Margot Heard, and her family, raise Certified Animal Welfare Approved by A Greener World (AGW) beef cattle outdoors on pasture at Lazy A Ranch in Bellville, Texas. Lazy A Ranch is a working Texas cattle ranch breeding British White and Akaushi (Japanese Red Wagyu) cattle.
The Heards are committed to the sustainable management of every aspect of the ranch. Pasture-based management of the cattle is fundamental to this approach, which also includes everything from utilizing recycled and salvaged materials and green construction practices, recycling plastic, glass and paper, to prioritizing solar and wind technology and wood burning fire places. They maintain the natural fertility of their pastures with compost teas and liquid organic fertilizer and follow Holistic Management International principles, including rotational grazing. “Carbon farming is supported with rotational grazing and pasture development, and the ranch is carbon negative,” explains Margot. “Cattle and wildlife are managed to be mutually beneficial, and high-quality compost from green waste and chicken manure is produced in three large concrete bins and used in the gardens.”
As reflected in their Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW certification, the Heards do not administer routine antibiotics or growth hormones to their beef cattle and use low-stress handling techniques: “Our animals are tame, moved gently and live on grassy pasture their entire lives—most were born on the ranch,” says Margot. “They are given a supplement free-choice mix of macro and trace minerals, vitamins, kelp, probiotics, enzymes and dyna-min clay. It is mixed with DE (didatomaceous earth), a natural wormer. Our cattle are finished on alfalfa, not grain, which gives the meat verified health benefits. Our steers are finished to a heavy weight for increasing marbling, tenderness, and flavor.” The ranch is a member of the British White Cattle Association of America, the American British White Park Association, the American Wagyu Association and the Texas Wagyu Association.
Connecting with and supporting the local community is another important focus for the ranch, which provides local employment opportunities, supports local business and conducts an outdoor education program. “Groups of any age may come to the ranch to participate in activities,” Margot explains. “We get many teachers who plan activities at the ranch according to their curriculum needs. At the ranch you can see calves, breeding stock, beef production, permaculture practice, and wildlife. Activities include seeing the farm animals, pets and the garden. Tours and field trips are available for all ages. Recreation includes hiking, fishing, and photography. You will see horses including Quarter Horse, Arabian, and Paso Fino. Great Pyrenees livestock guardian dogs, stable cats, chickens, Mallard ducks, and wildlife are at home here.”
Certified Animal Welfare Approved by AGW beef in custom cuts from Lazy A Ranch is available direct from the ranch and at area restaurants. Check the AGW directory for details. To order beef, visit lazyatexas.com/shop/shop.htm. For more information on Lazy A Ranch, visit lazyatexas.com or follow the farm on Facebook.