A California Family's Quest to Raise Grass-Fed Cattle

By Federica Armstrong


Because this is the kind of pursuit that once defined America.

The Markegard family operates a sustainable cattle ranch on the grassy hills of San Gregorio, California. Erik Markegard, a sixth-generation cattle rancher; his wife, Doniga, who has a background in permaculture and wildlife tracking; and their four children raise Belted Galloways in an effort to produce high-quality, grass-fed beef.  

The Markegard family says its values include hard work, respect for the environment and care for their animals. “I was raised that my father would feed all his livestock before he had breakfast,” says Erik, ”and this is the model I have followed.” To be sure, there are challenges — not least of which is a historic drought.