“The phrase ‘You can take the girl out of the country, but you can’t take the country out of the girl’ is more accurate than you might expect,” says Kristin Harms. She and her husband recently returned to the small town of Leola to help run her parent’s cattle ranch. For Kristin, ranching isn’t just about raising safe, delicious beef. It’s as much a family tradition as celebrating the Fourth of July with this tasty fruit pizza.
“From the time I was a kid, I watched my parents care for their livestock and the land with pride and purpose,” Kristin said. “Even though there were times I thought I might venture outside of the agricultural industry, I always seemed to find my way back.”
Kristin’s family takes great pride in raising beef sustainably. For ranchers like Kristin, sustainability means continuously improving the land, leaving it better than it was found. Kristin and her family practice rotational grazing, which means their cows nibble on grass and clover in a different part of the ranch throughout the summer. This is healthy for the animals and also helps maintain the natural grasslands.
You might be surprised to learn that farmers also use genetic information to help raise animals more sustainably. For Kristin’s family, that means being thoughtful about mating cows with desirable traits. This leads to better milk production, easier calving and, ultimately, healthier cattle. This means that they can raise safer, healthier, tastier beef using less resources.
While breeding cattle for desirable traits does not create GMOs, the same concept applies to soybean farmers, who plant seeds that have been genetically modified. These seeds not only help farmers produce more food with less resources but also help protect the environment. The use of GMO seeds in soybean, corn and cotton production has reduced soil erosion by 93 percent across the U.S. since the mid-1990s, according to a study from the Council for Agricultural Science and Technology.
“We all have families that we want to keep safe and healthy, and part of doing that is making sure they have access to nutritious food,” said Kristin. “Taking care of others is incredibly important to the farmers and ranchers of South Dakota, and the only way to do that is to be ethical and sustainable.”
Ranching is all about family, and what better way to celebrate summer than gathering your loved ones around the grill with a delicious meal? No backyard bash is complete without dessert. Try Kristin’s favorite red, white and blue fruit pizza to make your Fourth of July one to remember.
“My mom has always been a fabulous cook. Now that I’m a mom, she’s passing on her stellar recipes and cooking skills or at least trying to,” Kristin said, laughing. “I’m pretty lucky to have a mom like her who shows me how to be a good mom and how to work my way around the kitchen.”
Gather your family and get cooking with Kristin’s fruit pizza recipe. For another dessert option, try a festive make-your-own s’mores bar.
Hungry for Truth is an initiative about food and farming funded by the South Dakota soybean checkoff. The goal is to connect South Dakotans with the farmers who grow and raise their food.