First Light and the Environment



We have written about the flavor and health of grass-fed Wagyu. We thought you might also be interested in reading about beef and the environment.
The vast majority of beef produced comes from cattle fattened on corn in feedlots, a system that requires extensive use of fossil fuel-based fertilizers as well as pesticides and antibiotics. For this reason, beef is increasingly criticized for its negative environmental impact. 
In contrast, our grass-fed wagyu beef is raised according to a different agricultural philosophy. In fact, the farming practices used by First Light farmers have been used in New Zealand for quite a long time. These practices are referred to today as “regenerative agriculture:farming based on principles that include biodiversity, rotational grazing, water management and no tilling. This results in more organic matter in the soil (taking carbon from the air and putting it back into the soil) and protection of the topsoil (keeping the carbon in the soil).  Both are critical to the health of the planet. 
But don’t just take it from us.  Peer-reviewed, scientific research* released in October 2020 had this to say: “While meat alternatives may have a lower environmental impact when compared to feedlot-finished beef, well-managed pasture-based livestock systems fix at a minimum all the GHG they emit (and sometimes more) even when taking into account all aspects of the production process 1. Pastured beef systems that use land management practices such as rotational grazing—where lands are allowed to properly recover after a grazing period—and/or cover crop grazing suggest that the amounts of carbon sequestered in the soil more than offsets the ruminants' GHGE, resulting in a net negative carbon footprint2. By having livestock participate in carbon cycling by spending their lives on well-managed pastures—grooming and fertilizing vegetation and soil2—such production systems have the potential to help mitigate climate change (or at the very least not exacerbate it further) while ensuring a degree of food security3.”  
So, you can have your steak and eat it, too… raised on regenerative principles, that is.
If you want like to read the entire research, report click here.
* Authored by Stephen van Vliet (Duke Molecular Physiology Institute, Duke University Medical Center), Scott L. Kronberg (Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory, USDA-Agricultural Research Service), Frederick D. Provenza (Department of Wildland Resources, Utah State University.
1 (Allard et al., 2007; Teague et al., 2016; Stanley et al., 2018)
2 (Reeder and Schuman, 2002)
3 (Teague et al., 2016)