“Supercharge” Your Diet: Regenerative Farming Secrets, *Power-Packed* Organ Meats, The Ecological Impact of Your Food Choices, & More With Robby Sansom and Taylor Collins

Affiliate Disclosure

regenerative agriculture with Robby Sansom and Taylor Collins

Listen on:

Reading Time: 8 minutes

What I Discuss with Robby Sansom and Taylor Collins:

  • How Robby Sansom and Taylor Collins became pioneers in regenerative agriculture and founders involved in creating sustainable, high-quality meats…04:48
  • Robby's and Taylor's favorite meats, emphasizing their preference for ancestral blends of ground meat that include organ meats for enhanced nutrition and taste…05:57
  • Regenerative agriculture as a farming practice aimed at enhancing ecosystem health through biodiversity and soil fertility improvements…15:21
  • Strategies for scaling regenerative agriculture, focusing on replicating sustainable farming models that adapt to local environments worldwide…18:38
  • How Robby and Taylor became interested in Roam Ranch as part of their commitment to sustainable meat production and environmental stewardship…22:48
  • The beginnings of Roam Ranch, which was established to demonstrate the effectiveness and viability of regenerative ranching practices…28:05
  • Decision to prioritize bison over cattle at Roam Ranch, highlighting bison's ecological significance and role in promoting soil health and plant diversity…41:05
  • Concerns about methane emissions from bison, emphasizing how regenerative practices at Roam Ranch aim to balance these emissions through enhanced soil carbon storage…50:24 
  • The innovative water management practices at Roam Ranch, particularly how they enhance the soil's ability to retain water and restore natural water cycles…57:05
  • The sourcing of elk from New Zealand, where animals are raised in sustainable, open-range environments that align with the company’s ethical standards…1:01:14
  • The range of meats offered by Force of Nature, including elk, venison, and wild boar, all sourced from environments that support regenerative practices…1:04:00
  • How consumers can access Force of Nature products directly from their website, supporting sustainable agriculture and enjoying high-quality meats…1:11:26

In today's episode, you'll embark on an inspiring journey from the world of vegan energy bars to the pioneering realms of regenerative agriculture with Robby Sansom and Taylor Collins, the visionary co-founders of Force of Nature (use code GREENFIELD15 to save 15%) and Roam Ranch in Texas.

Throughout this show, you'll get to explore topics like why bison offer superior nutritional benefits and a richer flavor profile compared to domesticated cattle, the invaluable ecological impact these magnificent creatures have on landscapes, and how modern ranchers are using biomimicry to replicate their natural migration patterns for healthier ecosystems.

Our discussion also takes a deep dive into the principles of regenerative agriculture, highlighting practices like rainwater catchment, soil restoration, and the shift from industrial to planet-based farming. You'll also hear about Robby's and Taylor's transition from their successful vegan bar company, Epic, to creating a regeneratively raised meat company, Force of Nature, that champions ethical and sustainable practices. Additionally, we’ll touch on fascinating topics such as the nutritional and culinary benefits of incorporating organ meats, the unique taste of freshly harvested liver, the broader implications of your food choices on the environment, and much more!

Force of Nature was co-founded to accelerate the creation of a global regenerative supply network. Force of Nature works in partnership with land stewards, ranchers, and farmers committed to creating a positive return on the planet. With Force of Nature, consumers now can invest in environmental regeneration by consuming meat that is good for the planet.

This episode offers a wealth of knowledge on nutrition and sustainable agriculture and provides a compelling narrative on the steps you can take to forge a healthier, more connected world.

Please Scroll Down for the Sponsors, Resources, and Transcript

Episode Sponsors:

LVLUP Health: I trust and recommend LVLUP Health for your peptide needs, as they third-party test every single batch of their peptides to ensure you’re getting exactly what you pay for and the results you’re after! Head over to lvluphealth.com/BGL for a special discount on their game-changing range of products.

Jigsaw Health: Support a balanced response to stress and steady energy production by trying Jigsaw’s Adrenal Cocktail + Wholefood Vitamin C. Visit JigsawAC.com and use Greenfield10 to get 10% off on your order. 

Wild Health: Wild Health provides personalized healthcare online, driven by your DNA, bloodwork, and lifestyle. Learn everything from your optimal diet, exercise, and sleep routines to understanding the risk of chronic illnesses and how to prevent them with their concierge program available with high-touch, premium care for athletes and executives. Get 20% off with code BEN at wildhealth.com/ben 

Lagoon: Sleep is one of the most essential biohacking tools you have. Lagoon has helped me improve my sleep immensely by pairing me with the performance pillow that has everything I need. Go to LagoonSleep.com/BEN and use the code BEN for 15% off your first purchase.

Vitaboom: Whether you seek an energy boost, immune support, enhanced focus, or overall well-being, Vitaboom has the perfect blend of supplements to cater to your unique health goals. Visit vitaboom.com/ben and use code BEN50 for 50% off your first month.

Resources from this episode:

Ben Greenfield [00:00:00]: My name is Ben Greenfield, and on this episode of the Ben Greenfield Life Podcast.

Taylor Collins [00:00:04]: When we talk about regenerative agriculture using animals for positive impact, we look at how Bison co evolved with our landscapes, how predator species pushed those animals throughout North America, how they had high density for protection, so really strong, uniform grazing manure was deposited in high concentration. But that herd never stayed. It moved every day, and then sometimes it would come back after a year, two years, three years, kind of depending on weather patterns. And so, as modern ranchers, we've lost our apex predators. You know, fences are all over the place, so the animals can't migrate up north naturally. We mimic that through biomimicry. We move these animals. And so Bison, for us, have just been where we started.

Taylor Collins [00:00:47]: It's a really unique animal. No one else is doing it out here. And it just speaks to us and.

Ben Greenfield [00:00:51]: Through us, fitness, nutrition, biohacking, longevity, life optimization, spirituality, and a whole lot more. Welcome to the Ben Greenfield Life show. Are you ready to hack your life? Let's do this.

Ben Greenfield [00:01:16]: Well, if you're into meat and farming and the whole idea of regenerative egg agriculture, this podcast is going to be pretty interesting for you. I mean, as long as you drop the phrase Bison ribeye. It's interesting to me, and I have been eating a lot of my guests Bison rib eyes of late. Robby Sansom and Taylor Collins are my guests, and they had a Force of Nature meats. I've got some in my freezer. I've been punishing some of the stuff they've been sending my way, and I give it a couple of thumbs up. I want to talk to you guys a little bit more about how you create such tasty stuff. But anyways, Robby is the co-founder and CEO of Force of Nature.

Ben Greenfield [00:02:02]: And then Taylor is, of course, also the co-founder, but also the co-creator of something called Rome Ranch. And so we're going to dig into what these guys are up to down in Texas, why they're making the meat that they're making, and what goes into starting a ranch and doing regenerative agriculture. So, guys, welcome to the show, bro.

Taylor Collins [00:02:23]: Happy to be here.

Ben Greenfield [00:02:25]: Yeah. And of course, no discussion about food and meat would be complete without actually asking you guys what your, what your favorite, favorite cut of meat that you have there is and how you cook it up, because I'm a glutton for meat recipes.

Taylor Collins [00:02:40]: Oh, man, I'll jump in there, dude. This is if I want to get like, don't judge me here, but I get pretty basic on me, right? Like, yeah, I'll slam some rib eyes, and I'll throw down some tenderloins in the New York strips. That's good stuff. But at the end of the day, ground meat, ancestral blends. So put some organs in there. That's how I roll. That's what thrives my family. That's what fuels my family, grows my children.

Taylor Collins [00:03:05]: And honestly, I just feel like I reach my highest peak potential when I'm. When I'm fueling like that.

Ben Greenfield [00:03:11]: Oh, we got to dig into details here real quick. You said ground meat, but you make it ancestral. How are you actually adding the organ meats into it?

Taylor Collins [00:03:18]: Yeah, dude. So we blend in heart and then liver, and we do it in the right proportional ratio of, say, you harvest a full Bison. So, like, it's going to be about 3% of that animal, the hanging carcass. The meat is going to be about 3% heart, 3% liver. And then we blend that in with the. With the other trim and the other grind that you would commonly be accustomed to. But it's really like a modern take for us to. As like a trojan horse.

