September 5, 2023

The American Lamb Board’s Commitment to Sustainability

Rancher herding lamb

Watch our new Stewards of the Land video.

You have lots of options when it comes to choosing meat for a nutritious meal. But have you considered the importance of sustainability while browsing the supermarket aisles? The American lamb industry has a long history of encouraging sustainable farming practices that protect the environment, improve land management and foster the animals’ well-being.

America’s sheep farmers and ranchers are committed to caring for their land, their animals and the local communities they serve. American lamb is raised locally and sustainably, supporting not just farmers and ranchers, but the land lambs graze on and the surrounding communities.

For example, did you know that sheep are natural firefighters?

Across the United States, sheep are being used to remove invasive species, increase biodiversity, support wildfire prevention, and make several industries more sustainable. Simply by allowing sheep to graze in areas with dense vegetation that are prone to wildfires, the potential for destructive fires decreases dramatically.

In addition to fighting fires, sheep are born fertilizers, negating the need for farmers to use chemical alternatives. Sheep use 80% of what they graze to re-fertilize the soil, causing carbon and oxygen to build up in the ground and promoting healthy soil and robust roots. Unlike machinery, sheep require zero diesel fuel to operate; and unlike herbicides, they’re certified toxin-free.

In recent years, many consumers have leaned on farmers and professional organizations to take responsibility for ethical, sustainable, environmentally friendly farming practices. Sustainability matters every step of the way, from the time sheep graze in fields to the time you select lamb as your meat of choice.

The American Lamb Board’s Stewards of the Land video highlights a number of managed grazing practices that sheep farmers use to promote sustainability and work toward a healthier planet and stronger industry:

Solar Grazing: Solar grazing uses large solar panels to provide shade, improve soil and pasture conditions, and generate energy and food. Sheep are allowed to graze more freely, reducing the need to move flocks and trim grasses, while simultaneously cutting down on fossil fuel use.

Fire Prevention: Because sheep often graze in areas prone to fires, they become unwitting natural firefighters. Managed grazing is increasingly being used in areas where the terrain does not allow for mechanical clearing, allowing sheep to graze on steep landscapes or areas with dense vegetation. This opens up space and slows down the potential for fires, boosting the land’s natural resilience.

Regenerative Agriculture: Thanks to sheep, who use 80% of what they graze to re-fertilize the soil, carbon and oxygen build up in the ground, promoting healthy soil and robust roots.

Vineyard Grazing: This holistic, sustainable practice uses sheep to naturally clear weeds, reducing the need for herbicides and tractor passes. Vines are then fertilized with manure, making it a win-win for both the sheep and the land.

The American Lamb Board is at the forefront of making our food system more sustainable. Watch our Stewards of the Land video to learn more about how we’re making the world a better place.

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