Organic Dairyman: It All Begins with the Soil (video)

To Jon Bansen, a third-generation organic dairyman, healthy soil translates into healthy dairy cows, and ultimately tastier, and more nutritious milk. As Bansen explains in this short video, by relying upon the manure from his cows, along with some additional inputs, he is able to keep his soil healthy, and by doing so, produce nutritious grass that his jersey cows depend upon much of the year for their food.

Scientists are learning more about the critical role of important nutrients in foods toward possibly delaying (or even preventing) the later onset of certain chronic diseases, including: cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, high blood pressure— all chronic illnesses commonly associated with Western cultures.

Jersey Cow Enjoying the Pasture; Double J Jerseys Farm

Grasses from nutrient rich soils are naturally higher in Omega 3 fatty acids and other antioxidants, and pasture fed animals gain some of this benefit through pasture grazing. An historical look over the past 50 years, reveals the steep rise of Omega 6 fatty acids in the daily diet that are associated with grain fed animals, processed foods, fast foods, and most oils; over the same time frame, a decrease in dietary levels of Omega 3 fatty acids, both necessary nutrients for the body, both must come from outside food sources, but in much more equal levels to each other. Those ratios have substantially changed in recent years, from 1:1 relation to as high as 17:1(Omega 6’s to Omega 3’s).

There is some scientific evidence that suggests the typical Western Diet that is low in Omega 3 fatty acids (a natural anti-inflammatory agent for the body), and with higher levels of Omega 6 fatty acids, may adversely stimulate the immune system to trigger the inflammation process to occur. Chronic inflammation may be one of two key underlying mechanisms that cause (over time) the western disease clusters referred to above.

The Omega 3 fatty acids is one example of the important role that critical nutrients may play in protecting human health in the broader context of proper diet, regular physical exercise, stress reduction, family and social connectedness, genetics, and reducing environmental exposure to toxins, and other synthetic compounds.


  1. says

    That makes so much sense to connect soil health with dairy output.It seems like it should be logical reasoning that the soil that grows the food the cows eat should be of good quality, and yet there are so many things in the food industry that have completely ignored both logic and health. Just filling the cow up with stuffer to prevent them from starving does not mean they are getting the nutrients they need to produce healthy product. I’m glad that at least some people are recognizing that and trying to do right by their livestock.
    How did the food for the livestock change so drastically to containing so many more Omega 6 fatty acids? And why has it not been a more public issue?

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