See how California beef farmers and ranchers are rethinking the ranch to raise sustainable beef through land-saving, wildlife-preserving, and award-winning environmental efforts.
Near Sacramento, California lies Yolo Land & Cattle Co., founded by Hank Stone and managed by the Stone family. Yolo Land & Cattle Co. operates under the philosophy, "Take care of the land and the land will take care of you," and that is apparent in everything that they do. From the start, the Stones built a diversified operation in order to enhance sustainability. In addition, as their climate is prone to drought, the ranch focuses on providing water in a sustainable way to their cattle. This involves the extensive use of irrigated pasture as well as reusing rinse water from a local tomato cannery. Yolo Land & Cattle Co. also repeatedly partners with the National Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) on numerous projects, including the installation of solar power and restoring native plant populations. They even house their own agrotourism division to educate the public about their sustainable practices. The Stones have also placed their ranch in a conservation easement- taking the ultimate measure to protect their land. For their dedication to protecting the land, Yolo Land & Cattle Co. was awarded the prestigious Environmental Stewardship Award (ESAP).
"We are simply short-term tenants on this planet, and we have an obligation to leave the ranch in better condition for the next generation. That's what this is all about." - Scott Stone, Manager of Commercial Cattle Operation, Yolo Land & Cattle Co.
Kevin Kester and his wife, June, own Bear Valley Ranch, in Parkfield, California, just outside of Paso Robles. As parts of the 22,000-acre ranch are not easily accessible by automobile, Kevin relies on the use of technology, such as drones, to check on water supplies and irrigation systems throughout the property. The rolling hills and valleys of the ranch are home to cattle, horses, wildlife, native grasslands and, most recently, rows of grape vines that are sold to local vineyards to make wine. Mixing time-honored traditions with cutting-edge innovations, the Kester family and Bear Valley Ranch provide a fascinating example of how ranchers blend traditions with the technology of today to raise the best beef possible.
Raising beef is a complex process, but throughout the entire journey, one thing remains constant – the shared commitment to raising cattle in a safe, humane and environmentally sustainable way. Today, there are more than 5.2 million cattle and over 13,000 cattle farms and ranches in California. Learn more about California beef farmers and ranchers who are raising beef from pasture to plate.
California is known as the “salad bowl capital of the world” as over a third of the country’s vegetables and two-thirds of the country’s fruits and nuts are grown in the state.