If you’ve had the chance to drive through America’s “fly over states,” it can be easy to zone out when surrounded by livestock-filled pastures and row-crops standing like soldiers in attention. The land and its inhabitants are humble and quiet, known for working sun-up to sun-down to ensure the world has food on its tables and clothes on its back. But what does it take for a ranching legacy to carry on?
Centuries before “regenerative agriculture” became a buzz phrase, American ranchers were already implementing practices to protect and improve the land, preparing it for the next generation. Now, as the world seeks a solution to climate change, ranchers and their land management practices are more important than ever.
According to the USDA, more than half of the land in the United States (52%) is used for agricultural purposes, and 655 million of those acres is made up of grassland pastures and range used for grazing. That means ranchers, responsible for much of that land, can make huge impacts on delivering environmental outcomes on a grand scale.
In 2021, the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) announced a commitment to demonstrate climate neutrality of US cattle production by 2040. The focus contrasts to Australia’s CN30 initiative in that it focuses on “climate” neutrality as opposed to “carbon” neutrality. Although the words differ, the strategy to achieve both is shared by livestock producers around the world: good livestock and land practices are key to a sustainable future.
Over the years, ranchers have leveraged the help of tech innovation to help minimize negative environmental impacts, using data to not only support decision-making as it pertains to their land, but also the livestock they run. That’s right, genetic selection can play a pivotal role in better land stewardship. AgriWebb’s Livestock Business Management solution is helping thousands of ranchers run more profitable operations by helping them improve their livestock productivity without compromising the land.
Wray Cattle Company, a commercial cattle ranch on the Colorado-Nebraska line, has a mission to achieve economic viability and biological sustainability. Over the decades, Rex and Jody Buck have tested and adapted their operation along the way, focusing on productive cattle and proper grazing strategies. Jody said, “It’s my dream to have this ranch be sustainable so that we can pass on the land and the values we’ve taught our children.”
Livestock adaptability plays a critical role in Flying Diamond Ranch’s approach to land stewardship. “We have black cattle, we have red cattle. We would run purple cattle if they were plump in our management system,” says Jen Livsey, the ranch’s grazing manager. “We want animals that are very fitted to our environment and intensive grazing system.”
Like Livsey, Bob McCan, owner and manager of McFaddin Enterprises, places a focus on quality cattle that both fit into and support the ecosystem his ranch resides in. Over the years, McCan has developed the Victoria Braford breed, a Hereford and Brahman cross that can withstand the harsh heat of Victoria, Texas while complimenting the surrounding nature. “We factor in wildlife populations to livestock stocking rates and focus on aligning our livestock goals with our wildlife goals in the grazing system,” says Bob.
As the industry continues to evolve, we shouldn’t look to change the mindset of a rancher. It’s already where it should be; focused on improving the land for the next generation. Instead, the focus should move towards the tools and technology being developed to support the rancher. It’s imperative that holistic tools are being created to equip ranchers to do their jobs better, faster and easier.
To find out how AgriWebb can reach your management goals without compromising the natural environment, sign up for a free trial today.