Taylor Collins [00:03:48]: So we're convincing people to try organ meats who are otherwise a little apprehensive, a little afraid. We're holding their hand, and we're saying, we're going to make this super easy for you, baby. Just cook it like you do your favorite ground meat recipe. And, you know, like, I love the taste, but my body more so loves, like, those phytonutrients and. And all the good minerals from the. From the organs.

Ben Greenfield [00:04:09]: Yeah. My trick is butter, bacon, and onions with the liver, and soak it in kefir for a day before, and that makes it taste pretty good. But I have tried blending up. You know, I have heart, kidney, liver, and then beef, and I blend them up to more before I make burgers. But I've never thought about those precise ratios based on the actual weight that the organ would take up in the animal. How important is that? Like, is there actual research that shows that if you get the ratio is right, your mineral fatty acid vitamin ratio from the meat is better?

Robby Sansom [00:04:39]: I think there's, like, on the nutritional side, it's kind of interesting. If you look at a standard four ounce serving and you say a little under 10% of that is organs, it kind of ties right in with that Ty Beal study that he did on the critical nutrients of need and those micronutrients that are typically deficient in most populations, and particularly women, that's actually dials in right in, like, a serving of meat with little under 10% organs in it hits that, like, that threshold to give a third of the daily value of those key nutrients. So there is, like, you could say some science there to it. There's also reality, like, from supply chains, there's not a limitless amount of these organs, particularly the most now the most sought after ones. I remember when we were launching organ bars and organ jerkies a decade ago with EPIC. They would give these things away. And now, in many cases, it's more expensive than the actual meat itself, which is cool. It's great for farmers and ranchers, but you actually run up against the limit of, you get ten or 20 pounds of heart and liver for every three or 400 pounds of meat.

Robby Sansom [00:05:46]: You can't just have a limitless supply. Then lastly, going back to celebrating the whole animal, that ratio, it just seems to be like, there's a natural ratio there of like, hey, this is what you get if you're going to honor an animal nose to tail. And this is what we should incorporate in. So it's a few factors there.

Ben Greenfield [00:06:06]: Yeah, yeah. And that's Robby's voice, by the way, for those of you wondering. I got Robby and Taylor, and the show notes are going to [email protected]. fonpodcast like Force of Nature podcast, liver has actually been on my mind lately, guys, because I have a disproportionate amount of it in the freezer. I'm the person who throws about two or 3oz of it in my morning smoothie, and I make myself liver about once a week. But my family is not as into liver as I am, so I laid down the gauntlet. Actually, just yesterday morning, I ordered us a liver cookbook, and I told the family that our task for the next month was to eat liver regularly and go head-to-head with the best of the best liver recipe. So I think my son is actually already studying up on how to make the best liver pate.

Ben Greenfield [00:06:57]: So that's the trick is just turn into a competition.

Taylor Collins [00:07:01]: Let me let you in on a little liver secret. Maybe you already know about this secret, but we're about to let the cat out of the bag here for every all the listeners.

Ben Greenfield [00:07:07]: I'm ready.

Taylor Collins [00:07:08]: So if you eat a hot liver off of a Bison or beef cow, so I'm saying minutes within the harvest and you bite into that sucker, it's about to transform your life. It tastes like a pink lady or a gala apple. I'm talking straight fruit, fresh fruit. You get the taste of a pink lady. Apple, you get the snap texture of fresh fruit. It is unlike any meat you will ever taste. You literally blindfold test, you might actually be convinced you're eating fruit. It's not.

Ben Greenfield [00:07:39]: Well, when you. When you say hot, you're not eating it raw. You're taking it out, getting it fresh, and cooking it. Right?

Taylor Collins [00:07:44]: Yeah, well, no, we're eating it raw. Yeah, raw. Off the animal. Never been chilled. And we noticed that same liver when we put it in the refrigerator an hour later, it transforms. It turns into the liver that we're all familiar with, that our families are challenged to eat. But coming right off an animal, it's unbelievable.

Ben Greenfield [00:08:02]: Wow. You put, like, salt or honey or anything like that on it.

Taylor Collins [00:08:05]: We'll put some nice salt. Yeah, we'll put some nice salt on that thing. Some good sea salt, and then that's it. You know, like, if you really wanted to get down with some indigenous comanche indian wisdom, they might squirt some bile on it.

Robby Sansom [00:08:19]: Don't do it. Don't do it.

Taylor Collins [00:08:22]: We're not convinced. You know, that's the lore. That's like, that was what the Comanches, which were the most badass Indian tribes to ever roam North America, rolled back. Western expansion could shoot, like, seven arrows in flight before one arrow landed. I mean, these guys were unreal. And so we're not convinced that that wasn't, like, a trick to play on the white man. After we've done it a couple times.

Ben Greenfield [00:08:42]: I mean, I'm gonna buy. I'm gonna buy biosquirt.com and start a digestive enzyme company. It's based on bio liquid.

Taylor Collins [00:08:50]: Let's get down.

Robby Sansom [00:08:52]: Bold move. Love to have you out to try. Like Taylor said, hot off the animal is. It's an entirely different experience than you, than you'd expect. And to your point on recipes, we have some heart tartare and liver tartar recipes that are. That are pretty EPIC, no doubt. But, yeah, no, I mean, you're not alone trying to figure out how to incorporate liver into your diet and for your family. And that was.

Robby Sansom [00:09:12]: That was the whole target with that ancestral blend was like, how do we make it easy and convenient and palatable for most folks? But, yeah, you could be pretty hardcore and get it right off the animal. And it's a whole different level of experience.

Ben Greenfield [00:09:26]: Yeah, that's like one of your guys has done for you. Blends at Force of Nature, in case people don't want to fuss around with the ratios themselves. But how about you, Robby? What's your go to recipe?

Robby Sansom [00:09:34]: Favorite cut yeah, I mean, like, go to is ancestral, like Taylor said, just because, like, we got a family and kids and we're busy and all the kind of stuff, and it's just, it gives you what you need and it's convenient and handy. But if I'm going to try to impress somebody, I'm probably going Osso Buco. You know, it's like, it's just like this less heralded cut off the shank. You get that like. But you get that like, tasty marrow, golden treat in the middle. It's like a prize at the end with that little, with that buttery, flavorful marrow. It's like one of those long braids. So it takes time and energy, but when you put that much love into a meal, it's just like, it's so incredibly good and rich and nutritious and so I love the osso approach when you have the time and you're trying to show off a little bit.

Ben Greenfield [00:10:20]: And for people who haven't done a long braise before using like a crock pot or a dutch oven, for that dutch oven, how do you do it?

Robby Sansom [00:10:27]: Lots of carrots and celery and onions and veggies and a proprietary. No, it's on. There's a good recipe, I think we rolled it out on the website, some seasonings and it's a long, slow cook. And then just let it really savor in all of those juices and get so tender that it's fork tender falls off the bone. But you're getting. It's a shank, so it's a forearm. You're getting a bunch of that connective tissue and collagen. So you're just getting so much of what the animal has to offer until like one of these stick to your side, soul filling, sort of yummy, seasonal, complete meals.

Robby Sansom [00:11:05]: Again, I don't do it very often because it's a four hour plus process, but it's quite worth it when you get to the reward at the end.

Ben Greenfield [00:11:14]: Yeah, that's one of my favorite things to do in the fall or winter if I throw a dinner party as I do the old school. Julia, is it? Yeah. Julie Childs, the french Beef Bourguignon, where you brown the beef and you throw some bacon grease in the bottom of the pan, then you add your carrots and your onions and your bay leaves and everything, and then put it all in there and add a little bit of wine, some vinegar, a few of the goodies, and just let it stew for about six to 8 hours. It's incredible, especially when it thickens up a little flour in there unless you're full on carnivore to get even thicker. And, man, it's tasty.

Robby Sansom [00:11:46]: Yep. That's the one.

Ben Greenfield [00:11:48]: Yep. Yeah. Okay. So, guys, regenerative agriculture is something I've talked about a little bit before. It's kind of a topic near and dear to my heart because I'm trying to build a little permaculture regenerative operation in Idaho right now. But if you guys were like, sitting next to somebody on an airplane and trying to explain to them what regenerative egg is, how would you describe it?

Robby Sansom [00:12:10]: Yeah, I mean, it's one of these things. We could have like a whole conversation just on, you know. But I think I'm going to take a different twist on it because we're going to talk so much about what it can do and what it does. And really, I think it's farming and ranching in nature's image. So you're taking the natural cycles, the natural processes within any functioning ecosystem, and you're celebrating them in the way that you practice agriculture, the way that you create food on land. And I think what most people don't realize is that commonly industrial agriculture really breaks those cycles. You spray all herbicides, fungicides, pesticides to kill life. You till the ground to till life.

