Catch the rise of Renerative Ag in Colorado! From a former city exec that's now a notable steward of his land.
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We’re at Flying B Bar Ranch in the tiny town of Strasburg, which, despite being just a 45-minute drive east on I-70 from Denver, feels as though it could be in Kansas. I’m here to see Buchanan’s “rural experiment,” as he is fond of calling his regenerative cattle ranching and farming operation. At its most basic, regenerative agriculture is an approach that endeavors to increase soil health, retain water, promote biodiversity, and bio-sequester CO<sub style="bottom: -0.25em; box-sizing: inherit; font-size: 75%; line-height: 0; position: relative; vertical-align: baseline;">2</sub> from the environment in the soil (trapping the gas from the atmosphere and storing it in the land and plants).
Although Buchanan looks comfortable in his cowboy hat, boots, and jeans, he spent most of his professional life as a suit-wearing, city-dwelling architect. Over the years, he became fascinated by the disconnect between urban and rural environments. “People go to King Soopers and get a chicken breast or a T-bone, but they don’t know where food comes from. People are starving, literally and figuratively, for a connection to this place,” Buchanan says, sweeping his hand across the blue sky and open fields in front of us. It was that longing for connection that ultimately drove him and his wife, Margaret, to buy a ranch in Strasburg in 2006 and trade their Park Hill home for full-time ranch life 11 years ago.
The couple started raising grass-fed and grass-finished beef (meaning the animals spend their entire lives on pasture, eating forage and hay, as opposed to conventional beef, which typically eat grains at a feedlot) to sell directly to customers. Soon after he started ranching, however—spurred by research into how he could make his land more productive—Buchanan began to go beyond grass-fed, implementing practices associated with the regenerative movement.
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