Keith and Linda Long have raised cattle and sheep for almost 40 years, with focus on holistically managing the land for the last two decades. In 2013, the Longs created Graze the Prairie and started direct marketing their beef. Today, they lease approximately 2000 acres of native tall grass prairie located on a ranch in the Kansas Flint Hills, where they graze their herd of Certified Animal Welfare Approved by A Greener World (AGW) beef cattle.
In addition to being Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW, the cattle herd at Graze the Prairie is Certified Grassfed by AGW, the first—and only—food label in the U.S. and Canada that guarantees food products come from animals fed a 100% grass and forage diet, and raised entirely outdoors on pasture or range.
Keith and Linda raise Red Angus/British White cross and Red Angus/Murray Grey cross cattle. “We find that this cross breed produces a consistently great grassfed product and the animals are suitable for the Kansas climate,” says Linda. “In addition to focusing on the right cross breeds for our ranch, we focus on utilizing planned grazing and holistic management to guide our decision-making and management practices. These practices are essential in maintaining what is left of the tall grass prairie, and they are better for the animals too. Cattle are born to roam and graze, and through holistic management, animals have the ability to positively impact the soil in a powerful way by sequestering carbon in the soil.”
The Longs chose to pursue AGW certification because of the meaning of the label as well as the marketing, labeling and technical services offered by the program. “We wanted to be certified by someone who supports independent producers and requires high standards of management,” says Linda.
In the future, Keith and Linda have plans to focus on their land, the animals and their community. “We will continue to raise and offer our nutrient dense products to the public; we will always maintain the quality of the native tall-grass prairie. We will have effective water and mineral cycles, high energy flow and rich biodiversity. We will maintain the joy and love we feel for the animals and the prairie by maintaining a healthy lifestyle including taking time for travel, family and friends. It is our ultimate goal to be people with compassion and integrity as well as good stewards of the land and supportive members of our community.”
Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW, Certified Grassfed by AGW beef from Graze the Prairie is available directly from the farm and from various outlets around Wichita. The ranch is also a learning site for Holistic Management International, hosting open gate events and farm tours by appointment. For more information, visit www.grazetheprairie.com, connect with the ranch on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or contact Keith and Linda Long at firstname.lastname@example.org.