A World Without Cows
Brandon Whitworth, Gabe Brown and Michelle Michael on Brown’s Ranch
Producer and videographer Michelle Michael and Brandon Whitworth are
spending a year exploring the answer to that question for an upcoming
documentary titled, “A World Without Cows.” They were at our ranch to learn
that cows do much more than give us steak and hamburgers.
Today, many people believe that cattle are bad for the environment. They emit
methane while overgrazing pastures which leads to desertification. On our ranch,
nothing could be further from the truth. Free-living bacteria called
methanotrophs, consume the methane cows emit while grazing.
The act of cows grazing a plant signal that plant to exude carbon compounds into
the soil. This attracts microorganisms which provide nutrients to the plant. The
plant then pulls more carbon out of the atmosphere, through photosynthesis,
thus helping to mitigate climate change.
This process adds carbon to the soil. Here is a picture of our soils, on the left,
which have animals grazing on them and neighboring soil which does not, on the
It is easy to see which has more carbon, which is going to infiltrate more water
and which is going to produce food that's higher in nutrient density!
As you can see, cows are much more than delicious steaks and hamburgers!