Robby Sansom [00:12:50]: You disrupt the water cycle, the energy cycle, the carbon cycle, and on and on. So it's a major juxtaposition to what is most commonly practiced. And you can get into all along conversation. But I think the other thing that regenerative agriculture is, again, if I was sitting on a plane next to somebody that didn't want to hear about science or ethic or biology is, I will tell them it's what they expect from their food system. I think regenerative agriculture is the manifestation of what consumers desire from their food. They think of a farmer managing the land with several species and plants, and they think of a really healthy landscape and a really healthy community that that food is coming from. And the truth is, that's not where our food comes from today. Our food comes from monocultures of hundreds of millions of acres of corn or soy or wheat, or a monoculture of cattle in a confined feedlot being fed unnatural diets and unbelievable amounts of antibiotics or other things to sustain life and to promote growth in an environment that might be incompatible with normal biology.

Robby Sansom [00:13:56]: And it's really taking a toll on the welfare of those animals and taking a toll on the welfare of the people in those. In those operations and in those communities. And it is not this beautiful worthy of celebration process that the consumer thinks and expects when they get a package from so and so farms or with a pretty picture on the front or a claim of natural or some other thing. You know, it's sort of like McDonald's rebranding from bright red and yellow to earth tone green and beige. You know, it's lipstick on a pig. And so I think regenerative is really what consumers are looking for when they go and they pay a premium for something that says natural or organic. And they have this expectation that they're part of a solution, they're contributing to a solutions based system. They're generally not.

Robby Sansom [00:14:41]: And regenerative is that answer. It is that next step and that next milestone in delivering on what consumers desire and expect.

Ben Greenfield [00:14:48]: So if I see natural and organic on a meat package at the grocery store, that doesn't mean it's regenerative.

Robby Sansom [00:14:53]: Absolutely not. Natural means nothing at all. It is just propaganda to try to confuse and manipulate consumer behavior.

Ben Greenfield [00:15:06]: So I mean, like this kind of like idyllic idea of a farmer out working the land and raising animals and developing a somewhat sustainable environment in which food is grown. I think a lot of people hear that and think it sounds kind of cool, but not scalable. Like, how are you going to feed the whole country with an operation like that? Do you guys ever get that pushback?

Taylor Collins [00:15:28]: Yeah, certainly. You know, one of the things I like to just clarify is we need to be careful about trying to scale regenerative because if we scale any food production system, we're going right back into an industrial mindset. So, like in the blink of an eye, you know, that happened to organic. It was scaled and it's been industrialized and now industrial. Organic is garbage. It's trash for land, it's trash for animals. The plants are suffering. I mean, the whole system's broken.

Taylor Collins [00:15:58]: And so when we talk about expanding the potential of regenerative agriculture become mainstream, we're really talking about producing replicable models, so contextual-based ranches all over the planet. And when we get to the point to where people are feeding their communities, we're going to be in a really good spot because we'll have more sovereignty, more freedom, and more independence as collective communities. Our humans have evolved for millennial or millennia.

Ben Greenfield [00:16:29]: Well, it sounds to me like as a part of this, there's obviously kind of like an educational, you know, experience that a lot of people are going to have to go through. How did you guys learn this?

Robby Sansom [00:16:40]: Well, I think on that scaling piece too, though, I think one thing is important to know. We have a very western perspective on what should be done and what can be done on so many of these questions. And I think it's important to point out that, you know, over 80% of the world's food is coming from farms that are less than two acres. So it is being, from a scalability perspective, it is being done. But like Taylor said, we got to be really careful about the trade offs we make as we approach it here in the states. And the other thing I would add is that, like the status quo, the current system is failing across a wide array of key areas and it is not sustainable. We are losing too much topsoil to be able to sustain the current industrial model. The food is actually poisoning us and that's not sustainable.

Robby Sansom [00:17:26]: And we're losing the nutritional density in the food and we're killing off all the animals and we're losing pollinators. There are so many things that are happening. I want to be really careful. To your point, we do get faced with that question a lot, like, is it scalable? You have to point out that, like, hey, the current system is not scalable. So amongst alternatives, what is the best path? And I think undoubtedly following the blueprints and the wisdom that nature gave us that says, hey, this is what it takes to invest in these systems so that you can appreciate and receive their bounty in return, is the most logical, inefficient path. But to your question about, like, learning all of this and where did the background came from, I'll let Taylor probably take a little bit more of that story and that history, but it really goes back to our own soul searching and journey of trying to figure out where does health, what is healthy food and where does healthy food come from? And the recognition that whether it's plants or animals, healthy food is coming from healthy ecosystems, and healthy ecosystems are coming from healthy soil. And that's a very circular reality where each of these things is playing Keystone services and giving and investing in this bountiful, rich, balanced ecosystem reality.

Ben Greenfield [00:18:46]: Now, Robby, did you grow up on a farm or something like that, or did you have to learn all this yourself?

Robby Sansom [00:18:51]: Neither of us grew up on farms. I've had family with land and got to spend time out in the outdoors and gain an appreciation for nature. No, this has been. This has been a decade plus long journey of traveling and going to farms and reading books and listening and learning and spending time on land. And in Taylor's case, lots of practice and blood, sweat and tears at Rome ranch certainly.

Ben Greenfield [00:19:15]: Yeah. Yeah, I want to hear about Rome ranch. But, Robby, what got you interested in this?

Robby Sansom [00:19:20]: I think, like Taylor, you know, like, we could get into the origin story of EPIC and how that kind of transitioned into Force of Nature. But I think, you know, so many people in life and in general, are trying to figure out how to find a path that they can thrive and succeed and promote life. And, you know, for me, I've always been in business and loved it, but my passions have always been in the mountains or on the beaches and in the water and in these wild places, interacting with land and animals. And it's very, you know, I suspect it's a very primal sense and desire to connect with nature and to be, you know, what a true human animal is and to exist in the most, like you said, primal and evolutionary consistent way. And, you know, as we began working in the food system and realizing that, like, we're not part of this separate human reality, totally separate from nature, we're part of it, and our food system should be part of it, and recognizing that, like, work and profession overlaps with, you know, our fundamental biological reality, and getting to just explore how we could celebrate both in business and in life has been a really foundational part of that journey. And I think, like I said a second ago, being in the food industry and getting to dig deeper into. Deeper into where does food come from? And, oh, my gosh, there's these major challenges that our current food system promotes and has created at a global scale. And this is a massive scale.

Robby Sansom [00:20:51]: Billions of acres, 10%, 30% of all global lands tied to food production in some way, shape, or form. And the devastating consequences are so concerning and in many ways, terrifying. And yet the opposite side of that coin is that at that scale, at that size, subtle changes for the positive, for the better, are so profoundly impactful and healing and regenerative and good. It's easy to get inspired and become passionate and just want to dig in deeper and deeper and invest your time and energy into being a part of the solution.

Ben Greenfield [00:21:25]: Yeah, you mentioned EPIC. I didn't even talk about that when I introduced you, Robby. But that's like the beef jerky, addictively good, crunchy pork rind company, right?

Taylor Collins [00:21:36]: It started more than that, but yes. Yes, sir. That is one of the expansions of our whole animal initiative that we created when we started EPIC. But, yeah, we started. It was. It was really the way we thought about us. Like a whole food protein bar that was consistent with our evolutionary biology. So, like, if you need a protein bar, if you're on the go.

Taylor Collins [00:21:56]: You don't want to, like, cook bacon or ribeye and put it in a ziploc bag and in your pocket. Then we got your back. And so we made, you know, these protein bars out of Bison meat. Beef, turkey, chicken.

Ben Greenfield [00:22:06]: They're like the ones you can see at Whole Foods or whatever, where you got the one with the picture of the Bison on it and with the picture of the chicken and the cow. Like, they're energy bars, if you want to call them that. But they're actual. I just call them jerkies. Does that annoy you guys?

Taylor Collins [00:22:20]: No. Yeah, I mean, EPIC was creating impact. It was regenerating land, 1 bar at a time, which would have been like one and a half ounces of meat at a time. And Force of Nature is just the expansion. It's us doubling down on this idea, but instead of doing it ounces at a time, it's creating supply chains, managing land, creating impact, empowering consumers by pounds at a time.

