Pasture raised is all fine and food until a snow storm. Then it's "why don't you put those animals in a barn?"
I'm oversimplifying, of course, but there are two sides to every coin. And this pasture raised livestock thing is no different. Livestock that are more confined have their temperature regulation, protection from the elements, completely safety from predators. They live a life with very little risk, yet very little freedom.
From certain perspectives, and certainly on the cold and snowy days like today (isn't it supposed to be spring??), that life looks appealing.
Conversely, pasture raised livestock, like the cattle and sheep at Little Creek, live a life very similar to the wild elk, antelope, and deer that surround us. They're outside on the beautiful and sunny days just as they're outside in the squalls. They are out among the birds, the bugs, and the predators. Tons of freedom, more risk.
I think about this "freedom vs risk" concept a lot.
Each farmer gets to decide for themselves what they're comfortable with. And because I believe wildness is the root of all good things for livestock and the food they produce, I choose more freedom and more risk. This doesn't mean I don't care highly for them and attend to their needs - we spent the whole day spreading feed and bedding for them so they can ride out this snowstorm in relative comfort. But I can never completely mitigate every bit of risk and discomfort that their life on pasture sometimes - rarely, even - brings.
And as I get deeper and deeper into this ranching thing, now six years in full time, I am moving more and more towards more freedom for the livestock. More days on pasture. More time on the move, to new grass. This winter they spent almost all daylight hours on pasture, more than they ever had before. And that includes in sunshine, in the rain, and in the snow. And that's one reason why I believe our meat is the best; that very freedom.
1 thought on “Freedom vs Risk”
1. I can taste the freedom.
2. Alot like raising kids!