Why is grass so important?
As Crane Crest Farm moves forward into beef (and some day bison), pasture management is the key to our farming operation. But as most farms are going the way of cement floors and feeding grain, one might ask why we’re headed in the opposite direction. Why devote acres to grasses, clovers, and alfalfa instead of conventional grain crops?
First and foremost, we believe in raising animals on pasture for their own health, and in turn, the health of the meat, eggs, and other foods they provide us. Pastured meats are high in Omega-3 fatty acids, or the good, healthy fat. Many health-conscious people have an aversion to fat these days, but that aversion is only half correct. While there are certainly detrimental health effects in consuming a lot of hydrogenated oils and the corn-fed meat low in Omega-3s and high in Omega-6s, there are so many benefits to eating a diet high in healthy fats. Foods like pastured butter, pastured bacon fat or lard, and other Omega-3 rich foods can help set you on the path to a healthier life. Fat from pasture-raised sources pack the nutrient punch that is so needed right now in our culture of highly-processed foods. The sunlight and the diversity of plants the animals get to eat provide them with a much more nutritious diet and give their meat a more diverse, balanced nutritional profile. For the health of our children, ourselves, and you, we have decided to center our whole farm around healthy pasture-raised animals.
Additionally, pastures help to foster biodiversity, which is vital to the management of our farm. A healthy pasture allows us to rotationally graze our steers, building good soil that will be resilient during times of drought. This system, once we can get our laying hens out in the pasture following a few days behind the steers, allows for double utilization of land, which is helpful to us as a small farm with limited resources. Healthy pastures also help defend our animals against parasites and diseases that are more common in confinement operations. Pasture management is the key that allows our animals to remain healthy and free from antibiotics and chemical treatments.
If you’re in the area and want to take a look at our pastures, just give us a call and stop by. They’re still a work in progress, but we’d love to show you the basis of our farm operation!