Angus VNR: Sustainable From the Start

Consumers love beef, but more and more, they want to know it’s raised sustainably. That’s why a Hereford, Texas, family takes the initiative to share what they do.  

“We were environmentalists before that was cool, and we take care of the land and the animals. My dad always told me, you never could starve a dime into an animal. You had to feed him and take care of them; and so that was driven to me from day one, just about. That’s part of the story we have to tell,” Steve Olson says.  

Another part of that story is environmental stewardship.  

 “Caring for the land is so important if we want it to sustain itself and be here for our next generation. I feel like we need to put back into the land that God’s given us. To take care of it just means so much to us, to see that it’s cared for and can be passed on, Ginger Olson says.

But it’s more than water and land management; it’s animal wellbeing and health, too.

 “We have a working facility we’ve built here just recently that the well-being of the animal and the flow of the animals through the facility that was in mind when we built it,’ Steve says. “On this facility we put scales under our shoot it helps us in if we have a sick calf, that we can have a more accurate weight on the dosage level of what antibiotic we might need to doctor that calf and certainly has been at the price of some of our antibiotics, that’s a big help to us.”

Sustainability means making the best of a bad situation sometimes, giving nature a chance to catch up.

“Ranching can be challenging, at times when Mother Nature doesn’t quite cooperate with us like we think she should. And when we go through years of drought, we’re fortunate enough to have the farm to bring the cattle in from the ranch and off the grass. And basically hand-feed them through periods so that we can help sustain the grass at the ranch. It’s amazing how through the years of drought we had, God brings the grass back if we do our part,” Ginger says.

“When you make cattle and ranching your life, you do well for your vocation if you share your story with the other 99 percent who don’t have that direct experience,” she continues.

“We, as cattle producers, have that responsibility to share with others. It’s other people being inquisitive about where their food comes from--and certainly there’s a need for that, and if we don’t fulfill that need, then they will find out the answers from other people that maybe don’t know all the truth about cattle production,” Steve says.

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