See how South Carolina beef farmers and ranchers are rethinking the ranch to raise sustainable beef through land-saving, wildlife-preserving, and award-winning environmental efforts.
Blue Lake Farm in Sharon, South Carolina is a multi-generational family farm that has been around for over 160 years. To help protect the land on their farm, the Thompson family moved away from traditional row crop farming to rotational grazing of cattle and hay production. This change was to best use the sandy soil, minimize erosion and support their cattle herd. Blue Lake Farm has 30 rotating grazing pastures that are reseeded annually to help maximize grass production and control weeds. Due to the farm's location in a prominent watershed, the Thompsons have taken steps to protect the local water resources by creating buffer zones from cattle pasture and stream banks, installing dedicated water troughs and making designated stream crossing for the cattle. The conservation practices don't stop with the cattle though. The Thompson family has taken steps to protect their forest lands for local wildlife including by providing feeding plots. For their work in protecting natural resources, Blue Lake Farm was awarded the prestigious Environmental Stewardship Award (ESAP).
"The land is our responsibility to take care of and to pass along to the next generation. And it is our job to do the best that we can to protect what has been given to us to take care of--the land, the rivers, the timber, and the cattle. I think it's our job to look after everything." - Jessie Thompson, 5th Generation Owner, Blue Lake Farm
From cow-calf operations to feedlots, pastures to packing plants, it takes a team of specialists to bring beef from pasture to plate. Learn more about the raising beef process as we travel across the country talking to real, modern ranchers about how they care for the cattle, what inspires them and why they work so hard day after day.
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 by using the latest technology and resources. Today, there are more than 340,000 cattle and over 7,800 cattle farms in South Carolina. Learn more about the beef farmers and ranchers who are raising beef from pasture to plate in The Palmetto State.
There are over 300,000 cattle in South Carolina on over 7,800 farms.