Montana Cattle driveAdd to Lightbox Download
Hilary Zaranak walks with her son Andy, 4, and checks cows in the Centennial Valley of Southwestern Montana in June 2012. The age of the open range is gone and the era of large cattle drives over. Today, very few ranches drive their cattle with horses, instead moving them by truck. Now, 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..
- Ami Vitale
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