Fouch Farms - Grass-Fed Beef

2021 newsletter

Regeneration Nation

Happy New Year and welcome to 2020! We have lots of green grass and our best calf crop ever. The year is off to a great start here at the farm. We are very blessed to be so close to our food supply, and are very grateful for the opportunity to provide you with yours!

There has been a lot of bad press about eating meat and the impacts of cattle on the environment this past year. I just wanted to take some time and reassure our customers that even though I disagree with most if not all of these biased "scientific" studies and the term scientific is used very loosely here, I don't think it even applies to our farm and the rest of us in the regenerative agriculture movement. I don't want to go into why I think conventional agriculture is following the wrong path, rather I would like to tell you about the road we have traveled down and what we are doing to help our environment. My favorite poem is The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost. The last stanza states: "Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference." This is certainly the case in our life and our farm. We have studied and researched farming and ranching methods and have found that the ones that best mimic nature, are the ones that are the best for the land, the animals, and the people. We use Holistic Management to help us make decisions on how to run our farm, which doesn't just focus on what's best for the bottom line, but also concerns the environment, the livestock, and wildlife. We believe that chemicals don't have a place on our farm, our lives, or our environment, and refuse to use them. Although the choice to not use chemicals presents some challenges, and usually takes lots of time, research, trial, and error in the long run, it is the right thing to do. Most ranchers use chemical wormers to treat livestock for parasites this doesn't just kill the parasites in the animal, it then passes through their feces and has negative effects on birds, ground-dwelling animals, and the billions of microbes in the soil. When you mess up nature's cycle it usually causes more problems. This leads conventional farmers to reach for more crutches, usually in the form of another chemical or pharmaceutical. We don't use any, instead, we give our cattle kelp as a vitamin and mineral boost, and diatomaceous earth to help with the parasites. We also utilize rotational grazing where we periodically move our cattle to break up the parasite cycle. Would you rather eat conventional beef, where the animal is coated in a pesticide twice a year and passes that chemical through its feces to the land, water, and animals? Or an animal that coexists with nature and has a symbiotic relationship with the plants and animals?

In the above picture, you can see our ranch on the right of the fence looks very green and lush. The ranch on the left the grass is turning brown, has less density, and less variety. This photo was taken in May and we had already grazed this field three rotations, the neighbor's field is a preserve, and doesn't get grazed at all, except by wildlife. The answer to our growing environmental problems is not to quit eating beef and turn our rangelands into parks or preserves susceptible to wildfire. We need large herbivores to keep a healthy functioning ecosystem -the bonus is great-tasting, essential nutrients for us to enjoy! We also have a small farming operation where we grow and produce our own hay and grain. It is very hard to find hay that is chemical-free and non-GMO so we had to jump in and just do it ourselves. Conventional farming has a history of being destructive to civilizations. We realize this and try to work with nature to build humus instead of consuming it. We dry farm without irrigation, just the rain that mother nature supplies us. To capture as much moisture as possible we need healthy, well-covered soil, with a deep humus layer. To accomplish this we use a couple of different methods. We built a no-till drill and now can plant our hay without tilling just one tractor pass and our seeds are in the ground. This is great for the soil as it does not disturb the fungus, microbes, and animals in the soil, and when we have a wet rain event our soil stays in place instead of washing away. No chemical fertilizers that can burn out soil microbes and poison our groundwater are ever used. We spread compost and manure to build humus, capture carbon, and grow a healthy crop. We also don't consume all our resources and grow cover crops that are not harvested but left for wildlife and to provide food and nutrients to the soil and the life within it. We were lucky this year to be able to purchase a small combine, so we can now harvest and save our seed, and provide our pigs and chickens with grain from our farm.