|In May, with our husbands, we had a chance to visit the Beyond Organic Ranch in Koshkonong, MO, with several of the other members of the Leadership Council. We want to share some of the great things that we learned with all of you.|
|One of the things that really struck us, was the way the cattle are cared for and treated. All the cattle are out on pasture; even the dairy cows. When it is time for the dairy cows to be milked, a cowboy rides out on his horse and moves the particular group of cows slowly from their pasture, down a column of fences and into the milking barn. When all the cattle in that group have been milked, he encourages them back to their pasture and goes to get the next group. Amazingly, the cows were not given grain at all, not even while they were being milked! This is very unusual for a dairy operation!|
|Some of the calves stay with their moms out on the pasture when they are born, but many are raised on bottles. The calves that are going to be carefully raised to be milkers or breeders are raised by hand. They receive colostrum, and then real fresh milk from a bottle. They are never kept in little calf houses like dog houses. Not even when they are very young. The youngest calves are raised in pens that are about 12 ft by 25 ft with about 5 calves to a pen. As they grow, they are transferred to larger and larger pens and then pastures. All the calves are on fresh grass and there is no manure build up in the pens. It was an amazingly clean environment!|
|We have been around cattle and livestock our whole lives, so we were very interested to see how the calves looked. However, Kim and Danny had never been around calves before, so it was harder for them to understand how unusual this particular calf raising environment was. We were both amazed to see the health and vigor of these calves. There was no sign of illness and the calves appeared energetic with glossy coats and bright eyes. We saw hundreds of calves in the many acres where the calves were being raised, and none of them appeared droopy or sick.
|The adult cattle, whether they are being milked or not, are out on pasture. They are fenced with a single electric wire that is attached to movable posts. About 5 times a day, the posts are moved and the cattle move on to fresh pasture. The grasses in the fresh areas were well over a foot tall before the cattle started munching!|
|The genetic make-up of the Beyond Organic cattle was fascinating. Jordan is raising cattle that do not have the A1 Casein gene mutation and that will thrive and produce on grass. We saw a wide variety of cattle, all being bred carefully into the mix for their specific strengths. These included Brahma for their toughness, Holstein for milk production, Short Horn for ability to thrive on pasture, Angus and Charolais for meat production, and Guernsey ad Jersey for high quality butter fat production.|
|After an amazing weekend, we all came home with a feeling of pride and excitement to be a part of the kind of extraordinary ranch that is the Beyond Organic Ranch!!|