We are excited to introduce to you our current Arizona Beef Ambassador and also a member of the National Beef Ambassador team, Mackenzie Kimbro. Her Roots Run Deep (also the perfect name for her blog) in the Sonoran desert and cattle ranching so take a moment to enjoy her blog post. Be sure to check out her personal page Cola Blanca Productions, LLC..
I am proud to be the sixth generation in my family to be a cattle rancher. My grandpa, my mom and I ranch in scenic southeast Arizona, having one ranch in the Chiricahua Mountains and the other in the San Bernardino Valley along the US/Mexico border. Our landscape is incredibly diverse and is one that has been intensely and continuously sought after for scientific study; and therefore, it is no surprise that we are actively involved in conservation efforts.
Beginning in 1991, my grandparents Warner and Wendy Glenn helped found the Malpai Borderlands Group, an organization who stood to bring progress by getting ranchers and environmental agencies to sit down at the table together. The MBG’s mission: “Our goal is to restore and maintain the natural processes that create and protect a healthy, unfragmented landscape to support a diverse, flourishing community of human, plant and animal life in our borderlands region. Together, we will accomplish this by working to encourage profitable ranching and other traditional livelihoods, which will sustain the open space nature of our land for generations to come.” This organization has made leaps and bounds in the environmental and ranching communities worldwide, and has served as a great meeting place for collaborations as a good amount of grazing lands leased by ranchers are owned by state and federal agencies (so, working partnerships with ranchers/permittees and these agencies are critical).
The MBG’s website goes on to say: “Perhaps the most remarkable feature of this huge landscape is that fewer than 100 human families reside on it. Many of the families who live here have been here for generations. Except for two small wildlife preserves, this is cattle ranching country. As ranchers, we have been concerned about a key resource we depend on for our livelihoods and way of life – the diminishing quality of grasslands for grazing. Fragmentation of the landscape, beginning with the subdivision of some ranches in our area, has also been a looming threat. We formed a nonprofit organization to bring ranchers, scientists, and key agencies together, and today the Malpai Borderlands Group now carries out a series of conservation programs and activities, including land restoration; endangered species habitat protection; cost-sharing range and ranch improvements; and land conservation projects.”
Conservation is key to the continuity of the beef community and is an integral facet in the way we raise quality beef. Ranchers across the country are everyday environmentalists and we take great pride in knowing that we work constantly to provide America with safe, wholesome, nutritious beef in the most sustainable way possible. As said by the Bureau of Land Management, “Besides providing such traditional products as meat and fiber, well-managed rangelands and other private ranch lands support healthy watersheds, carbon sequestration, recreational opportunities and wildlife habitat.” Plus, about eighty-five percent of US grazing lands are unsuitable for producing crops, so grazing cattle on this land more than doubles the area that can be used to raise food. A study done by Oklahoma State University students stated, “[Cattle] can also convert low-quality feeds into high-quality protein from land not suited for cultivation, thereby reducing soil erosion and enhancing soil carbon storage.”
Ranchers and everyone else involved in the beef community work hard so that we may continue to reduce our carbon footprint and raise delicious and nutritious beef using fewer resources. Ranchers specifically have a working relationship with Mother Nature. A few examples of that partnership include providing livestock waters that are utilized by wildlife, maintaining open spaces for ranching and simultaneously preserving wildlife corridors, and grazing cattle strategically which helps prevent wildfires.
All in all, cattle ranchers are proud to be stewards of the land, working to conserve open spaces and sustain the land and the ranching way of life for future generations. We care about our cattle and we care about the environment, not just because they are both integral to our family business, but because we care about preserving this land and our nation’s resources so that future generations are able to appreciate them as much as we do.
To learn more about the beef community’s relationship with the environment, visit FactsAboutBeef.com.
To find out more about the Malpai Borderlands Group, visit www.malpaiborderlandsgroup.org.