Review of Heleyon Sheep & Cattle Co., LLC by TexasRealFood
Heleyon Sheep & Cattle Company's emphasis on quality meats stems from their experience in the field of raising livestock. Specializing in Red Dorper & White Angus, all of their cattle are grass-fed. This natural food source for their cattle explains how their meats are more flavorful than your average store-bought cut of meat.
A cover crop is a crop of a specific plant that is grown primarily for the benefit of the soil rather than the crop yield. Cover crops are commonly used to suppress weeds, manage soil erosion, help build and improve soil fertility and quality, control diseases and pests, and promote biodiversity. Cover crops are typically grasses or legumes but may include other green plants. A cover crop can help ready the land for a cash crop in the case of monoculture, conventional, and industrial sized organic farming, or it can be used as part of a wider planting scheme in combination with crop rotation and polyculture systems.
The term “grass fed” (as opposed to grain fed) refers to meat obtained from cows that were raised on a diet of grass and other forage, such as clover; situated in pasture and, when fresh grass is unavailable, hay. This helps to denote the difference between livestock that has been raised in feedlots and generally fed a diet of soy and corn, versus animals that have had access to their natural feeding environment in pasture, which contains grasses, wildflowers, and herbs. This term overlaps with “pasture-raised” and will usually be seen together. Grass-fed beef is also believed to taste better, and be better for the environment, too. There are several organizations that offer a certification for Grass Fed, such as the American Grassfed Association, Certified Grassfed by A Greener World, and Pasture for Life, to name a few.
Coined by Alan Savory, holistic management is an approach to managing resources in an agricultural setting. The term Holistic Management is trademarked to the Holistic Management International organization. At its core, the approach focuses mainly on livestock grazing in a way that is similar to cyclical grazing. This method means livestock are moved frequently from pasture to pasture, allowing for short periods of disturbance, followed by rest periods to allow for the grasslands to regenerate. Beyond grazing practices, Holistic Management also encompasses guidelines for decision making through six indicators: define what you are managing, define what you want now and for the future, watch for the earliest indicators of ecosystem health, don’t limit the management tools you use, test your decisions with questions, and monitor proactively. Additionally, Holistic Management relies on four principles. These are: that nature functions as a holistic community, that any agricultural practice must be adaptable to nature’s complexity, animal husbandry of domesticated species can be used as a substitute for a lost keystone species, and that time and timing is the most important factor in planning land use.
Some of the businesses listed in our directory will be using the same principles as Certified Naturally Grown farmers, but without the certification. Certifications can often be expensive and time consuming for most farmers to participate in, and therefore we feel it is important to acknowledge those who practice good land stewardship, without certification.
No-till farming is also known as zero tillage or direct drilling.This practice minimises soil disturbance while growing crops or pasture. No-till farming decreases the amount of soil erosion that tillage can cause in certain soils, as well as increasing the amount of water that infiltrates into the soil, retention of organic matter, and nutrient cycling. Some no-tillage systems rely on large amounts of herbicides to control weeds. However, tillage is dominant in agriculture today. Low-till and no-till methods are increasingly being utilized in poly-cultivation and may include the use of shallow disc harrowing, but does not allow plowing.
A set of design principles centered on whole systems thinking, simulating, or directly utilizing the patterns and resilient features observed in natural ecosystems. The term was coined by David Holmgren and Bill Mollison in 1978, and originally meant “permanent agriculture” but has expanded to include “permanent culture”. Permaculture is a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature, and thinking of plants and animals as multi-faceted rather than treating them as single product systems.
Polyculture is a form of agriculture in which more than one species is grown at the same time and place in imitation of the diversity of natural ecosystems. Polyculture is the opposite of monoculture, in which only members of one plant or animal species are cultivated together. Polyculture has traditionally been the most prevalent form of agriculture in most parts of the world, and is growing back into popularity today due to its environmental and health benefits. There are many types of polyculture including annual polycultures such as intercropping and cover cropping, permaculture, and integrated aquaculture. It is advantageous because of its ability to control pests, weeds, and disease without major chemical inputs. It is considered a sustainable form of agriculture.
Regenerative agriculture is a conservation and rehabilitation approach to food and farming. Some of its key focuses are topsoil regeneration, increased biodiversity, improving the water cycle, enhancing ecosystems, supporting biosequestration, increasing resilience to climate change, and improving the health and vitality of farm soil. Practices involved with regenerative farming include recycling as much farm waste as possible and adding composting materials from sources outside of the farm.
Pursuing an organic certification can be time consuming, expensive, and filled with paperwork. Many farms are transitioning to utilizing organic agricultural practices, but may not be ‘Certified Transitional’ or ultimately pursue an Organic certification. Farms marked with Transitional will still be working towards minimizing, and eventually eradicating, their use of chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and other mechanical interventions that don’t meet with organic practices.
Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance is a national organization that supports independent family farmers and protects a healthy food supply for Americans. The alliance promotes common sense policies for local, diversified agricultural systems. It advocates on behalf of the thousands of small-scale farmers and ranchers who produce food using sustainable/regenerative methods, which means they also work for the millions of consumers who care about protecting rights and traditional freedoms. Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance is based in Texas.
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