Our Heroes: The Buchanan Family of Flying B Bar Ranch

This winter, Ecocentric is interviewing farmers across the country from our Eat Well Guide in an effort to highlight both the challenges and triumphs of sustainable farmers across the country. Join us as we delve in to discover what it means to be a farmer in the 21st century.

The Flying B Bar Ranch is owned and operated by the Buchanan Family; Brad, Margaret, Grace and Will in Strasburg, Colorado.

What do you grow/raise on your farm?

Flying B Bar Ranch focuses on raising healthy, sustainable, local, family operated grassfed beef through humane ranching practices. The Flying B Bar Ranch is certified by the American Grassfed Association, and is an Animal Welfare Approved Ranch. There is more about us at on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/FlyingBBar.

How many acres do you farm?

Between what we pasture and the farm ground where we raise our own alfalfa and sorghum for hay totals 1120 acres.

What does your farm produce in a year?

Each winter we process between 40 and 60 cattle.

Describe your local food community in four words. 

Vibrant, relevant, caring and sustainable.

What is your favorite aspect of farming? 

There is nothing better than starting and finishing each day with our herd of cattle, watching while the herd grazes on our pasture or munches hay we put up ourselves. The completeness of the process and richness of the moment is hard to describe, it’s a bunch of work and worth every minute of it.

What did you do before you got into farming? 

I have practiced architecture for over 30 years and most of that has been focused on creating healthy vibrant communities. It has been abundantly clear to me for many years that access to local, healthy food is one of the most important foundations for a healthy vibrant community. We made the decision in 2006 to become part of the circle of producers of healthy foods, creating local access to our beef. When a ranch then transforms itself into becoming an important stakeholder in the community, part of the local ecosystem, then we’ve gone past just raising cattle and putting up hay. I believe that opportunity exists for every local farm and ranch operation to truly share with and support the health and vibrancy of our local communities, and for our communities to support our local farmers and ranchers.

What is your philosophy of growing food/raising animals?

Our philosophy for raising animals is one of respect; respect for the land, respect for our consumers, respect for our animals and respect for the planet. We raise grassfed beef because it’s healthier for the families who buy our beef, and it’s healthier for our environment. We are further focused on the health and well-being of our animals every day of their lives and have crafted our approach to ranching keeping animal welfare in mind at every step of the way.

Most people in the US have little connection to their food, let alone who’s growing it. What do you think people need to know about the realities of farming?

We always urge consumers to find out more about where their food comes from and who their producers are. Ask questions. “Does this producer share my values?”  “Do they care about what I feed my family?” We welcome our beef buyers to visit the ranch and learn all about how we do what we do, and why we do it that way. That way consumers can make their own educated choices about what they buy. 

Can you speak about the slaughtering process? Do you slaughter on site or drive to the nearest facility?  

We slaughter exclusively right here at the ranch.  A mobile processing unit spends a week with us processing our cattle. We spent years researching processing plants and working with them to find the right mobile processing unit who shared our values and respect for our animals. Since then we have been committed to only on-ranch slaughter. While it’s a tough week for all of us who spend so much time with the animals it is absolutely the most humane and respectful way to process our cattle. Our animals are never on a trailer, they are born here, raised here and are processed here.  They experience no stress, no unfamiliar places at any time during their life with us. 

 

 

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