1938. Superman first appears in a DC comic. The chocolate chip cookie is invented. And the Graham family start cattle farming on the southwest slopes of NSW.
More than 80 years and five generations later, brothers Lachlan and Bryce Graham run the family business, Argyle Foods Group, producing quality beef through best practice grassfed livestock production.
Come with us and step through the farm gate to meet a local Aussie farming family committed to bringing sustainable, ethical food from their family to yours - and improving the environment along the way.
Lachie and Bryce Graham aren’t just raising cattle. They’re raising the bar in sustainability.
The beef farming brothers are delivering more than a great steak on a plate. They’re bringing a climate solution to the table too.
Yep, it’s true, cattle do naturally produce methane - a greenhouse gas - when they digest the grass and plants they eat.
But - it’s part of a natural, or ‘biogenic’ carbon cycle.
As part of this cycle, carbon dioxide (CO2) that is already present in the atmosphere is converted into methane (CH4) when cows eat and digest grass. After about 12 years or so, the methane is naturally converted back into CO2. The grass then absorbs the carbon through photosynthesis, converting it into carbohydrates to provide energy and nutrition to the animals…and the cycle starts again.
The key difference between this cycle and fossil fuel greenhouse gases, however, is that methane from livestock began with CO2 that was already in the atmosphere. The gases from fossil fuel production on the other hand come from deep in the earth where they have been stored for millions of years.
Lachie and Bryce are using sustainable farming practices to capture more of that carbon from the atmosphere and store it in their soil.
That carbon sequestration, or storage, is part of the Graham’s holistic approach to decarbonising their livestock production.
By increasing soil carbon, they’re creating lasting environmental improvements - naturally.
The grazing methods the Graham family use are key to their sustainable beef production.
The brothers regularly move their livestock to fresh new paddocks.
This is called rotational grazing and it gives paddocks a chance to rest and recover. This in turn improves soil, plant, pasture and animal health.
The Graham’s cattle get quality feed from fresh pasture and become part of the climate solution - by ‘mowing’ the grass and kickstarting the carbon cycle.
When the plants regrow after grazing, they not only convert carbon into carbohydrates in the leafy regrowth, but they also release carbon into the soil through their roots.
By increasing carbon in the soil, the Grahams are removing it from the atmosphere - and improving the resilience, health and quality of their land, pasture and soil.
Carbon storage and responsible grazing are just two ways the Graham brothers are working towards being carbon neutral.
They’re getting close. But carbon neutrality isn’t enough for Lachie and Bryce. Their goal is to be a climate-positive beef production system.
They’ve even got a carbon innovation manager - a dedicated carbon reduction soil scientist - to help them get there.
And they’re helping others on their carbon journey too, by sharing what they’ve already learnt with more Aussie farmers.
It’s all part of their belief that we need to work together to restore and protect the environment we all share.
The Graham family is in it for the long haul. They don’t take any shortcuts when it comes to producing sustainable beef cuts.
They’re not just producing red meat for us today.
They’re farming for future generations too.
As custodians of the pasture their animals graze on, Lachie and Bryce Graham’s respect for the land runs deep.
They know farming and environmental stewardship go hand in hand.
"If you look after the land, the land looks after you."
They should know. Their family has had a sustainable approach at the forefront of their farming for over 40 years.
Lachie and Bryce are continuing that legacy, improving their farming practices to create lasting environmental improvements.
They’re taking steps to reduce their environmental footprint. That’s everything from storing carbon in the soil to removing emissions from the atmosphere, from tree planting to using sustainable land and cattle management practices.
Their regenerative approach improves the resilience of their land and renews the landscape.
They plant trees, native grasses and vegetation to encourage biodiversity. They use perennial pasture for year-round ground cover to protect and heal the soil and reduce erosion.
They manage the number of cattle in any one area to protect grass cover and rotate them between paddocks to give the pasture a rest. This grazing ensures optimum nutrition for the animals and more productive grass and plant growth.
Healthy soil means healthy grass. Healthy grass means healthy cattle. Healthy, happy cattle means a high-quality end product to be enjoyed as part of a healthy, sustainable diet.
Effective land use and food production is important in a country where just three per cent of agricultural land is suitable for growing crops.
Most of Australia is non-arable land that just doesn’t suit cropping. What it does suit, is growing grass.
Grass that we can’t eat - but that is great for livestock. With their four-compartment stomach, they turn grass and other plants that we can’t digest into nutrient-rich red meat that we can.
That makes cattle the ultimate ‘up-cyclers’.
Lachie and Bryce are up-cyclers too - committed to delivering a net benefit to the environment and handing on the land to the next generation of Graham family farmers in an even better state.
You can’t easily sneak up on a cow. They’ll see you coming. They’ve got 330-degree vision.
That’s not just a fun fact. Understanding animals and their behaviour is important to animal welfare.
And the wellbeing of their animals is the number one priority for the Graham family.
Lachie and Bryce genuinely care about their animals. It’s a family business and they’re part of the family.
The brothers know the key to a quality product is happy and healthy animals.
Remember the old saying, treat others the way you’d like to be treated? That applies to cattle too. They respond much better if they’re handled calmly and with care and respect.
That’s why the Grahams make sure they uphold the five domains of animal welfare - nutrition, environment, health, behaviour and mental state. They’re Certified Humane as well as G.A.P or Global Animal Partnership certified.
Their cattle are never hungry. Never without water. They always have shade, so they can seek shelter.
They even talk to them.
Cattle like to be with their mates, so they keep them in their social groups for life.
They are free to interact with each other and display natural, normal behaviours.
The Grahams take the natural behaviour of their cattle into account when thinking about everything from yard design to mustering. Cattle prefer to run uphill and towards the light. They tend to baulk at dark shadows. They can feel intimidated if they’re singled out. Cows with calves are protective. Bulls feeling crowded might fight.
They know every interaction needs to be a positive one and use low-stress handling techniques to keep the animals calm.
Minimising animal stress isn’t just the right thing to do, it also produces higher quality meat.
Stress can cause changes in muscle glycogen, or blood sugar, levels - and that can result in lower-quality meat. (Source)
Keeping animals happy delivers the highest quality from the paddock to your plate.
It’s not just sustainable, it’s ethical meat - from animals that have been raised with their wellbeing as a priority throughout their lives.
A true paddock-to-plate journey means sustainable consumption too. Sustainably produced red meat can be sustainably consumed as part of a healthy diet.
Through their ethical, sustainable production the Graham family are making more than a great steak. They’re making our planet better.