Some people may ask, what exactly is sustainability? As in the past this word has been a popular term used to cover a broad range of topics. For us, sustainability means to establish homeostasis between species and resources within an environment.
In terms of Sustainability, it has always been an important attribute at the ranch as the health of the land and its resources will affect the health of the animals that utilize it; for us, it all goes hand in hand.
LAND & WATER STEWARDSHIP
Sustainable land and water management for us, means using our natural resources of trees, land, soils, waters and plants to produce cattle for human consumption, all while ensuring the long term potential of said resources. When following good agro ecology principles a rancher can reduce ( if not avoid all together) damaging impacts, without sacrificing productivity or profitability.
On the ranch, we are continually changing our practices regarding land and water use as environmental factors have a large impact on our resources. As in any environment there are years of abundance and then there are years of recession, this requires adapting to each new challenge as it occurs.
No matter what the particular environment may be, there are sustainable/productive land use practices we can use that will minimize our footprint and conserve our natural resources. A few of those practices we use include but are not limited to, the following:
We use a rotational grazing system where cattle are not moved into a pasture until adequate growth has occurred, and they’re moved out before pastures are over grazed.
Wherever possible, we develop cattle friendly water gaps while fencing out other areas to keep destruction of creek and river banks to a minimum.
We stock our ponds with native cutthroat trout to help improve the ecosystem.
We reduce our water used for irrigation during times of drought.
Rotating crops and planting cover crops to replenish soil nutrients, reduce weeds and prevent erosion.
Logging selectively to reduce bug infestation and fire hazards without impacting the ecology of an area.
Planting trees to control erosion and add biodiversity.
When done effectively, proper sustainability will help reduce the effects of modern ranching practices by cycling nutrients between plants, animals and its environment. Hopefully, this will go a long ways towards helping create ecosystem equilibrium.
For a population of wildlife to prosper they depend on four basics needs -food, water, shelter and space. As with the ecology of an area where all living things are interrelated, the same goes with the wildlife population. The amount of suitable habitat for any particular species will determine the number of animals found in a particular area. When habitats and ecosystems have been improved and protected this usually has a positive impact on wildlife and normally you will see an increase in their numbers. When a healthy living environment exists, you would expect to see a vast array of different species of wildlife, which we are proud to say we are seeing on Meyer Company Ranch.
We employee a licensed outfitter to oversee our wildlife herds and determine what is needed or could benefit the wildlife for overall health.
Over the years logging has gotten a bad name due to people clear cutting forests. However, when done correctly logging opens up the ecosystem for new plant growth and can restore health back to forests.
One benefit of logging is reduced fuel load, as a heavily treed area that has very small trees will never be able to grow in size due to density. If a wild fire were to come through this thick growth would provide fuel for devastating fires that could possibly be avoided if the trees were removed.
A second benefit of logging is to reduce bug infestation, especially the pine beetle which generally attacks older and weakened trees. Healthy trees are said to have defenses against pine beetles, therefore increasing forest health through logging can be beneficial.
We employee a licensed forester to oversee the health of our forests and determine the best way to keep our trees healthy and productive members of the ecosystem that we are part of.