How we work
One benefit of ranching using proper grazing techniques is that the plants sequester carbon from the atmosphere. Carbon emissions contribute to climate change whereas plants naturally take carbon out of the atmosphere and sequester it in their roots. 92% of our ranch is covered in plant life year round. This plant life consists of grassland or tree canopy with understory. We are currently experimenting with the remaining 8% of crop land to determine the benefits and feasibility of cover crops to soil health, grazing, and carbon sequestration. We are also participating in a multi-year carbon study to determine both the amount of carbon sequestered, and carbon sequestration rate in various biome regions on our ranch (coastal bermuda, native grasses, canopy, cropland, etc.) This will help inform us of our net sequestration/emission impact on the environment, and also allow us to conclude which biome is sequestering more carbon.
Biodiversity and wildlife habitat
Another benefit to the environment that ranches like ours provide is an abundance of biodiversity and wildlife habitat. Our ranch is home to many species that thrive off of the rich mixture of plant communities. We have over 1000 acres of forested tree canopy with understory, and almost 900 acres of native grassland. 63% of the ranch is completely native. We have federally endangered plant species. We have almost a 12 month blooming period and are a stopping point for Monarch butterflies. We also have bald eagles roosting on our ranch. Deer, turkeys, ducks, bobcats, and more can be found on the ranch, sometimes in our yard. Our philosophy is working with our “wild” neighbors and their habitat rather than dominating it. We provide a nutritious food source, beef, through raising cows that graze on these plant communities. It is a wonderful symbiotic relationship.
Another benefit of maintaining diverse plant communities is their ability to filter water. The root systems of these plants reach deep into the soil breaking it up allowing water to be absorbed. Often times, over grazing or tilling the land stops the ability of plants to form healthy deep roots causing runoff of nutrients or fertilizer or pesticides which directly enter our water ways. Through careful grazing systems such as ours, water percolates and is filtered deep in the ground and emerges through seeps and enters our waterways crystal clear. This natural filtration system helps everyone downstream.