Ben Greenfield [00:22:44]: And you guys started, you guys started EPIC together to you.

Taylor Collins [00:22:48]: My wife and I started EPIC. We saw you been probably at like the first paleo FX.

Ben Greenfield [00:22:55]: And I remember it was like a little party when you guys were launching.

Taylor Collins [00:22:59]: Yeah, yeah. It was pretty hot back then. And then Robby is a childhood friend that came on board very early on, and the three of us ran that business through and through and through.

Robby Sansom [00:23:12]: When it went from a vegan energy bar company to a meat bar company is when I joined.

Ben Greenfield [00:23:17]: Was it actually originally a vegan energy bar company?

Taylor Collins [00:23:20]: It was, yeah, we had a vegan energy bar company, and then we actually raised money for that company. We were going to save the world. And then we stopped hard stop on our vegan diet, our own vegan journey, and we were like, how can we be selling a product that we won't even consume? We won't even get near. Don't even want to be in the kitchen when it's being made. And took all that knowledge of manufacturing and consumer packaged goods and started EPIC. And so we had some really awesome angel investors who said, I'll write you guys a check. Yeah, this vegan thing's cool, but I want you guys to go hard with this meat bar. And so, funny enough, it was the same company for a long time, and then we split off and we sold Thunderbird, which was that vegan company.

Taylor Collins [00:24:10]: And now, yeah, it just grew EPIC.

Ben Greenfield [00:24:12]: Okay, so that was your brand, too, the Thunderbird bars?

Taylor Collins [00:24:14]: Yeah, that was, that's like our journey, man. It's funny how that's happened, is Thunderbird.

Ben Greenfield [00:24:19]: Still a thing Thunderbird is still a.

Taylor Collins [00:24:21]: Thing it's going strong I saw some little kids out at the ranch the other day eating thunderbirds in the wild. I was like, let me tell you something, little child. My wife and I used to. Used to make those with our own hands.

Ben Greenfield [00:24:33]: Traded for some hot liver. So tell me about the ranch, guys.

Taylor Collins [00:24:37]: Yeah. Rome Ranch. When we sold EPIC in 2016 ish, we doubled down. Like, at that point in time, truthfully, like, myself, my wife, Robby, it was a blank slate.

Ben Greenfield [00:24:51]: And by the way, just hit it up real quick. You guys made pretty good money off EPIC.

Taylor Collins [00:24:55]: So the rumors go, I don't know. The way that we think about money. We think about money is, like, energy. And so we received an infusion of energy. I never imagined I would ever have.

Ben Greenfield [00:25:08]: Enough to start a ranch.

Taylor Collins [00:25:09]: Yeah. And with that, it's like, well, what do we do now? Do we put that in the stock market? Do we buy a bunch of gold? Like, what do the smart investor people do? And we're like, we're gonna buy land because we believe, like, land is the essence, the truest value that we'll never depreciate, that will always provide that sovereignty and freedom that we seek in our life, allow us to co create with nature, grow our own food, raise our family out there. And really, that realization came from our time when, you know, myself, my wife, and Robby, we were visiting each and every one of our suppliers at Epic, spending tons of time on these ranch lands all over the United States, earthing on these properties, just breathing in the microbiome, receiving full spectrum sunlight, and just really appreciating the different energetic state that these regeneratively managed ranches were. And just recognizing that these guys figured it out, like, this is the highest calling. If we could ever double down, put our money where our mouth is, be a part of the solution, we're going to do that. That was right after we sold EPIC. We bought this ranch, which is a 900 acre, multi species ranch about an hour from Austin in Austin, Texas, is where the three of us, Robby, myself, and Katie, were born.

Ben Greenfield [00:26:25]: So are you guys actually, like, working sleeves rolled up on the ranch on your day to day, or are you more in the business back end side of things?

Taylor Collins [00:26:32]: No, man. I mean, Robby. Robby. We entrust Robby. He's running the show at Force of Nature right now, and so he's. For sure, like, he does, he gets to come out to the ranch every now and then, but my wife and I live out here, and we're. Every day, yeah, literally stepping in shit, working with animals, building electric fences, fixing water lines. I mean, that's just our reality.

Taylor Collins [00:26:55]: And then participating in Force of Nature at a high level. But it's a really great balance that we have right now.

Robby Sansom [00:27:02]: I have some animals in the Bison herd there, so I get to come out and work the animals every once in a while, and we'll host events, or, like we mentioned to you earlier, one of those Bison Harvests. It's like a treat for me to get to come out or bring our team out, and it's sort of like a refueling to get to connect to the land and be there. But like Taylor said, we will definitely loop them in on calls and stuff, and they'll be in the field building a fence on a conference call, or Taylor will be tilling in some cover crops, or. You never know. I mean, it's a ranch, right? So it's always something crazy and chaotic.

Ben Greenfield [00:27:40]: But I'm laughing because I was watching my son Taren this morning. He was doing all the chickens and the goats and the feeding and the alfalfa and the watering and gathering the eggs. And he was on his first call for school, you know, while he's doing all that. So my son's kind of live a similar lifestyle to that.

Robby Sansom [00:27:56]: Yeah, totally. No, I mean, they're. It's cool for me to watch because they're like, not only is there not a ranch manager, like, they do it all, and they're, like, doubling down and becoming master naturalists in the state of Texas, and they're hosting the southern region of the National Bison association conference. So even within a peer group of ranchers, they're really setting themselves apart, and it's incredible to get to watch.

Ben Greenfield [00:28:20]: What's a master naturalist?

Taylor Collins [00:28:22]: So each state has these programs, and they're really based on the regionality, the complexity, the biodiversity of different regions within your state. And it's a group, it's an educational group where you can get trained to be an expert in your own eco region. And so this is really like a. Like an ecological centered focus perspective of the world. So you learn about native flora, fauna, you learn about native water systems. The point is, when you graduate from this very extensive program, say, a landowner who just purchased a ranch can approach you and say, where do I begin? What do I do? Where do I start? Or if a consumer says, hey, I really want, like, this endangered bird to be a part of my backyard garden, how do I track that bird? So it's a comprehensive, holistic understanding of your ecological context.

Ben Greenfield [00:29:17]: How long is the curriculum to do something like that?

Taylor Collins [00:29:19]: It's about six months. Yeah, six months. Weekly classes, and then you have weekly field trips, too. So you get to go out to all these amazing archaeological sites and natural resource sites and learn from experts that have been doing this their whole life.

Ben Greenfield [00:29:34]: Sounds super cool. Is there, like, a website for it?

Taylor Collins [00:29:37]: Yeah, you just look up, like, the state that you're in. So for us, it's Texas master naturalist. And then you go to your eco region and you apply just like you would apply. And then when you graduate, there's a commitment to volunteer hours, which is very service oriented. Giving back to the community, helping to create positive change through education.

Ben Greenfield [00:29:57]: Sounds like the type of thing it'd be fun to do with my sons. That sounds super cool. I'll have to look up the idaho version of that. Now, you mentioned Robby, you mentioned a Bison Harvest. What's a Bison Harvest look like?

Robby Sansom [00:30:06]: Yeah, it's something that is really cool that we do out at Rome ranch. Taylor leads it, and he puts it so beautifully. But my perspective of it is it's really introducing a group of folks to the most natural, primal reality in our food system. It's connecting them with the land. It's connecting them with the food they're going to eat. In this case, a bison, allowing them to form the deepest, most true and real connection and bond and be in relationship with an animal and a herd of animals and learn the story behind the food by joining in. Community coming out. Taylor often has folks write a letter to the animal that's going to be harvested or create a set of intentions or read some poetry.

Robby Sansom [00:30:56]: Taylor always has a prayer. Regardless of what your religion is or what you believe or don't, you know, just connecting with a greater spirit and really trying to create this connection and reverence and mindfulness going into this group of people going out to a field and a herd of bison and watching, you know, the ranch manager shoot or the ranch hand shoot one of these bison and truly kill it and harvest it in the field. You know, being quiet, phones down, present in the moment as the rest of the herd comes around and acknowledges the transition, the energy force of that animal leaving the herd and the rest of the herd kind of rebalancing out in the order of lead animal and following animals kind of shifting and then going into the field and putting your hand on that animal and maybe tasting its blood and again, really feeling a sense and the full weight of and the magnitude of that loss, but then really quickly recognizing that it's not a loss in fact, it's a beginning. It takes life to beget life. And this is the natural order of things. And this is not just okay. It's to be celebrated. And we should honor that animal, celebrate its life, and appreciate it as we begin transitioning it into food and apparel, and the other things.

