Here at Hoo's Herd, we feed our animals grass - year-round - whereas the vast majority of the beef and sheep industry relies on grain to feed the animals that produce the meat we see in supermarkets and at the butcher's.

There are well-documented issues with this mainstream way of production - mostly in terms of efficiency and environmental impact, requiring somewhere between 7 and 10 calories of animal feed to make just 1 calorie of food for human consumption; large areas of farmland are required to grow this cattle feed (whilst the animals themselves are kept in barns or yards!), to say nothing of the similarly inefficient use of the water, minerals and fossil fuels involved in such feed production. It's bad enough now, but wait until the world population hits the projected 9bn in 2050 - and switches to eating a Western-style diet!

At the same time, there is an irrefutable body of research that proves animals fed on pasture experience lower stress, increased longevity and increased fertility, and their produce, such as meat and milk, has proven advantages in terms of quality and nutrition - grass-fed beef and lamb is lower in the "bad stuff" and higher in the "good stuff" than their grain-fed equivalents.

Two-thirds of the farmed area in Britain is actually grassland and our climate is ideally suited to grassland production - and much of it can grow little else in the way of food crops. In addition, cattle and sheep have a unique ability to turn cellulose in the form of grass and other grazed plants into food and fibres (eg: wool) and at the same time, their grazing maintains the countryside in a way that would be prohibitively expensive to replicate by hand or by machinery.

Sooner or later, I believe that the laws of supply and demand will lead us to the obvious solution to meeting the challenge of tomorrow’s food production - returning to the "old school" approach of harnessing the ability of ruminant cattle and sheep to to get the best use out of grassland and using good productive arable land to grow crops such as wheat, maize, soya and pulses, not as cattle feed with all of its associated inefficiencies, but for direct human consumption.

But in the meantime, whilst we wait for the world to self-correct, Hoo's Herd is proud to be part of the "old-school" way of raising animals (albeit mainly by luck or happenstance as we're still hobbyists rather than fully commercial farmers!) and we think our meat is distinctive in flavour as a result. Hopefully you will agree!

To learn more, see http://www.pasturefed.org/ which is a newly-formed UK organisation - please support them if you can.