Located in Colorado, Mountain Primal Meat Co is working to innovate ranching and bring a more sustainable product to the local area to help the community economically and educationally.
Mountain Primal Meat Co. was founded three years ago by ranchers wanting to make a change and shift their lifestyle. Inspired by the land and the heritage breeds they work with, these ranchers created a life for their families that channels the nostalgic image of the American rancher; before the face of farming and ranching shifted to mass production years ago. They hold dear the ideas of early mornings, late nights, hard work, and doing what is best for the land and animals. They are bringing these old world traditions and values into the modern age, they are sharing what they learn from the animals and land with the community to bring awareness to the issues that we are facing today in farming.
Because much of their farming experience in the past was indirect, the Mountain Primal ranchers feel that they can approach ranching with a clean slate to innovate and explore the field as it is today. They can grow with the new trends to help improve practices to reflect the needs of the animals, the environment, and the local community. They are creating new practices based on the newest philosophies and standards.
Mountain Primal Meat Co raises American Highland Cattle and Berkshire Pigs, both heritage breeds. They raise them to meet a Step 4 Rating within the Global Animal Partnership 5-Step Animal Welfare Programs for cattle and pigs. They chose these breeds specifically for their ranch. The cattle they chose because of one heifer they raised in a herd of many breeds. They said they were intrigued by her personality and so they researched her breed. They wanted a breed that was unique and of heritage stock so it was a perfect fit.
Nate, the rancher at Mountain Primal Meat Co that cares for the hogs, says that the Berkshire breed was chosen because they are well-suited for the environment and friendly which makes them easy to raise. Being another heritage breed, the Berkshires were an easy choice and a perfect addition to the ranch.
Carefully selecting breeds is just one of the things that helps these ranchers do great work with their animals. Their passion for their work and they commitment they show to their animals is easy to recognize. John, Nate and Rob all shared that their favorite part of ranching is spending time with their animals, seeing them happy, understanding what they need just by watching them and enjoying the land with them.
It is their passion for their craft that inspired them to keep building, sharing, and learning. They are new faces in a generations old farming community but they have begun to win respect and recognition for their work they do with their animals. “We are not alone in the good feeling in taking care of the land and animals but what makes us stand out is our willingness to take the things we learned and turn it into a public setting. We share a lot of what we learn… educating people about what work goes into ranching. We share that nuance with each and every person that comes out to visit us. A lot of customers come out and visit our ranch. We block an hour out to take them around and share our philosophies and what we are still learning,” John said. He also went on to explain that working with GAP has really helped to clarify and help gain further support for their ranching practices. “It seems like a natural partnership – It’s almost as if your standards speak to what we have in our hearts in dealing with the animals and the ranch. It allows us to send people to your website to see what you guys are up to and educate themselves. Then when they come visit we can refer back to what they saw with your program… people in this area are pleased to see we take those extra step and have a set standards that we hold ourselves to.”
These young ranchers are just beginning and they have accomplished so much already. But they aren’t slowing down. They have multiple honors to be a featured vendor at some of the top food and wine events and be a part of the healthy food movement in schools for the Aspen area. They also are working on getting a mobile harvest trailer approved by the USDA as an approved and certified facility. They already designed and built the unit and are actively working to see it through. There are many great things on the horizon for these ranchers and we hope everyone is as excited as we are to see what they accomplish.