Robby Sansom [00:32:17]: And that community, that group of folks, gets to participate in the evisceration and breakdown and get their hands in the meat, try the organs like we talked about. Get as wild as you want. You can put that vial right there on the liver yourself and give that and decide if you still want to buy that domain name or not, which I'm pretty sure you'll come up to the same conclusion that we did.

Ben Greenfield [00:32:36]: Yeah, I don't know. Hauntliverbioscorts.com dot sounds like a questionable website, but why do you guys go with bison instead of cattle?

Taylor Collins [00:32:43]: Well, you know, at the ranch, you got to recognize the North American bison. That is not only a keystone species, which a keystone species means it has a disproportionate positive impact on the ecosystem. So not only is it a keystone species, but it's our native large mammals, the largest land mammal in North America to survive the last Ice Age. We think about bison as they are the architects of the most fertile food system the planet has ever seen. How did that happen? Well, through positive animal impact, through co-creation with Mother Nature, symbiotic relationships. And so for us, bison, the flight of the bison, they were almost eliminated off the face of the planet at the early 19 hundreds. They would have been a really important part of our eco-region. Yet they've been removed.

Taylor Collins [00:33:31]: So we're like one of the largest bison ranches in central Texas now. But it just made sense to us as a keystone species to bring that sacred animal back and allow it to express itself. And we sit back in admiration and wander and watch Mother Nature's complexity unfold. Watch the birds come back. Watch reptiles that we had never seen emerge out of seemingly thin air. Watch new plants germinate. The seeds had been in the soil for maybe 100 years, waiting for a freaking Bison to poop on it. And that microbiome from the Bison manure woke that little seed up for the first time.

Taylor Collins [00:34:06]: And so it's just been a really. It's a blessing to co-create with those animals. And, you know, bison, they're just for us. It's like they speak to us, they speak through us. They resonate with us. We love beef cows, too, and we think beef cows or sheep or goats, they're all awesome. People think for some reason that bison are inherently regenerative beings, which I would argue that is true. However, through our common mismanagement of livestock, they can be degenerative, just like beef cows, sheep, and goats.

Taylor Collins [00:34:37]: And so it's just how you manage, how you work with those animals. And when we talk about regenerative agriculture, using animals for positive impact, we look at how bison co-evolved with our landscapes, how predator herds, our predator species, push those animals throughout North America, how they had high density for protection, so really strong, uniform grazing manure was deposited in high concentration. But that herd never stayed. It moved every day. And then sometimes it would come back after a year, two years, three years, kind of depending on weather patterns. And so as modern ranchers, we've lost our apex predators. You know, fences are all over the place, so the animals can't migrate up north naturally. We mimic that through biomimicry.

Taylor Collins [00:35:22]: We move these animals. And so bison, for us, have just been where we started. It's a really unique animal. No one else is doing it out here. And it just speaks to us and through us.

Robby Sansom [00:35:31]: Doctor Justin.

Ben Greenfield [00:35:32]: And for people who haven't had bison before or experienced that meat, how do you describe it to somebody like a Bison ribeye versus a beef ribeye, both in terms of the taste, but also I'm just curious if there are any nutritional differences.

Taylor Collins [00:35:44]: Yeah, I mean, I'll take the taste. Right. So, like, when we field to harvest, a grass-fed, 100% grass-fed bison, right, that was born on the ranch, lived every day of its life on the ranch. Uh, say if we grind up that entire animal, which we don't do. Right? So, like, if we put all the prime cuts, all the trim into a grinder, it would come out 97, 98% lean, which is nuts. And so if you did that same thing with a domesticated domestic beef cow, you might get 80% lean. And so bison, inherently, they're just more athletic. They're the second fastest land native land animal in North America.

Taylor Collins [00:36:20]: They can.

Ben Greenfield [00:36:21]: No way.

Taylor Collins [00:36:22]: Yeah, they can jump over a seven foot fence from a standing start.

Ben Greenfield [00:36:25]: I mean, I gotta ask you real quick, what's the first fastest?

Taylor Collins [00:36:29]: What do you. Any guesses?

Ben Greenfield [00:36:31]: Uh, I mean, I was gonna say the peregrine falcon, but that's not technically earth. So.

Taylor Collins [00:36:37]: There you go. That would, that would win.

Ben Greenfield [00:36:40]: I'm gonna say the grizzly bear.

Taylor Collins [00:36:43]: I think grizzly bears had really high end speed. And when we talk about second fastest, we're talking about endurance speed. Okay? And so, yeah, so not sprint speed, but it would be the pronghorn deer.

Ben Greenfield [00:36:53]: Okay. Antelope.

Taylor Collins [00:36:54]: Yeah, close. Yeah. Species that co-evolve with the Bison. I mean, there would have been 40 to 60 million Bison on the Great Plains, and there would have been 20 to 40 million pronghorn antelopes. Right. Mixed in with those bison and the pronghorn antelope. It evolved. It co-evolved.

Taylor Collins [00:37:08]: There used to be a North American cheetah, like, a large apex cheetah in the Ice Age.

Ben Greenfield [00:37:14]: Oh, really?

Taylor Collins [00:37:15]: Those animals evolved to outrun the cheetah?

Ben Greenfield [00:37:18]: Wow. Yeah. Well, I mean, I've experienced that a little bit when I've hunted axis deer. Those things are wiry. I think maybe it was Joe Rogan who described him as, like, whitetail deer on crack. And having hunted whitetail up here and axis down in Hawaii, I would agree. And I believe the axis deer are kind of like a cousin to the antelope.

Robby Sansom [00:37:34]: Yeah. The axis are from.

Ben Greenfield [00:37:35]: From.

Robby Sansom [00:37:36]: From Asia. They evolved to evade tigers. So not far off. Yeah.

Taylor Collins [00:37:41]: I think the closest relative of the antelope is the giraffe from what is super odd. But. So bison are inherently leaner, so it really comes down to your preference. And some people will say bison are healthier because they have less fat. And I think that's bullshit. Like, I'm not going to get behind that bandwagon. But the other thing that I really admire about bison is a grass-fed bison takes three years to finish. You can get a domesticated beef cow, and you can finish that animal from birth to death in 16 months if you really push it.

Ben Greenfield [00:38:13]: Evan, even if it's. Even if it's, like, grass fed grass finish, you can do that fast?

Taylor Collins [00:38:16]: Evan, in certain circumstances, yeah. Like, in an organic context, where they can be confined and fed organic alfalfa their whole life, and confinement. They can get fat really, really fast. And you gotta keep in mind, those animals, the domestication of cattle, they've been bred for millennia to have extremely high yields, very quick. Bison have never been domesticated, so they retain all their wild genetics. So what they express is strong bone density, strong muscular growth. Um, they're athletes.

Ben Greenfield [00:38:47]: Right?

Taylor Collins [00:38:47]: And so, like, they're not your sedentary, kind of morbidly obese beef cow that can get fattened up really quick.

Ben Greenfield [00:38:53]: Yeah, kind of. Kind of. Kind of reminds me, by the way, of, like, wheat. Like, the wheat that's bred for high yield crop being more concentrated in gluten, lower in antioxidants, versus, like, a wild crop or an old world crop being higher in antioxidants, lower in gluten, and generally a little more digestible, too.

Taylor Collins [00:39:09]: Bingo, baby. Yeah, that's exactly right. And the other thing about, you know, because they take longer to finish, they have more of an opportunity to express their innate biological potential and their own instincts, which is to graze on a very biodiverse, arrays of array of forage. And so they have time, more time, sometimes twice as much of a lifespan, to fix minerals and to fix nutrients. And so the flavor is always going to be richer within a bison, compared to a beef cow, the color is going to be darker, it's going to rate higher in some minerals. But from an overall flavor profile, I prefer that. I think it's a reflection of how that animal was raised in the ecosystem it was raised in. Evan?

Ben Greenfield [00:39:50]: Well, I would think based on that grazing time, the fatty acid content has got to be a little bit different too, in terms of the omega balance. Do you know, Robby?

