Featured Farm: Peterson Limousin Beef
Our first on-location interview brought us to Peterson Limousin Beef, a family owned and operated farm in the St. Croix River Valley near Osceola, WI that practices pasture-raised cattle farming. Here we met with Andy Peterson, a next-generation farmer and business operations manager for Peterson Limousin Beef.
Andy brought us to a lush, deep green pasture where we discussed the details of Peterson Limousin Beef’s sustainable farming methods. Through rotational grazing and crop rotation, the land the animals graze on maintains its nutrient-rich state. “It’s a process of nutrient-recycling,” Andy stated.
He went on to explain that pastureland is predominately made up of legume crops such as alfalfa and clover, which are nitrogen-providing plants, whereas grasses are nitrogen-taking plants. With the addition of pasture-raised cows, the vitality of the soil is maintained as cows eat the grasses and replace nitrogen nutrients through digested wastes. In addition, pasture-raised cows roam and graze freely, spreading organic matter more evenly throughout the pasture. The entire process improves the quality and quantity of pastureland.
Andy described pasture-raised cattle farming as a symbiotic relationship between land and animals. The Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-profit organization dedicated to research and education about food and the environment, describes the sustainability of the practices stating, “It helps to conserve soil, reduce erosion and water pollution, increase carbon sequestration and preserve biodiversity and wildlife” (www.ewg.org).
While pasture-raised farming practices help build and maintain healthy soils and preserve biodiversity, it also builds healthy animals. With more than 100 acres on Peterson Limousin Beef farm, the pasture-raised cows are raised in their natural state. With room to roam and graze, the cows are able to “live as healthy as possible,” Andy described.
Furthermore, the cows are raised without use of antibiotics or growth hormones. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), many farm animals are subject to low-dose antibiotics to prevent the spread of disease. In addition, growth hormones are used to increase the rate at which animals gain weight; in turn, this increases the rate at which the animals are ready for harvest (www.fda.gov).
The philosophy at Peterson Limousin Beef is transparent: they “manage resources in their natural state,” Andy describes. “We do not use pesticides or herbicides on our pastureland, and we improve beef through genetics and natural growth, not through additives or substances.”
In addition to the environmental benefits of pasture-raised farming, there are also health benefits. According to the EWG, “grass-fed beef has less fat and more nutrients than the far more common and less expensive grain-fed beef… and higher levels of vitamin E, beta-carotene and B-vitamins” (www.ewg.org).
With its higher nutritional values and its sustainable, chemical-free philosophy, choosing meat from Peterson Limousin Beef is an easy choice to make.
The Watershed Café’ proudly supports this local farm and uses Peterson Limousin Beef for its chili, hamburger, steak salad, dinner steaks, and dinner specials.
-Photography by professional photographer Kelsea Fehlen – http://www.kelseafehlen.com/
Environmental Working Group. Why Go Grass-Fed. Meat-Eater’s Guide: Report. 2011. May 22, 2016. http://www.ewg.org/meateatersguide/a-meat-eaters-guide-to-climate-change-health-what-you-eat-matters/why-go-organic-grass-fed-and-pasture-raised/
U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Phasing Out Certain Antibiotic Use in Farm Animals. February 25, 2015. May 22, 2016.