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Beef au natural

Back in the old days, a steak was a steak but boy, how times have changed.



Back in the old days, a steak was a steak but boy, how times have changed!

Yolo Land and Cattle, operated by the Stone family, is among a growing number of ranches raising grassfed beef. They have joined about 40 other ranchers and are selling meat under the Panorama label.

There's an overwhelming feeling of history, and beauty, on the 7,500-acre ranch in Yolo County, where cattle roundups are anything but boring. They are, however, a little more tame than what you may recall from those late-night Westerns on TV.

"We do things very quietly around here, with not too much whooping and hollering," said rancher Scott Stone. "The cattle respond much better and it's a much easier and better environment to be around. The 'do's' are to have fun and enjoy what you're doing and we try to do that every day."

Their success is easy to appreciate. Supplying beef to a growing number of fans is just one way working the land is paying off for the Stone family. They make and market a line of products from the ranch, including beef jerky, honey and bay leaves. It all comes from a management style meeting approval with their customers, and one they can maintain for generations to come.

Other ranchers who have had success with raising cattle in an environmentally friendly manner include the Rickert family, who maintain several herds in northeastern California for Prather Ranch.

The Rickerts have won numerous awards for their stewardship of the environment, which includes low-stress handling of the cattle, preserving the local wildlife and waterfowl and adopting new technology, including installing solar panels to generate energy.

"Well, it makes it worth getting up in the morning to know that we are helping preserve this particular valley and a lot of other properties in Northern California," Mary Rickert said. "It's important to know that generations to come will enjoy this beautiful landscape, and to know that they will continue to be working landscapes and will be able to raise cattle here."

For more information, visit www.yololandandcattle.com/grass-fed-beef.html and www.pratherranch.com.


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