This article is for all the meat lovers out there who don’t want to feel guilty about scarfing it down! Have you heard of factory farming?  Well, this is the polar opposite of that. On 20,000 acres, just outside of Missoula, MT, surrounded by beautiful mountains, Bob Meyer has set up a serene and peaceful cattle ranch.  Not only are they responsible for 40% of all natural beef in America; they raise all their cattle in the most natural of environments.

*Note:  I am not being paid, bribed or blackmailed to write this.  After my visit to the Meyer Co. Ranch, I actually have a whole new appreciation for natural beef!

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Preservation.

This ranch was founded 120 years ago, and has been under Bob Meyer’s management since the early 1990s.  The original buildings have all been preserved and restored.

Ranch manager Jim Phillips uses methods to tend the land similar to permaculture.  There will always be multiple purposes for one action.  Taking time to test methods and weeding out what works from what doesn’t is just fun for these guys.

Practices like stripping the forest of old growth so that new, lush trees can emerge, are regular habits there.   Water preservation is practiced naturally with man made ponds and lakes that feed into each other providing natural habitats for wildlife and a self-irrigation system.   There are so many more implementations of methods of conservation, and they all continue to impress and actually work!

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Diet.

For all of the people who ask where your meat comes from at every meal, this is for you.   They feed the cattle a particular mixture of hay, alfalfa, barley, wheat and triticale so that it doesn’t upset their sensitive stomachs.  The cattle are getting mineral supplements based off of minerals met by testing natural forage and dry feed matter when being fed hay.  Don’t forget:  You are what you eat!

Mutual Respect.

Speak up for those who can’t speak for themselves!  I have never seen such a communal respect for the living creatures that are essentially being produced as a commodity.  Usually greed gets in the way of a good quality of life, but here, it just doesn’t.  I heard a story of how buyers of their cattle would be turned away, rather told off, because they came to the ranch ready to herd them with electric cattle prods.   “They come to the ranch to “pick up” the calves and take them to where the buyer requests. These truck drivers (almost all) usually have cattle prods (electric sticks) which they use to jab the calves as they are going on the truck. We don’t and won’t allow this.”

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Strict Regulation.

You think your parents were strict?  The army?  China? No.  This meat has 50% Red Angus Genetics on the ranch and has dominant red angus genetics, registered with the Red Angus association.  “We are very careful in the selection of our bulls for breeding and even go to the extreme of producing our own breeding stock as sometimes we aren’t able to find what we are looking for out in the general market. We cull all animals for negative traits and breed for positive traits including marbling and grade of beef.”  Breeding is done naturally, and momma cows are given the opportunity to birth naturally in the fields as well.  It was such a treat to see the babies frolicking and playing with each other.  They also hand pick which bulls are the best to breed and humanely “neuter” the ones that are not.  Those that are not, are free to roam about until its time for dinner.

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Cowboys.

These guys are not to be confused with a dude ranch, where all the cowboys are luxuriously wisping their hair around and entertaining vacationers.  These cowboys are actual cowboys, like the ones that you read about setting the land in the 1800s.   Among the multiple benefits of having real cowboys around, the biggest one is when they herd the cattle.  Rather then using loud ATVs or electric cattle prods, the cowboys herd with horses.  The horses, recognized by the cattle as non-threatening, provide minimal stress on the cattle, which makes for some tender meat!

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Photo: Lennie Phillips

Stress-Free Lives = Happy Cows.

Happy Cows = The Most Delicious Meat EVER!  I’ve had the pleasure of enjoying the happy-cow meat as prepared by Chef John Enright.  This isn’t just your regular prime meat; this meat is ultimate, grade-A, blue-ribbon prime.  I have never tasted such succulent meat in my life, and I grew up in Texas.  Food porn is REAL!

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Look for these logos on your next shopping trip and be sure it’s from Meyer Co.:

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