Grady Grissom and his family operate Rancho Largo. On 14,000 acres of grassland and canyon in southeastern Colorado, they make a living and prove that it is possible to raise and market beef in a way that is additive to the environment, humane to cattle, and debunks the theory that eating beef has to contribute to climate chaos. On Rancho Largo, cows replace bison in an ecosystem that is otherwise unchanged for centuries. In fact, grazing brings back and nurtures native grasses and plants allowing wildlife and native flora to flourish.
Rancho Largo in Colorado, conservation at work.
This means that threatened species like the Long-billed Curlew can raise their young successfully. And Bullock's Orioles that nest at Rancho Largo and migrate to the 'coffee lands' of the Sierra Madre de Chiapas may turn up on the Smithsonian shade-grown co-op family farms where we buy Birds & Beans coffee. Environmentally clean ranches and farms that work with nature rather than fight it are critical to maintaining the populations of the birds we love. Pesticide spraying may harm curlews indirectly by reducing the birds' food supplies, particularly grasshoppers. Orioles are affected by the loss of riparian habitat and by pesticide use through direct contamination and loss of insect prey. Sun-grown coffee destroys needed habitat for over 200 species of migratory birds. The Good Beef and The Good Coffee - "Bird Friendly here and there!"
Long-billed Curlew + BUOR Bullock's Oriole by Sarah Driscoll
The beef from Rancho Largo is raised in a wonderfully natural way - no feedlots, no growth hormones or steroids, and no antibiotics. GMO-free and completely grass-fed. The cattle are processed at a local arbiter, have no long-distance travel, and are thoughtfully handled. The local ranching and farming communities where operations like Rancho Largo and the family coffee farms that we buy from for Birds & Beans are hubs of local employment and support sustainable, economically viable rural communities across the Americas.
The Grissom's transition to ranching that is hyper-environmentally sound began when Tammy Vercauteren and Ted Tombs of the Bird Conservancy of the Rockies showed up on their doorstep early in the new millennium. Over a steak dinner they explained that The Bird Conservancy wanted to create relationships with landowners to reach several ends:
- Help ranchers realize their means of livelihood are compatible with bird habitat conservation
- Help ranchers be aware of birds’ needs
- Help keep ranchers on the land.
Cows thrive on the ranch
Since then Bird Conservancy of the Rockies has delivered more than 1000 habitat projects benefiting more than 1.5 million acres, all aimed at nurturing bird populations with improved land management that helps people, birds, and the Earth we all share.
Today our food system in the USA is dominated by big-ag, chemical companies, giant food processors, and massive grocery chains. But increasingly, thanks to committed ranchers, farmers, and conservation groups we can buy 'Real & Good' food and beverage online and support advocacy groups that care.
We can make a difference!
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