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Sweet Grass Beef Farm Attention to Animals and the Environment

Posted by Seth Truscott | May 7, 2008

It’s all in the details.  It’s the way Scott Meyers knows how to move his cattle gently from one pasture to another.  It’s the way he has taken his land, which had been severely overgrazed, and rejuvenated it to make it lush and green.

At a recent WSU/Tilth Farm Walk at Sweet Grass Beef Farm on Lopez Island Meyers demonstrated how he and his family use rotational grazing to increase the fertility of the land and improve the grass quality to ensure it meets peak nutrition.  The cattle provide the fertilizer. No herbicides are ever used to produce his Wagyu or Kobe beef.

Scott Meyers
Scott Meyers with electric fencing, demonstrates how he uses portable hot wire to move his animals calmly

“Scott Meyers approach is all about harmonizing with nature – what the soil needs and what the animals need,” said Candace Jagel, WSU Extension agriculture educator from San Juan County.

The group of about twenty farmers, community members and educators heard how Meyers handles local climate considerations, fencing, watering systems and humane treatment and processing of animals.  His portable hot-wire fencing allows the cattle to be moved calmly to different locations.

Scott Meyers
Scott Meyers explains his fencing protocol

“Scott respects his animals and knows how they will respond. The portable fencing provides less stress for animals and, because they are calm, they produce better meat,” explained Jagel.

The hormone-free beef receive only organic mineral supplements, grass grown in their pastures and hay from other local farms. To ensure the most flavorful tender beef the animals are harvested most often at 28 to 32 months.

By Betsy Fradd, WSU Extension