Nearly 700K Acres in Panorama Organic Rancher Network Recognized as Audubon Bird-Friendly Habitat
New York, NY — The National Audubon Society has certified all 21 family ranches in the Panorama Organic Grass-Fed Meats® network – spanning 690,902 acres of grassland habitat – as bird-friendly, resulting in the largest market-based conservation partnership in the country. The collective of ranches initiated large-scale habitat improvements for birds and other wildlife by enrolling in Audubon’s Conservation Ranching initiative. With the certification, beef products from Panorama Organic will carry the Audubon Certified seal, a package designation for consumers that identifies a product’s origin from lands managed for birds and biodiversity.
Panorama Organic beef products featuring the Audubon Certified bird-friendly seal will be available nationwide in July at 90 retail locations in nine states – as well as online at Crowd Cow and Perdue Farms.
“Grasslands, the most threatened ecosystem in the U.S., and grassland birds need our help,” said Kay Cornelius, General Manager of Panorama Organic Grass-Fed Meats. “Partnering with Audubon, our ranchers are doing the hard work of improving and restoring wildlife habitat. The Audubon Certified bird-friendly seal carries this grassland connection right to your local grocer for the easy part – where shoppers can now positively impact conservation with their purchases.”
Each Panorama Organic network ranch now has a working habitat management plan, one designed to employ cattle beyond beef production and into rotational and regenerative grazing practices that create a mosaic of habitat for grassland birds, including flagship species such as the Northern Bobwhite, Western Meadowlark, and Sage Grouse. The habitat efforts are helping Audubon Conservation Ranching on its road to stabilizing declining grassland bird populations across the U.S., which have declined by more than half since 1970, primarily due to habitat loss and habitat degradation.
“Once upon a time, the idea of ranchers and a group like Audubon working together would have been anathema,” said Marshall Johnson, Chief Conservation Officer for Audubon. “But our shared common goal starts from the ground up – abundant and healthy grasslands – and runs as deep as any prairie root.” In addition to sending consumers a grassland conservation message via the food chain, Johnson says the unique Conservation Ranching program is preventing the conversion of grasslands into other agricultural or developed uses – scenarios that result in significant losses of sequestered carbon. “Keeping grass firmly planted in the ground is a vital natural climate solution, for birds and people.”
The mission of Panorama Meats is grounded in its belief that our remaining grasslands and rangelands must be protected and preserved for future generations. Ranching, as part of a comprehensive approach to regenerative agriculture, is in a unique position to protect and restore diverse grassland ecosystems. By keeping working ranches in grassland, Panorama ranchers are avoiding the conversion that has eliminated the majority of our native grasslands, thus preventing the loss of vast amounts of stored carbon. They don’t use chemical fertilizers, herbicides or pesticides – and they employ pasture rotation that leaves more residual vegetation cover, practices that not only benefit birds but have been proven to assist with carbon sequestration and improve the water cycle.
“I made a commitment to raising grass-fed, organic beef that would protect the land and keep the ranch viable for generations to come,” said founding Panorama Organic rancher Darrell Wood. “Grass-fed beef is important for this ecosystem to survive and improve. It is important to the environment because cattle keep the landscapes healthy, sequestering carbon in the soil and removing greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. Every purchase of Panorama product featuring the Audubon Certified designation goes to support this important mission and the livelihoods of those who care for the animals and the land.”
In addition to meeting standards in the areas of habitat management and environmental sustainability, Audubon Conservation Ranching requires animal health and welfare criteria to be met in order for ranches to receive Audubon’s bird-friendly certification.