If you haven’t heard of regenerative agriculture, you’ll want to hear Calvin’s story. This farming philosophy, which has guided this Alberta rancher, may be one of our greatest ways to tackle climate change while simultaneously supporting animal welfare and nutrition.
Calvin’s journey to regenerative agriculture
Growing up on a farm, Calvin developed a passion for ranching and raising cattle, so in 2004, he purchased his own ranch in the base of the Handhills to start Top Grass Cattle Co. He describes the land as, “one of deep coulees, rolling hills, creeks, big blue skies and grass as far as you can see. Diverse in so many plant species and wildlife, it truly is a Cows paradise and a sight for sore eyes.”
On this land, Calvin started raising animals that spent most of their life in the fields and then were fed grain in confinement. At this time, Calvin felt that this was the best way to raise animals and provide the best beef for his customers as it was what most cattle ranchers in Alberta were doing at the time! It was in conversation with customers and local experts however, that Calvin was prompted to look into an alternative way of raising cattle. He wanted to find ways to take better care of his cattle, make meat healthier, and manage livestock so that they supported the environment rather than hindered it. It was along this journey that Calvin became a regenerative farmer!
The benefits of regenerative agriculture
To put it simply, regenerative agriculture is a way of farming that supports life and earth’s natural ecosystems, rather than harming it. Calvin explains what this means in more detail:
“Through regenerative agriculture we manage our lands to provide a habitat for soil microbes to flourish and keep the ecosystem working properly. As a result, healthy soils provide us clean air and water, productive grazing lands, diverse wildlife and beautiful landscapes for not just today but for generations to come. Livestock is an important tool to manage our grass and to recycle nutrients and sequester carbon back into the soil.”
In other words, by allowing cattle to roam freely in native grasslands, Calvin is able to raise healthy cattle (without the use of growth hormones or antibiotics), preserve the natural grassland (which has been reduced in North America by 70%), and provide high quality beef (not raised in feedlots)!
Calvin’s philosophy behind his farming practices is reflected in his Top Grass products. All of his burgers and meatballs are made with simple ingredients that you can pronounce.