Our family works hard to raise as much of our own food as possible. This includes a garden for fresh eating and preserving food, dairy animals, and raising our own meat. When it comes to meat and dairy, we think there are 9 reasons to raise pastured livestock.
We are very passionate about farming as naturally as possible. This means that we choose to not use any kind of chemicals on our farm and opt for natural alternatives. We raise our beef on a 100% grass-based diet (this includes hay and forage supplements), chickens are able to forage for much of their diets and are supplemented with a non-GMO and soy-free feed ration, and our pigs are able to root and eat whatever they can find in their designated area. They also receive a ration of non-GMO and soy-free feed.
We’ve spent several years researching, observing, and implementing pasture-based farming techniques. It’s been a very fun and rewarding process. We really enjoy watching our animals doing what they were created to do and thriving. We also enjoy sitting down to eat as a family and sharing a meal that we’ve all had a part in raising.
If you are interested in learning more about how to raise livestock on pasture, check out my e-book: Pasture Raising Livestock- A Beginners Guide.
9 Reasons to Raise Pastured Livestock
Know Where Your Food Came From
Knowing where your food comes from and what it is fed is very important. There’s no better way to do so than to raise your own food. Having complete control over what your animals are fed ensures that you are getting exactly what you want out of your livestock.
Feed Your Family Right
Being able to provide your family with nutrient dense food that you grow on your own property is so satisfying. You may also want to raise enough to provide some food for family and friends. Having the ability to do so is wonderful.
Impart Values to Your Children
Teaching your children a lifestyle that enriches them as a person. I believe that there’s no better way to learn about the value of life and working for what you have than in homesteading and raising your own food. The things that children learn are too numerous to list here but the overall value of it is priceless.
Work Together as a Family
Working together as a family is very fulfilling. It is so satisfying to share in raising livestock with your family. You get to spend much time together doing something that you all love to do. You also get to enjoy reaping the benefits of the harvest with them as well.
Raising Pastured Livestock Makes Healthier Food
It is my opinion that pasture raised livestock results in meats and dairy are far healthier for our bodies. By raising your own pastured livestock, you can accomplish eating a healthier diet and living a healthier lifestyle.
Products from pasture-raised animals are healthier for you to eat than those from grain-fed animals for many reasons. Animals get more readily available nutrients from fresh pasture plants than from grains, so their products contain more vitamin E, beta carotene, conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and omega-3 fatty acids. Vitamin E and beta carotene, the precursor to vitamin A, are powerful antioxidants that, among other functions, help our bodies cope with toxins. Conjugated lineoleic acid prevents many types of tumors and breast cancer in post-menopausal women. Dairy products from 100 percent grass-fed cows are the richest natural source of CLA, with as much as seven times more cancer-fighting CLA than ordinary milk and with far less cancer-promoting linoleic (vs. CLA) acid. (Cancer Letters, 1997; 116:121-130). A Finnish study comparing serum concentrations of CLA in women with and without breast cancer showed that women with higher CLA concentrations had lower risks of breast cancer. (Aro, A., S. Mannisto, I. Salminen, M. L. Ovaskainen, V. Kataja, and M. Uusitupa, “Inverse Association between Dietary and Serum Conjugated Linoleic Acid and Risk of Breast Cancer in Postmenopausal Women.” Nutr. Cancer 38, no. 2 (2000): 151-7) All of the nutrients mentioned above promote a healthy heart. – The Maine Organic Farmer & Gardener
Pastured Livestock Improve the Soil
Everywhere your pastured livestock go they leave the earth a little better than they found it. They build carbon by dropping nitrogen-rich manure and urine everywhere they go which in turn builds topsoil and reduces potential run-off. Not only that but they strengthen roots, destroys weeds, and feed the soil food web. Raising livestock on pasture is one of the best decisions you can make for your land!
More Sustainable Self-Reliance
Pastured livestock is simply a more sustainable way to practice self-reliance on the homestead. Not only do you reduce your dependency on outside food sources, but there are far fewer inputs than animals raised in confinement. When you raise your animals on pasture you leave the land better than you found it. The grass grows a little better every year… without having use machines to bring the feed to your animals, you let them do the work themselves.
Raising pastured livestock is a more humane way of practicing animal husbandry. Animals are simply happier when they’re outside eating fresh grass and able to move around. And happier animals are healthier, less likely to transmit e.coli or need antibiotics (all of which means lower vet bills for the farmer!)
Save Money with Pastured Livestock
All of these factors considered, the savings really add up with pastured livestock! Not only do you save on the feed bill (or equipment, labor, and storage costs to produce your own feed), but when you raise healthier meat for people you also save on vet bills AND doctor’s bills too.
If you’re convinced of the health benefits of pastured livestock but not sure you want to take the plunge into raising your own, the cost savings are often substantial and well worth it!
Our family has big plans for our future of expanding our farm to be a large scale pasture-based farm offering grass fed beef, pastured pork, pastured poultry, and pastured dairy products. We have a dream and have dedicated ourselves to making it happen through hard work and determination.
We have come a long way in knowledge and experience since we started farming in 2012.
There’s a lot to learn about how to manage pastures and what each type of animal needs. We’ve experimented through trial and error and have adjusted our system as needed so that it works well for us.
I truly feel that almost anyone can raise at least some of their own food. Be it a few plants on a balcony, some backyard chickens and meat rabbits, or a full-fledged farm filled with livestock, it can be done. We have learned that we can grow and raise a lot more on a lot less space than we thought we could. And so can you!