There are many benefits to perennial pasture farming (also referred to as grass-based farming): economic, environmental, and health benefits for the animals and humans alike.
Cows are ruminants and their natural diet is grass, not grain. They are designed to eat fibrous grasses, plants, and shrubs—not starchy, low-fiber grain. Other ruminants include goats, sheep, llamas, giraffes, bison, buffalo, deer, wildebeest, and antelope.
All PastureLand farms practice “management intensive rotational grazing.” The farms are planted with perennial pasture grasses and divided into paddocks. The dairy herds are moved to new paddocks after every milking (roughly every 12 hours).
What the research shows
Research points to a number of advantages of pasture-based farming including the distinctive flavor and nutritional profile of the resulting dairy products, environmental stewardship, financial viability for family-owned farms, and animal health.
When animals are raised outdoors on pasture, their manure is spread over a wide area of land, making it a welcome source of organic fertilizer, not a “waste management problem.” When animals are raised in feedlots or cages, they deposit large amounts of manure in a small amount of space.
Grasses store vast amounts of carbon in their underground root mass. Although cows generate their own greenhouse gasses, the net effect of raising ruminants on pasture is to slow global warming.
Studies show that green grazing (pasturing livestock) has:
- Increased the number and vigor of native plants,
- Increased the vegetative cover of stream banks,
- Expanded wetlands,
- Hastened the natural decomposition of cow manure, and
- Extended the growing season of the grassland.
Michael Pollan’s book “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” does an excellent job explaining the extensive environmental benefits of pasturing livestock.
As a result of PastureLand farmers’ commitment to pasturing their livestock, the dairy products from 100% pastured animals are ideal for your health. They offer you more “good” fats, and fewer “bad” fats, and are richer in antioxidants. (This holds for beef and poultry products as well.)
Omega 3 Fatty Acids — Omega-3s are called “good fats” and raise your HDL. Meat from grass-fed animals has two to four times more omega-3 fatty acids than meat from grain-fed animals. Sixty percent of the fatty acids in grass are omega-3s.
The CLA Bonus — CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) is a potent antioxidant, a fatty acid found in beef and dairy fats. Meat and dairy from 100% grass-fed cows are the richest sources of CLA.
Vitamins A, D and E — In addition to being higher in omega-3s and CLA, meat and dairy from grass-fed animals is also higher in vitamins A (carotene), D and E.
Activator X or the Price Factor (Vitamin K2) — Discovered by Weston Price, this fat-soluble nutrient is a potent catalyst to mineral absorption. Butter from grass-fed cows is a rich source of Activator X.