Our Livestock

"I dislike the thought that some animal has been made miserable to feed me. If I am going to eat meat, I want it to be from an animal that has lived a pleasant, uncrowded life outdoors, on bountiful pasture, with good water nearby and trees for shade."

Wendell Berry

Content Critters = Content Herdsman

Livestock, plant eating animals used to produce food and fiber, have been a part of many cultures since humanity transitioned from hunter-gatherer to farming, thence to urbanization. In fact our western landscapes co-evolved over thousands of years with impacts of mega-fauna (mammoth, mastodon, elk, bison).

Grazing sheep, cows, goats and pigs on our foothill environments offers a biologic style of improving land health and bringing food products to market.

Herbivores provide services to landowners by removing invasive plant species, reducing fire hazard surface fuel load buildup, and enhancing the aesthetic of their home ground.

Working with biology eliminates adverse impacts of mechanized devices, whether it be tractor or weed eater, and reincorporates organic material into the soil, through the action of an herbivore's hooves, that would otherwise oxidize.

This improves the water-cycle function, for organic material in the soil retains moisture, which supports soil microbes, perennial plants, and reduces soil erosion.

Each livestock species offers a grazier different capabilities, from heavy to refined impacts, to meet a holistic goal.

Impact of a

Animal Husbandry

Elster Ranch works solely with natural grass environments, uses no hormone integrated feeds, and antibiotics are used solely for the health of an individual animal in need. Low stress handling and management practice is the protocol on the ranch, no hotshots or other harsh controlling devices, mommas birth their calves in the oak woodlands or savannah areas of their choice, have fresh air, good water, and ample shade for their resting periods. Working with these principles is healthy for animals and grazier alike.

Great Results

Pasture based protein, along with wild game, has been an important part of the human food cycle. Many consumers now want to know that animals are raised locally with low stress methods, not subject to growth hormones, managed to improve land health, and eager to have a conversation with the rancher.

Thanks to the relentless march of science, especially in health and nutrition, old paradigms are being dispelled: raw meat with its tendency for high levels of saturated fat and cholesterol does not have adverse effects on blood cholesterol and heart disease.

The Stockman GrassFarmer reported on a presentation Dr. Susan Duckett, Ernest Corley Endowed Chair, Department of Animal and Veterinary Science

at Clemson University, made at a Grassfed Exchange Conference about the similarities and differences between grass-fed and grain-fed beef.

Each had similar levels of protein and cholesterol, as well as tenderness. Differences lie in levels of antioxidants where grass-fed animals had much higher levels, especially in the long chain omega-3 fatty acids. Ruminant animals are unique in making this healthy form of omega-3, with 60% higher levels attained by grass-fed animals.