Robby Sansom [00:39:58]: Absolutely. It is. Definitely tends to have a more favorable omega three to omega six ratio. Again, I think what Taylor is saying is we definitely wouldn't want to discourage anybody away from beef. Cause it's incredible. But I think the omega ratio is specifically one of those areas where bison is tangibly different from beef on the aggregate. And then. Yeah, you kind of noted it a second ago, been on the selective breeding of wheat or some other things.

Robby Sansom [00:40:24]: Right. Like beef doesn't exist in the wild. It would have been selectively bred through millions or through many, excuse me, generations from these classic extinct, now extinct animals called arex from Europe. And what's been traded off as we've created an animal that gains weight rapidly and is more domicile and easier to manage. And what are those second and third-order effects? It's hard to say. On a macronutrient and a micronutrient basis, they're more similar than not. We've talked about some of the nuances, but I think if you're really into the primal lifestyle and being hardcore, and you want what would be most natural and what our ancestors thousands of years ago or tens of thousands of years ago might have evolved, bison would be more consistent with what that is.

Ben Greenfield [00:41:10]: Yeah, I'd say the only exception to that rule might be the scrub bull down in Hawaii, which I've also hunted. And even with three relatively well-placed arrows, I was having to be on that animal for about 3 miles of tracking. And then I had a. About a mile and a half pack out with hundreds of pounds of meat from this big old scrub bowl. They're just basically like wild cattle that roam native on the lands, like out at the base of the volcanoes in Hawaii. So that's probably a rare example of what a wild cow might be like.

Robby Sansom [00:41:40]: Still badass animals. You gotta give them credit, no doubt about it. And beef aren't like chicken, where the life cycle and lifespan and reproductive cycle is so short, we've effectively bred them into like, almost non biological beings at this point.

Ben Greenfield [00:41:57]: Yeah.

Robby Sansom [00:41:57]: So again, love both beef and bison.

Ben Greenfield [00:41:59]: For sure, but you hear this about the cows, and I'm sure you guys get pushed back on this with the bison too. You hear about the methane, right? The impact of the methane on the climate. What's your response to something like that?

Robby Sansom [00:42:10]: I think methane and water, I think there's a lot of issues, but the top ones that I think are just complete B's when attributed to cattle or agriculture or animal agriculture. Excuse me, is methane and water. Methane, particularly biogenic methane, meaning like, hey, ruminant animals like Taylor said are keystone. They evolved in symbiosis with functioning ecosystems to be necessary and provide critical services to those landscapes. They've always been around their rumen, aka their multi-chamber stomach, which can break down grasses and certain things rich in cellulose, which humans can't eat through a fermentation process. It creates belches, it creates methane as a byproduct. And in functioning ecosystems, there are methanotrophic bacteria in the ground and in the air, and there are cycles that exist to manage this. Again, natural, recurring, appropriate, and necessary contribution of methane.

Robby Sansom [00:43:11]: You add to that that the half life of methane in the atmosphere is something less than ten years. And so methane is breaking down so rapidly that as long as the herd of animals contributing to that biogenic methane isn't rapidly growing, it's in a state of homeostasis versus carbon dioxide, which can sustain in the atmosphere with a half life of greater than 1000 years.

Ben Greenfield [00:43:35]: And carbon dioxide, by the way, would be one of the main gases produced by more of a commercial approach.

Robby Sansom [00:43:42]: Yeah, carbon dioxide, you know, CO2 you get from tilling the land. A third of the legacy load of human caused carbon dioxide is from oxidizing living matter biology, carbon and soil making.

Ben Greenfield [00:43:57]: Vegan energy bars.

Robby Sansom [00:43:59]: Right, yeah, exactly. Or cars. Transportation is a huge contributor and so on. But again, like, methane from animals is totally in a set state of homeostasis. What's not is the primary contributor of methane. More methane than comes from cattle comes from rice farming. More methane than comes from cattle comes from landfills and waste sites. These are all human endeavors producing non-biogenic methane and disproportionate levels to historical levels, which get no recognition or acknowledgment.

Robby Sansom [00:44:34]: So to me, this is just like a distraction. It's a nothing burger. That is completely part of the propaganda profile that this vegan religion is trying to perpetuate at the expense of the meat industry. And again, it's a religious idea. I think on a similar token, on the waterfront, it takes two times as much water to make a pound of rice as it does to make a pound of beef. And whether, however, you look at it, 92% to 98% of the water that is attributed to the creation of beef is literally rain. It is water coming from the sky, watering fields of grasses, going into tanks that these animals will then drink from or that causes the plants to grow. It is 100% a natural cycle.

Robby Sansom [00:45:24]: No mental gymnastics necessary. It's exactly what you would expect to be celebrated as a system in balance. And then there's what that's called green water. What's called blue water is. Yeah, there is, in some instances, water being pulled from the ground per se, or pumped out of some other place per se. That's a tiny, tiny, tiny. That's like less than one or two, certainly less than 5% of beef production. And even of that, you got to think that these are living animals, so they're not just retaining that water and growing and ballooning out, they're redepositing that across the land and watering and creating, again, they're part of a functioning water cycle.

Robby Sansom [00:46:06]: So, like, water is, again, a complete non-factor. 70% of the world's freshwater withdrawals go into irrigation of crops. If you want to bring up methane and you want to bring up water, you should be pointing them at the plant-based production system, or I shouldn't say plant-based, right? Because I think at Force of Nature, one of the things that we really try to do is educate consumers on issues in food. And I think one of the biggest distractions in food right now is this idea that it is plant-based agriculture versus animal-based agriculture. And I think when you take a regenerative mindset, you recognize it's not plant-based versus animal-based. It is an industrial agriculture versus planet-based agriculture. Agriculture, as should be common on this planet, involves plants and animals in harmony and functioning ecosystems. And so all the rest of this stuff is propaganda and, distractions and misinformation designed to manipulate and confuse consumers.

Ben Greenfield [00:47:00]: Taylor, related to the green water that Robby was talking about from the rain, do you guys implement some kind of, like a rainwater catchment system or something like that at Rome?

Taylor Collins [00:47:10]: Yeah, man, that. So, you know, this is a terrific question. And so, when people are managing landscape, you got to look at the context where there's a lot of elevation change. There's tons you can do to slow down rainwater and to catch rainwater, whether it's building ponds on contour lines or doing key line.

Ben Greenfield [00:47:31]: And by the way, just real quick, that's what I'm doing in Idaho, is I'm building a lower pond on my property as a rainwater catchment system that even includes stuff coming off the roof of the house.

Taylor Collins [00:47:41]: That's just beautiful, man. Like, yeah, that's. That's. That's fantastic. Water coming from the heavens that you can use to grow food or to sustain your family. That's. That's, like, as good as it gets. Um, what we do, we're in a little bit flatter of an area.

Taylor Collins [00:47:55]: We're in a river valley. The way that we perceive our ability to capture rainwater, utilize rainwater, and get it in the soil, is to grow green growing plants and have a living root. So, out of the 900 acres that we have, 450 acres when we bought the property, was the moonscape. I mean, think about the worst example of chemical, industrial, extractive, and monoculture agriculture you could imagine. That's what half this land looked like. So the water cycle was ineffective. It was broken. Anytime it rained, the soil had hardened, it capped, and that rain washed away.

Taylor Collins [00:48:31]: And what? Topsoil? Topsoil was already gone. It was washed away. Subsoil. After 80 years of this type of management, and one of the really, it's just, like, the coolest example in my mind of these regenerative systems working and coming to life is in three years, we've been able to cover most of that bare soil. It takes time, but we're finally infiltrating rain for the first time in 80 years. We have neighbors. God bless Myrtle Pfeiffer. She'll come over here in a heartbeat if we need her.

Taylor Collins [00:48:59]: Good old Myrtle Pfeiffer with no teeth. She just shows up when you need her. And, you know, like, there. There's a creek on our ranch that was on all the early settler pioneer navigation maps. It was really important for a water resource. It was important for navigation. When we bought the ranch, it was dry. And we were told by everyone in our community that creek has been dry longer than any living person.

Taylor Collins [00:49:23]: It will never run again. Well, Ben, it took us three years of effectively catching rainfall for the first time in 80 years to recharge our aquifer levels to where water literally emerged from rocks seeps formed, and these were ancient seeps that had been there forever. But through human mismanagement, the water cycle was busted. And so, I mean, this is like, it wasn't us that did it. It was the bison. Like the bison sung song of the water. Super cool. Yeah, I mean, it's beautiful, man.

