Tyler Dawley, along with his new bride and his parents, run the sprawling 4,000 acre Big Bluff Ranch in Tehama County, California. As a third-generation rancher, he has to balance the pressures of keeping with tradition and kicking it as far away as possible. You see, most cattle ranchers, especially those that don't control their markets, loose money on each cow. The traditional way of selling cattle at auction or to a finishing operation provides very little value and can hardly support the cost of the land. Tyler's family was following the same trajectory until they discovered Holistic Management in the 1990s and decided to manage their land and their markets in a different way. Through a newly created meat CSA called "The Foragers", Tyler is getting the full retail value of his meat and supporting other ethical producers in a remote part of California.
Listen to the full interview when you get a chance. This is the first of many audio interviews we will be conducting with innovative and hard-working family-farmers across the country.
(You need Quicktime to listen to this interview)
P.S. The picture above is of Tyler (the red beard) instructing a couple admirers on his newish poultry processing set-up, one of the ways he can capture more of the value of his animals while maintaining quality too. His operation falls under the federal and state exemption for on-farm processing of up to 20,000 birds per year without USDA inspection since he markets direct to the end consumer.