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Our Cattle

Our Belted Galloway cattle are the heart of our farm.  New Hampshire winters are harsh, so we raise this heritage breed to thrive despite sometimes cold and windy conditions.  Belted Galloways have thick fur coats which keep them warm in the winter and protect them from wind, snow and rain.  Other breeds gain back fat for warmth in the winter and seek shelter from inclement weather.  We provide freely accessible, three-sided shelters to the herd at all times; however, our Belties rarely choose to use them.  They prefer the canopy of trees.  Our cattle live their entire lives outside on pasture.  If you would like to learn more about Belties, please visit the Belted Galloway Society.

 

Our Management Philosophy

Our philosophy is described by the following.

100% Grass Fed and Grass Finished - Certified Organic - Pasture Raised

 

Grass Fed - We feed only grass and grass hay to our cows.  Grass is a cow's NATURAL food source and cows raised only on grass are healthier.  Virtually all the beef sold in supermarkets, even beef that’s labeled organic, is from grain-fed and fattened cattle living in crowded feedlots.  Grain feeding packs large amounts of fat onto animals in a short period of time, enabling a farmer to market his cattle as rapidly as possible.  However, cattle are not meant to eat grain.  Grain acidifies a cow’s rumen, causing a chain of events leading to an unhealthy animal.  Crowding of animals already stressed by overfeeding also helps spread disease, which is too often treated with antibiotics and other harsh medications.

Grass properly maintains the natural health of a cow's rumen, which in turn supports a healthy cow.  Cows raised 100% on grass have high levels of the beneficial compounds Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA) and omega-3 fatty acids (along with vitamin E, beta-carotene and vitamin C) that display powerful cancer fighting and prevention properties, enhance the immune system and prevent both diabetes and heart disease.

Grass feeding is more expensive for the farmer, but we think it's worth it.  Rather than cramming 1000 animals per acre (as is done at feedlots), we have 2 acres of open space for each cow.  Rather than quickly finishing an animal in 18 months on grain, we finish our cows in 24 to 30 months on grass alone… for a natural level of marbling and finish that simply can't be rushed.  This makes our beef more expensive than feedlot beef.  But the quality of our meat is unsurpassed.  And we take proper care of our environment.

To learn more about the impact of feedlots on animal and human health and the environment, read Michael Pollan's book, Omnivore's Dilemma.

Certified Organic - We are committed to organic farming.  Organic farming practices are increasingly important as society fathoms the environmental and health consequences of industrial agriculture.  Our hay fields and pastures are fertilized solely with natural soil amendments such as wood ash and compost.  Conventional farmers use fertilizers made of petroleum byproducts.  Our natural materials are sustainably produced.  Petroleum based fertilizers are made from obviously dwindling resources.  We do not use herbicides or pesticides on our fields, spray or give medications to our cattle.  In the rare instance that a cow requires a synthetic medication such as an antibiotic, that animal is no longer organic and is not sold as organic.

We are certified organic annually by the New Hampshire Department of Agriculture, Markets and Food for both our livestock and our hay and pasture fields.  Copies of our certifications can be viewed here:  Livestock Certification   Pasture Certification

Pasture Raised - Our animals are healthy because they live outdoors on pasture - where they belong!  All of our organic animals are born here, on pasture, and live here, on pasture, for their entire lives.  Our brood cows are experienced mothers who raise their calves without human intervention until we wean the calves at 6 months of age.  This full maternal experience and long time on milk assures strong, fit calves with good pasture-based instincts and herd socialization.

Our pastures are laid out in a rotational grazing system with 2 acre paddocks.  Cows are moved every few days to a fresh paddock.  This ensures the cows don’t overgraze a field and that the grass remains in vegetative growth.  We provide our cows with fresh water and organic mineral blocks in each paddock.  Our cows drink the same pure well water as our family.  Environmentally sensitive areas such as river banks are fenced from the cows. 

To learn more about the health and environmental benefits of pasture raised beef, read Pasture Perfect, by Jo Robinson.  You can also visit Jo’s website at: www.eatwild.com

Copyright 2010 - Green Ledge Farm, LLC