This article excerpt originally appeared in the June 2018 issue of ACRES USA magazine. It is written by Abbey and Spencer Smith. Readers may view and download a full PDF of this article. 

Diana Rodgers lives on a working organic farm west of Boston, Mass. Clark Farm raises lamb, goat, pastured pork, eggs, vegetables and berries. The animals look serene in the golden green pastures. They are healthy and relaxed. They are part of the landscape, shaping and impacting the grass and forest lands of the farm. Not only are they important to the health of the ecosystem, red meat from these animals is a true superfood–meaning that per calorie, there is a high level of nutrients in the food.  However, most people believe the healthiest product on Clark Farm must come from the vegetable patch. This misperception and false portrayal of red meat led Diana Rodgers,R.D., a real food registered dietitian to create the film Kale vs. Cow.

“I’ve been feeling increasingly frustrated with the wrongful vilification of red meat from a health and environmental perspective. There doesn’t seem to be any films that advocate for regenerative agriculture that also admit that red meat is actually a healthy food to eat,” Diana Rodgers said.

Realizing that Diana Rodgers is right about the public perception of raising and eating red meat, we reflected on the reasons we choose to do both. This list is the top 10 reasons cattle, sheep and other livestock are part of healthy living for humans and the ecosystem.

It isn’t easy to get a rosy picture of meat production through common research channels like Google, magazines and blogs. The red meat most vilified in the United States is beef. Is this because it is the most consumed red meat in the United States? According to the USDA, the per capita consumption of beef is projected to be  57.9 pounds in 2018.

Not all meat is created equal. Livestock are a tool that can improve or degrade ecosystem function depending on how they are managed. Beef that came from cattle properly managed across grassland, is a completely different product than conventionally produced beef. What could be the impact on the environment if even half of those almost 58 pounds of beef per person consumed this year came from cattle working to sequester carbon and enhance ecosystem function? Let’s explore further through the top 10 reasons we’ve found to include healthy red meat in your farm plan and diet……

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