Robby Sansom [00:49:53]: One of the things we talk about, Ben, that this kind of ties into, and I mentioned, you know, tilling, releasing, you know, killing the life in the soil and releasing it as carbon in the atmosphere. But, you know, historically, areas like where Taylor is would have had, you know, 7% organic matter in the soil. And organic matter, we're all carbon-based lives. Organic matter is largely carbon. And when they purchased that land, it was down to below 1% organic matter. And so what does that mean, besides that a bunch of carbon was released into the atmosphere? Well, it turns out that for every 1% organic matter in an acre of soil, it can hold an additional over 20,000 gallons of water, which is roughly about a one-inch rainfall event. And so they lost the capacity to hold, you know, almost 200,000 gallons of water per acre. So, to Taylor's point, like, not only are they effectively capturing more rain, but they're allowing more rain to infiltrate into the soil, and they're holding it there in reserve to fuel the water cycle of their ecosystem.

Robby Sansom [00:50:53]: And then part of that is seeping out, like he said, through these. These cracks and fissures into becoming primary water sources for wildlife. Really awesome to see nerdy science like that play out in practice in a beautiful outcome.

Ben Greenfield [00:51:07]: Yeah, it's super admirable how you built that up. I was on your website, just kind of surfing around, looking at some of the other products on there. You have elk. Are those actually from Rome Ranch?

Robby Sansom [00:51:18]: No, the elk resource. Elk and venison both come from New Zealand. I think one of the realities is, in the United States, you know, we led the world in so many innovations, and one of those, back in the forties and fifties, was the green revolution and the industrialization of agriculture. And so many places around the world weren't able to keep pace with us as we went so far down what we would consider to now to be the wrong path. New Zealand is an example of one of those. And, in fact, they've built a major agriculture industry around, you know, venison, elk, and lamb out there, and they do a really incredible job raising and farming those animals in harmony with nature, and there's just nothing like that. Their operations in the US, you mentioned Hawaii. There are operations out there with access deer.

Robby Sansom [00:52:11]: But again, from a farming perspective, there's nothing quite like that in the United States. And again, for Force of Nature, we're about creating global regenerative supply networks. So if there's good actors producing good products, we want to try to find a way to support them and work with them. And the work being done out there is something that really. It's really incredible and really proud to be partnering with them.

Ben Greenfield [00:52:33]: Yeah. People might call me out on this because I wanted to ask you what you think about flying meat all the way over from New Zealand. Because I do hunt in Hawaii and obviously I have to fly there, but I can kind of do a meet a palooza of sheep, goat, turkey, pig, axis deer. I buy soft coolers at Walmart or Costco. I check it in on the plane frozen and am able to come back with a lot of meat without probably burning through too much jet fuel. But as far as New Zealand goes, do you guys ever get pushback on bringing elk and venison all the way over from New Zealand?

Robby Sansom [00:53:09]: No, it makes total sense. I mean, especially if we're sitting here talking about carbon, you know, and if you're flying stuff back, I mean, that is a very inefficient means of transportation. That's why all these billionaires that going around trying to create policies they impose on the rest of us take so much heat for being so reckless themselves. But in this case, no, we're shipping this stuff on boats, which is the most efficient form of transportation. It's like 100 times more efficient than even the trucks that we're shipping stuff on whenever we source domestically, which we do for most of our supply chain and ship it domestically. And so it's actually incredibly efficient to ship stuff on. But, yeah, I mean, it's something that we have to keep an eye on, and it's a fair call out and something I think folks should be mindful of for sure.

Ben Greenfield [00:53:55]: Now, what else beside elk and venison do you guys have? Obviously, bison we talked about. But what are some of the other main cuts that you're selling?

Robby Sansom [00:54:04]: Well, beef. And we historically have, like, dipped our toes into pork and poultry. These monogastrics, we're very, very light on those. I could elaborate why we have them and we'll continue to plan them. But, man, I kind of touched on it a second ago. The industrialization of agriculture, particularly animal agriculture, has made some major trade-offs. And I think the biggest trade-offs, the smaller the animal and the shorter the life cycle, the more harm. I think we've done to land.

Robby Sansom [00:54:39]: And the more harm we've done to the animal. Poultry is the worse than pork. I mean, these animals are often treated like cogs in a machine. They're inside completely synthetic environments, never seeing or touching the outdoors. The breeds don't actually procreate. They don't even have natural behaviors like to evade predation. As another chicken comes up behind one and starts to peck it and eat it alive, it'll still just sit there and gorge itself. I mean, they're basically biological feed conversion units.

Robby Sansom [00:55:12]: And it's sad because they're still sentient, but it's just the nature of what I said, the industrialization and what we've done is. And the reason that's been done isn't just some evil person trying to think of what's the most awful thing I can do. It's in the pursuit of cheapness. How do we compete solely on price? How do we drive the price down to such a low level that we squeeze every single fraction of a penny out of it? And the trade-offs, the massive trade-offs along the way, have been in value. We've lost the value of life, the value of community, the value of nutrition, and the value of welfare. All these externalities that don't get calculated into that cheapness of today, that become massive costs and consequences to tomorrow. And you've created a situation where poultry is so cheap, you can go to Costco or wherever and get a $5.99 rotisserie-cooked bird. And then, Ben, as you'll find out when you're running your own operation if you really want to have a heritage breed chicken that you grow.

Robby Sansom [00:56:12]: And it becomes the true manifestation of its potential to contribute to the land and then ultimately your life and diet and energy. To sell that on the market would probably cost closer to dollar 30. That price disparity is massive. What most farms and ranchers have to do is they're faced with a real challenge. How do I make this work? Because I have to be able to pay my bills and feel good about it. And there's been the most trade-offs and the most compromises made there. And so for us at Force of Nature, we're not willing to go below a minimum standard. And we have a really high minimum bar that is pretty, pretty challenging for the industry to meet.

Robby Sansom [00:56:49]: We're trying to right now. We finally reached a scale in size where we're putting some new protocols out there, and we're having folks come back to us and see if they want to create a custom program for us, for both. Both pork and poultry. But they're very challenging to do, I think, ethically and healthy and regeneratively and so on. So we don't do as much of those. But again, beef, bison, venison, elk, wild.

Taylor Collins [00:57:13]: Boar, really cool wild boar program.

Robby Sansom [00:57:15]: Taylor should highlight that.

Taylor Collins [00:57:16]: Yeah, don't forget the wild boar, man.

Ben Greenfield [00:57:18]: So I haven't tried the wild boar yet.

Taylor Collins [00:57:22]: Oh, hook a brother up to mind-blowing. I mean, this is the last. Think about this. This is the last feral or wild land animal in the United States that could be used to feed a population. Otherwise, like, that doesn't exist. I mean, there's something like 6 million of these pigs across the country, located in 35 states. The three most impacted states are, like, Texas, Florida, and Georgia. There are over one and a half billion dollars of damage done to agricultural lands annually by feral pigs.

Taylor Collins [00:57:54]: Wild pigs. And they're not even native to North America. They were brought over to the US in the 15 hundreds by the early spanish explorers.

Ben Greenfield [00:58:02]: So they're like. They're like the cousins of America. Acorn fed pigs in Spain, right?

Taylor Collins [00:58:06]: Yeah, dude. They're like the bad cousins that join the gang and, like, the motorcycles are hitting the weight room every day. And just like, these are the ones you don't want to meet in a dark alley. And so at Force of Nature, it's like, let's take this amazing resource that is commonly perceived as an invasive species. Like, a lot of our ranchers in our community, they'll say, like, it's not even worth the bullet. Like, I'm going to. If I shoot. If I see a wild pig, I'm going to shoot it.

Taylor Collins [00:58:35]: I'm going to place my shot where it doesn't die on my property, it runs off on someone else's land. So we're saying, like, hold on, guys. This is. Let's. Let's actually celebrate this resource. They are sentient beings, sure, they're undesirable, but why don't we trap them? And so we work with Texas trappers on these true free-range wild animals, and we process them and celebrate them. Share that meat with our community. I think it's some of the best pork you'll ever have in your life.

Ben Greenfield [00:58:58]: And obviously, you got to be careful because it concentrates a lot of toxins and metabolites and the fat, what the pigs ate. So when you're harvesting a wild pig, do you know what it's been eaten? If it's been, like, in the trash over at the neighbor's commercial farm or something like that, yeah, the pigs that.

