Oregon Ranchers Get Funds to Make Beef Farms More Environmentally Friendly | Local News

JOSPEH, Ore. (KPTV) – Dozens of Oregon ranchers are getting an influx of funds to make their cattle operations more environmentally friendly.

The investment comes in the form of a nearly half a million dollar grant from the MJ Murdock Charitable Trust. Its aim is to encourage the practice of “regenerative breeding”, which aims to minimize negative impacts on the environment.

“Our goal is to manage cattle in tight groups, which helps soil health, and then move those animals quickly and not bring them back to the same lot for at least a year,” said Dan Probert, an eastern Oregon rancher and marketing director at Country Natural Beef, a cooperative of 100 ranchers across the west.

Probert is one of 50 ranchers in Oregon participating in the Regenerative Breeding Program through a partnership between Country Natural Beef and Sustainable Northwest, a nonprofit that works with farmers, ranchers, and forestry groups on the management of natural resources.

“It starts with the soil. When you have healthy soil, you have healthy practices, you get all kinds of great benefits. Carbon sequestration. You get better water capture. You get better wildlife habitat. And you get better production in terms of crops and forage,” said Dylan Kruse, director of government affairs and program strategy for Sustainable Northwest.

After collecting baseline data on the soils on their land, Probert and other ranchers will run tests again in three to five years to measure the impact of their regeneration efforts.

“We’re talking millions of acres, and the number of ranchers that can be involved can really move this regenerative ranching movement forward,” said Jill Lemke, program director at MJ Murdock Charitable Trust.

Despite the optimism about regenerative livestock farming, there is some skepticism from environmental groups, who say that although it is possible to manage livestock so that there is less impact on earth, it is unlikely to have any negative impact.

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