In the brittle landscape of Southern California is Cattle Rancher Frank Fitzpatrick. Growing up in Silverado, Orange County, Frank learned to ride and rope like many children of the late 1950s; his interest was ignited watching Westerns on television. However Frank unlike most kids followed that passion and curiosity. He graduated from Orange High School in 1966 and was a member of the Future Farmers of America (FFA) high school program. He raised FFA cattle, sheep and hogs and showed them at the Orange County Fairgrounds in Costa Mesa. Frank then attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo earning degrees in Agriculture Business and Animal Science. Upon graduating in 1971, he spent time working with cattle across the Western United States (Oregon, Idaho, Nevada & Arizona) before returning home to Southern California where in 1979 he founded 5 Bar Beef with seven Barzona cows. Frank has practiced holistic planned grazing since 1982 with this unique closed herd of red cattle.
The Barzona is a rugged composite breed of beef cattle developed in the high desert, inter-mountain region of Arizona in the 1920-30s. They were originally a blend of Santa Gertrudis, Afrikaaner, and Hereford beef cattle breeds with some breeders blending in Angus lines. Barzona cattle have been bred to be especially hardy, with good heat, insect and disease tolerance. When other breeds are unable to find food they do. They climb steep slopes where other cattle do not, travel far for water, calve with ease requiring little human intervention, and are the ideal cattle breed for our brittle drought-prone Southern California environment.
In recent years Frank found himself as an expert answering questions, giving tours & public presentations on the topic of holistic planned grazing. These lectures and hands-on experiences educate people on the benefits of herding animals grazing the land holistically.
People today are becoming more and more interested in finding locally sourced food products with a low carbon footprint. Cattle raised in a holistic manner, on pastures, eating green grass and regenerating healthy soil are part of that solution. their concerns include caring for the environment. To address the need for education on the role of grazing animals in grassland environments, Frank founded The HERD Foundation in 2017. Frank Fitzpatrick may be the last full-time cattle rancher in Orange County, but he has never wavered in his passion to leave the land better than he found it. That passion, tenacity and drive that founded 5 Bar Beef is what’s driving The HERD Foundation today
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