Taylor Collins [00:59:13]: We're trapping, they're typically in agricultural production lanes. And so they're typically, like, they're. They're negatively impacting the ecosystem by decimating cropland. So when, like, a farmer plants, you know, like a couple hundred acres in beans or peanuts or corn, they'll just wreck those fields. And so they have a very diverse diet. When we shoot them out here at our ranch, we love opening up their stomachs. And, dude, we find. The most common things we find are turkey eggs, which.

Taylor Collins [00:59:43]: Shit, man, we want our wild Rio grande turkeys to proliferate. So that's a problem. We find turkey eggs, we find, like, spaghetti earthworms. So they're literally rooting, eating beetles, eating all types of soil.

Ben Greenfield [00:59:55]: You got some Texas italian pigs down there.

Taylor Collins [00:59:58]: Yeah. And then pecans. I mean, yeah, like the nuts, the acorns, I mean, the things that drop off seed, that's really how they succeed. Stain themselves. I think it's a misconception that they're digging in trash cans and we have a USDA inspector on site inspecting each animal for health, looking at its organs, which is a representation, a reflection of its diet, and we're only putting the ones in our product that pass that inspection process.

Ben Greenfield [01:00:22]: Got it.

Robby Sansom [01:00:22]: Ben, I think to your point earlier, having not tried it, you gotta try it, man, because it is. I mean, for all intents and purposes, these are the descendants of domesticated pigs that have been allowed to run wild on the land. And so if you've ever eaten pork and, like, pork, you're going to like this profile. But the reality is, it is so much better. I mean, these are, these are thriving animals. They're living their full potential end to end on the spectrum of life in a way that they just like that energy force and that, again, not having just been fed corn and soy and grains their whole life, but having, you know, run around and had to, and had to live life to its fullest. Like, you taste it. Like, the number of people that have come up to us and said, man, I've had the ground wild boar, and it's like the best pork I've ever had.

Robby Sansom [01:01:08]: What do you all do? And I'm like, that's what healthy, thriving animals taste like.

Ben Greenfield [01:01:13]: Yeah, I'll have to hunt down some banana leaves or cabbage leaves and have a little pork luau. So I'm game to guinea pig. It, pun intended. So, guys, there are companies like Butcher Box and these meat shipment services. Are you guys doing stuff like that? Like subscription-based service boxes that people sign up for cause, I'm gonna put links. I know you got a discount code for your guys's stuff if folks go to Ben greenfieldlife.com for podcasts, like Force of Nature podcasts. But how does it work when people order?

Robby Sansom [01:01:40]: Yeah, so there are a number of ways to get Force of Nature. Yes, we do. Direct to consumers. So you can go under our website and enter, enter that discount code through your discount code, Ben, and you can get a discount on your order. And we'll ship it to you. You fill a box up and we'll mail it to your house. We're also available and, a bunch of grocery stores all over the country. We have a where to find us section on our website.

Robby Sansom [01:02:04]: It'll tell you what products we have and what stores near you. And the chances are there's a lot available. And then the same thing with restaurants. We're trying to be available in restaurants. I think the idea there is, that we recognize with EPIC and through our history that the opportunity for regenerative is very real and important. And we can scale supply chains and have this positive impact rapidly. The more involved consumers get, the more demand that we can help accelerate, the more good we can do, and quite frankly, the more that benefits other meat companies that aren't ours, the small local farmers that you should be supporting, too, in your area. And, Ben, whenever you have it, make more product than you can produce on your ranch.

Robby Sansom [01:02:43]: The community near you should be supporting that, no doubt, but with Force of Nature. It's how do we create more awareness and more access? And so being available in so many different ways is a way that we can make it easier and easier for consumers to at least find something if they can't find it locally first or produce it themselves or hunt it themselves first. But, yeah, forceofnature.com is our website where you could go to order a box of meat, or you can follow us even if you don't buy from us and you have the perfect regenerative rancher near you that you're supporting. Fantastic. Keep supporting them. Go to forceofnature meets on Instagram, or go to forceofnature.com and follow us on our, on our blogs and information. Like, we just want to connect you to the truth. It's not our job to tell you what to believe, what to think, or what to do.

Robby Sansom [01:03:33]: It's to give you the information to make the best choice for yourself, to tell you the truth, and create transparency in the food system so consumers can make sure that they're complicit in a system that they're proud of and not one that represents the opposite of the very things that they think are in their best interest or their community's best interest.

Ben Greenfield [01:03:50]: Yeah, cool, guys. I dig it. You know, I'm going to be coming down to Austin on June 8 to race the spartan decafit with my twin 16 year old son. So maybe if the stars align, we can come out and check out the ranch and get out of town a little bit. So we'll have to keep in touch and folks listening, that means you might see a picture of me on Instagram with Myrtle the Bison.

Taylor Collins [01:04:10]: We'd love to have you out. Come do it, dude.

Ben Greenfield [01:04:12]: Cool. Well, guys, it's been tremendous. I really like what you're doing. Your meats are super tasty. And folks, if you want to try the elk, the venison, Wagyu, the Bison, particularly the beef, all these cuts, they just taste amazing. They're melting your mouth. Good. And you can go over to the Force of Nature website at forceofnature.com, you can get discount codes, resources, other podcasts I've done on regenerative agriculture.

Ben Greenfield [01:04:35]: If you go to bengreenfieldlife.com/F-O-N podcast. Robby and Taylor thank you so much, guys.

Taylor Collins [01:04:43]: Thank you, sir.

Robby Sansom [01:04:44]: Thanks a lot, Ben hi, folks.

Ben Greenfield [01:04:45]: I'm Ben Greenfield. I'm with Robby and Taylor from Force of Nature meets signing out from Ben Greenfieldlife.com. have an amazing week.

Ben Greenfield [01:04:52]: Do you want free access to comprehensive show notes, my weekly Roundup newsletter, cutting edge research and articles, top recommendations from me for everything that you need to hack your life and a whole lot more, check out Ben Greenfield.

Ben Greenfield [01:05:09]: It's all there.

Ben Greenfield [01:05:11]: Bengreenfieldlife.com. see you over there. Most of you who listen don't subscribe like or rate this show.

Ben Greenfield [01:05:18]: If you're one of those people who.

Ben Greenfield [01:05:19]: Do, then huge thank you. But here's why it's important to subscribe like and or rate this show. If you do that, that means we get more eyeballs, we get higher rankings. And the bigger the Ben Greenfield live show gets, the bigger and better the guest get and the better the content I'm able to deliver to you. So hit subscribe, leave a ranking, leave a review. If you got a little extra time, it means way more than you might think. Thank you so much. In compliance with the FTC guidelines, please assume the following about links and posts on this site.

Ben Greenfield [01:05:58]: Most of the links going to products are often affiliate links, of which I receive a small commission from sales of certain items. But the price is the same for you, and sometimes I even get to share a unique and somewhat significant discount with you. In some cases, I might also be an investor in a company I mention. I'm the founder, for example, of Kion LLC, the makers of Kion branded supplements and products, which I talk about quite a bit. Regardless of the relationship, if I post or talk about an affiliate to a product, it is indeed something I personally use to support and with full authenticity and transparency recommend. In good conscience, I personally vet each and every product that I talk about. My first priority is providing valuable information and resources to you that help you positively optimize your mind, body, and spirit. And I'll only ever link to products or resources, affiliate or otherwise, that fit within this purpose.

Ben Greenfield [01:06:53]: So there's your fancy legal disclaimer.

Upcoming Events:

  • Disrupt 2024, The Future of Healthcare — Nashville, TN: Oct. 3-6, 2024

If you’re a healthcare professional of ANY kind, you know the healthcare industry is due for disruption and innovation, and this event will show you how to make it happen. Grab your early bird tickets here.

  • Ben Greenfield Retreat — Portugal: Nov. 12–16, 2024

Experience the ultimate wellness retreat this fall in Portugal with four nights of luxury accommodation, gourmet meals, rejuvenating spa treatments, daily calisthenics workouts, and workshops on alchemy and Kokedama. Secure your spot here.

  • Wim Hof Method Travel — Seminarzentrum Riederalp, Germany: December 11–15, 2024

Join the attendees who come from all over the world, seeking to push themselves to new heights, process hardships or trauma, and simply enrich their lives with new experiences and friendships. You can discover more and book your spot here!

Do you have questions, thoughts, or feedback for me, Robby Sansom, or Taylor Collins? Leave your comments below and one of us will reply!

Ask Ben a Podcast Question

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *