

    Traditional commercial farms repeatedly grow the same crop (monocropping) to support the livestock industry - 36% of corn and 70% of soy grown in the US is used to feed animals. Additionally, they use large amounts of fertilizer and pesticides in combination with frequent tilling to maximize their yield. In fact, many crops have been genetically modified to beThe problem with these practices is not only the asssociated negative health effects but also the soil nutrient depletion and biodiversity loss. These practices kill the micro-organisms that decompose organic matter and increase soil health.

    Steers (cows designated for slaughter) are fed this low-nutrition monocropped grain, fattening them with the help of artificial growth hormones. In addition, the cows are pumped full of antibiotics because the crowded living situations promote disease spread, and subsequently there is risk of human exposure to antibiotic resistant diseases. Steers are kept crowded indoors (often tethered) and in outodoor spaces with concrete floors. The stress created from being transported between facilities and pre-slaughter handling negatively effects the quality of meat and increases the likelihood of pathogens.

    Not only does this system cause the loss of fertile top soil, biodiversity, meat quality, and increase the spread of diseases, it also greatly contributes to climate change Agriculture accounts for an estimated 10.5% of greenhouse gases (GHGs) emitted in the US. While one source of GHGs is from cows’ methane emissions, the greatest contributor from agriculture is CO2 emissions from top soil erosion.

    Essentially, this agricultural system is optimized for the maximum short-term output at the expense of ethics, health, quality, and the stability of our own environment and future food sources. If we don’t change this system, we’ll have fueled our own destruction.

    Luckily, there are communities around the world developing solutions to change our agricultural systems. One solution that has been incredibly promising is regenerative agricultural practices. Regenerative farming actually rebuilds biodiversity and fertile, carbon-sequestering top soil. In addition, these practices are inherently ethical towards the animals and provide them with better nutritional value, creating a higher quality meat for consumers that also can allow small farmers to increase profitabality.

    Regenerative cattle farming is a land management practice that mimics natural grazing patterns through a process known as adaptive mult-paddock (AMP) grazing. Cattle are rotated between fields and grazed on the land for a short period of time, and then the field is left to rest for an extended period of time. When the cattle graze, they are digesting and decomposing the organic matter from the grass and other plant matter and outputting it in the form of manure. Because they are in such a high density, they trample the manure and other organic matter into the soil, which is then broken down by mycorrhizal fungi into usable nutrients.

    These mycorrhizal fungi have a symbiotic relationship with the plants, in which they provide the plant with the natural fertilizers of nitrogen and phosphorus in addition to drought and pathogen resistance. In turn, the fungi consumes a minor percentage of the plants’ photosynthetically fixed carbon. With these nutrients, the grass then procedes photosynthesize and grow its underground root systems, which sequesters carbon in the biomass. This process also rebuilds top soil as the mycorrhizal fungi breaks down organic matter and the roots prevent it from eroding, making the land more arable for future farming.

    Part of the practice of regenerative farming is the ethical treatment of the animals. Steers from Thousand Hill Lifetime Grazed live without fear from predator aggression, have an entirely natural diet without animal byproducts, and because they are able to forage and not confined in feedlots they are healtheir and have a reduced risk of disease, lameness, and stress. The steers are not given any growth hormones and only given antibiotics in order to treat disease.