Greener Pastures Ranching
By Athena Raypold

A Natural Love and Respect for the Land

Amber Kenyon may have been born and raised in an urban setting, but her heart has always been wholly rural. As a child, she craved the solace and nourishment that the mountains, forest and wilderness gave her, forever asking her mother when they were going to go camping, to the beach or to the mountains. As a result, Amber has spent the bulk of her life exploring the outdoors. Fast forward to when she met her husband, Steve, a born and raised farmer from Saskatchewan running a custom grazing business. Amber had not only met her match but also found her calling. “Everything she did for fun,” says Steve, “I did for work.”

Together, the Kenyons run Green Pastures Ranching, an intentionally diverse ranching business that offers custom grazing, grass-fed pork and beef, and education through Greener Pastures Ranching Year Round Grazing Systems School. Additionally, both Amber and Steve speak at various farming conferences and engagements, as well as write for Canadian Cattlemen, Stockman Grass Farmer and The Blade. Greener Pastures Ranching’s mission statement is “Economic and environmental sustainability for generations,” and the Kenyons live by this sentiment. Not only do they stock their own deep freeze with food they’ve raised sustainably themselves, but they also support their neighbouring farms, teach other farmers their ranching methods, and live off the grid.

We’re supposed to be an industry of growing, giving life, sowing seeds and growing things. We try to nurture everything and keep the soil life intact. - Steve Kenyon, co-owner
Greener Pastures Ranching raises and sells sustainable pork and beef
Photo by Athena Raypold
Greener Pastures Ranching also teaches other farmers sustainable farming methods
Photo by Athena Raypold

Sustainability and its Benefits

The Kenyons are passionate about sustainability: the core of their business and life philosophy centres on protecting and nurturing the land and the animals that live on it. Greener Pastures Ranching uses portable electric fencing to create mobile paddocks for cattle and pigs, continually moving them around their 3,300 acres of leased land to ensure that they don’t stay too long in one area, ultimately keeping the land healthy and intact. Their pigs are always outside, soaking up the sun and eating fresh grass, which makes not just for happy pigs, but healthy meat, rich with omega 3s, CLA and Vitamin D. Greener Pastures Ranching also raises a small herd of cattle in a similar manner.

Using a polyculture of grasses, the Kenyons allow nature its natural tendency to flourish, occasionally broadcasting some seed to encourage growth, but never tearing up and reseeding. “If you look at the grass out here,” Amber says, “it’s not all one plant, it’s a whole bunch of different plants.” Greener Pastures Ranching doesn’t use chemicals or pesticides on their land and their animals are largely antibiotic free (if an animal needs antibiotics, they label and sell the meat accordingly). Even the grain they use to supplement their pigs’ diet is a polyculture blend of oats, peas, barley and garlic. The Kenyons use garlic and apple cider vinegar as natural ways to treat for parasites and boost the animals' immune systems.

Greener Pastures Ranching includes 3,300 acres of land to hold their pigs and cows
Photo by Athena Raypold

An Industry of Growing, Giving Life

While the conventional methods of raising farm animals is known for its large carbon production and negative environmental impacts, the Greener Pastures Ranching method of custom grazing lowers their carbon footprint. “By running animals in this way, we’re actually taking care of the land and it’s better off by having animals on it … the soil, the grass, has a larger carbon carrying capacity than it would if there weren’t animals on it,” says Amber. “In this method, we take carbon from the air and bring it into the soil and into the grass.”

Greener Pastures Ranching is about giving and nurturing life and about creating sustainable farming for generations to come. “We protect our water sources, we protect the land … We’re supposed to be an industry of growing, giving life, sowing seeds and growing things. We try to nurture everything and keep the soil life intact,” says Steve.

As Steve affectionately scratches one of his pigs, he says that the methods they teach are old ones, that before the introduction of barbed wire, farmers used cowboys to rotate their animals on pasture. Between their own interactions with the land and teaching others, the Kenyons have built a sustainable and environmentally friendly business that values community and longevity over competition and short term gain.

Greener Pastures Ranching raises their pigs outside
Photo by Athena Raypold
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