BELGRADE, Montana — Robert Keith doesn’t believe ranch owners and consumers need to make a choice between a healthy beef cattle industry and protecting natural resources, and he says Philosopher’s Beef is proof of that.
“I think we can have our cake and eat it too,” said Keith, managing principal and founder of the Beartooth Group, the parent of the group’s newest company, Philosopher’s Beef.
“You can use cattle as a tool which makes the environment better and raise them in a humane way and provide high-quality meat,” he said.
The local beef business operates a ranch located near Three Forks and has officially begun taking orders for steaks, sausages, burgers and more through its website. Philosopher’s Beef ships its products to customers throughout the state of Montana.
Keith said he and his team made several very intentional decisions to ensure they improve the land on which they raise their cattle. Those included completing creek and wetland restoration work on the property, installing a solar array on the ranch, utilizing regenerative farming approaches and employing a rapid-moving mob grazing technique that mimics how bison once behaved on the land.
“These techniques have been shown to add nutrients and organic matter to the soil, enhancing plant root growth and sequestering carbon,” states an explanation on the company’s website.
Keith added that the process also allows the cattle to act as a “source of fertilizer” for the land.
“They irrigate the land and they fertilize it in one fell swoop,” he said.
Philosopher’s Beef is connecting with local organizations to provide services for the business. For example, Philosopher’s cattle are fed on wet distiller’s grains from Bridger Brewing, and the company’s specialty sausages are created by Daniels Gourmet Meats in Bozeman.
Philosopher’s Beef plans to donate meat to HRDC’s food bank in the future and to offer its products at a discount to staff at local environmental and socially oriented nonprofits.
Keith said there is a demand in the area for high-quality meat products that are raised in a “conscious” manner, and the company hopes to meet it.
“We want to make sure our friends, family and other members of the community who want wonderfully tasty meat raised in as humane a way as possible that has a positive impact on the environment can get it,” he said.