Less than a year ago, the 450 acres of Texas land that comprise the ranch were all but dead after a century of over-tilling and inadequate recovery time between crop rotations. Rain would fall, but it would simply run off; the dirt was too damaged to absorb even the littlest bits of water. Many of the paddocks were bare, and what few patches of grass did exist were failing to grow and multiply.
Today, this piece of Texas Hill Country is in recovery — all thanks to the bison, which have been reintroduced to the area as part of an agricultural experiment spearheaded by Katie Forrest and Taylor Collins, the millennial founders of meat-bar company EPIC Provisions. The couple purchased the land last spring (through Epic and its parent company General Mills, and they see it as a living, breathing laboratory for not only their brand, but regenerative agriculture projects around the country.
“Land in this condition is often deemed ‘unsalvageable,’” they wrote in a blog post announcing Roam last June, “and in many circumstances further degenerates with rest — but we are going to prove otherwise.”
Forrest and Collins are barely a year into this experiment, but so far, they’re succeeding in that goal. They began bringing bison to Roam, which sits 70 miles from Austin, in December. They estimate it was the first time buffalo had grazed that particular ground in more than 130 years. They’ve also added about 200 chicken, and 15 ducks. And true to their hypothesis, the addition of animals — and particularly, large grazing animals like bison — has done wonders for the land.
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