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.Hilary Zaranek and her daughter Elle are met by draft horses in the Centennial Valley of Southwestern Montana, June 13, 2012. Ranching is tough business with most working 14-16 hour days in the calving season in the Centennial Valley of Southwestern Montana, June 13, 2012. Spurred by growing consumer concern over meat's environmental impact and concerned about the long-term viability of their livelihood, a cohort of ranchers is trying to apply the understanding gleaned from the science of ecology to livestock management. The idea is called ?sustainable ranching? and it says to heal the land, put more animals on it, not fewer - but move them after a relatively brief interval. If livestock mimick the grazing behavior of wild herbivores - bunched together for safety, intensely grazing an area for a brief period, and then moving on - rangeland health will improve..June 2012: Hilary Zaranek introduces her daughter Elle to draft horses in the Centennial Valley of Southwestern Montana. The age of open range is gone and the era of long cattle drives over. Today, few ranches drive their cattle with horses, instead moving them by truck. Spurred by growing concern over beef's environmental impact and the long-term viability of their livelihood, a cohort of Montana ranchers is working to integrate ecological practices into livestock management. The idea is that cows could be good for the landscape, particularly if they mimic the grazing behavior of wild herbivores. By bunching together for safety and intensely grazing an area for a brief period, before moving on, rangeland health will improve.
- Ami Vitale
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