Across the United States, birds that rely on grasslands, prairies, and meadows have been disappearing at an alarming rate, but on Audubon-certified ranches, species are not only surviving—they are thriving.
It is my pleasure to announce Parker Pastures is officially an Audubon-Certified Ranch and we are the newest members of the Audubon Conservation Ranching Initiative.
The Audubon certification is centered on habitat conservation, and the program protocols ensure that certified ranches are managed to provide benefits to grassland birds.
The Audubon Society actually reached out to us last fall and invited us to participate because they saw that we were already doing everything they were looking for!
Let me explain.
To become certified, a ranch must meet a set of Habitat Management protocols, some of which are developed specifically for each region. The ranch must also meet program protocols related to Forage and Feeding, Animal Health & Welfare, and Environmental Sustainability. Notably, feedlots are not allowed, and hormones and antibiotics are strictly prohibited. (AWESOME!!)
That's all easy and natural for us, because it's what we've been doing for years!
Audubon also identified a suite of priority grassland bird species for our ecoregion, then worked with partners to develop regional habitat management protocols to benefit those species. A Habitat Management Plan was developed for Parker Pastures that defines management practices to those birds.
Bird monitoring was conducted on all the ranches we manage in order to get a baseline to measure changes over time as a result of management actions.
Audubon also uses a “Bird-friendliness Index” to compare certified ranches to other public and private lands in the region.
What I really love is that the program is based on the concept that consumers can have a direct impact on land management through their food purchasing decisions.
This strikes a cord, because we've always know that YOU are our most important partners in ecological regeneration!
Also, we love that The Audabon Society understands that grazing animals have been an integral ecological part of grasslands for eons, and cattle can effectively mimic the role of bison in enhancing diversity across the landscape. They know that by adopting regenerative grazing approaches, cattle grazing can actually build soil, sequester carbon, reduce water runoff, and create ecosystems that are more resilient to drought.
These practices are expanded to encompass millions of acres when conscious consumers like you choose beef grazed on Audubon-certified ranches, and this will significantly benefit grassland bird populations.
By choosing beef products from Audubon-certified ranches, like Parker Pastures, you can contribute to the expansion of livestock management practices that are better for your health, better for cattle, and better for the environment.
When expanded to millions of acres, this program will support more sustainable ranching livelihoods, resulting in more grassland birds, cleaner streams, healthier soils, more pollinators for plants, and more carbon stored in plants and soil.
I hope you are as proud as we are to be a part of this program!
You are a very important part of this innovative program that helps consumers, ranchers, and the environment.
Audubon’s bird-friendly land certification empowers all of us to support grassland conservation across hundreds of thousands of acres in the U.S. And that is something to celebrate!
How fun to say, "Our Beef is for the Birds!"