Innovative Livestock Services, Inc.
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Tuesday, April 4 2017 8:00 AM


Today everyone talks about Sustainability; what it means to them, their family, their company, and the future. It can be a very elusive creature to catch! When I think about sustainability for my family, the ranch, and ILS; it’s about respecting, conserving, and working efficiently in order to stay in business. Whether it’s using something up, wearing it out or recycling it - It’s all about doing more with less…in all facets of life.


At our house we started recycling about a year ago. My son brought the idea home, and we began organizing cans, glass, plastic bottles, and cardboard to take to the recycling center every other month. This family effort taught my kids that commonly used items can have a different home other than the trash can.

Recycling turns things into other things, which is kinda like MAGIC!


Reusing and recycling is a way of life at the ranch. From the new cattle water tank we put in a couple years ago made from an old tire, to worn out bridge timbers that find new life as a round pen used to train horses, to old barn lumber finding a new purpose as a tack room to store bridles, saddles, and ropes; we diligently recycle to ensure that we limit waste.                                                                                                                            

As you grow in this business you learn being successful is about being resourceful.


We always encourage our children to try new and different foods, but (perhaps more importantly) we teach them to clean their plates. I believe that limiting food waste honors the gift that our farmers and their animals give to us. I know all the passion and hard work that goes into producing food. I also realize that close to 40% of the food grown in the United States gets wasted.  These things inspire me to work to be a responsible consumer.

As a family, we have the hard discussion that a healthy and nutritious meal is a blessing that not everyone gets to enjoy. Additionally, life as farm kids reinforces daily the work and sacrifice that goes into growing food. My kids help raise the beef that ends up on our table which gives me leverage when leftovers are met with sighs and disappointing looks. That is where a little creativity, Pinterest, and no fear comes together to make a masterpiece! Leftover meat provides the staple for a new chili recipe or old bananas become delicious bread for a snack – the challenge of being responsible in regards to food waste can become a fun game to play in the kitchen.

When responsibility and creativity come together, awesome things happen!

Recycling before it was cool

Cattle are the ultimate recyclers.  Many of the feed resources that they ruminate and turn into beef are leftovers. Wheat straw and corn stalks (the forage part of the plants left after harvest) combined with distillers grains (what is left of corn after ethanol has been extracted) makes for a well-balanced casserole for our cattle.  Their unique four stomach digestive system creates the ideal mechanism for turning leftovers into high quality protein that we can all enjoy at the dinner table.

Feed yard crews are notoriously creative “re-users” as they repurpose fencing materials or equipment to increase its productive lifespan.  A zero waste culture drives our crews to use their natural problem solving skills to make more with less. The American Cowboy is the quintessential recycler and pairs up with the bovine to make an impressively efficient team!

As we enjoy April and spring, look on Facebook and Twitter for our feed yard crew highlights. Help us to show appreciation to those people that look at the ordinary with a creative mind to become better today than they were yesterday.


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Innovative Livestock Services, Inc.

Innovative Livestock Services

2006 Broadway Avenue
Great Bend, KS 67530

(620) 793-9200

4805 Vue du Lac
Manhattan, KS 66503

(785) 587-9700

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