Bill Niman and Nicolette Hahn Niman are ranchers in Northern California. Nicolette is also an attorney and writer, and Bill is the founder of the natural meat company Niman Ranch, Inc.
Bill Niman and Nicolette Hahn Niman are owners and operators
of BN RANCH, a seaside ranch in Bolinas,
California, where they raise
their son Miles, grass-fed cattle, heritage turkeys, and goats. They were
featured in an August 2009 cover story in TIME about the crisis in America's
Nicolette is a rancher, attorney, and writer. Much of her
time is spent speaking and writing about the problems of industrialized
livestock production, including the book Righteous
Porkchop: Finding a Life and Good Food Beyond Factory Farms (HarperCollins,
2009) and four essays she has written on the subject for the New York Times. She has written for Huffington Post, CHOW, and Earth Island Journal.Previously, she was the senior attorney for
the environmental organization Waterkeeper Alliance, where she was in charge of
the organization's campaign to reform the concentrated livestock and poultry
industry, and, before that, an attorney for National Wildlife Federation. Nicolette
served two terms on the city council for the City of Kalamazoo, Michigan. She
received her Juris Doctorate, cum laude,
from the University of Michigan and her B.A. in Biology and French from KalamazooCollege.
Bill is a cattle rancher and founder of the natural meat company Niman
Ranch, Inc. He was a member of Pew's National Commission on Industrial Farm
Animal Production, which released recommendations for reform of the nation's
livestock industry in April 2008. Niman has been named "Food Artisan of
the Year" by Bon Appetit and has
been called the "Master of Meat" by Wine Spectator, the "Guru of Happy Cows" by the Los Angeles Times, "a pioneer of
the good meat movement" by the New
York Times, "the Steve Jobs of Meat" by Men's Journal, and a "Pork Pioneer" by Food & Wine. The Southern Foodways
Alliance named him its Scholar in Residence for 2009, stating that he was
"this country's most provocative and persistent champion of sustainably
and humanely raised livestock." Vanity
Fair magazine has featured him in its "Green Issue," and Plenty magazine selected him as among
the nation's five leading "green entrepreneurs." He has been honored
with the Glynwood Harvest Good Neighbor Award. Bill co-authored The Niman Ranch Cookbook (Ten Speed
Press, 2005), which was selected as one of the year's best cookbooks by the New York Times, Newsweek, and the San Jose
The swine flu pandemic highlights a decades-old problem: industrial animal farming poses serious public health risks. The authors, who practice humane farming practices on their California ranch, explain how they think the food system should change to keep both animals and people healthy.
The price of hay, an essential part of a cow's diet, is down 40 percent this year. But many cattle ranchers aren't celebrating because it's a sign of tough times for dairy farmers. The authors explain the complicated calculations that occur as they decide how much hay to buy this year.
Breeding season begins and, with it, a new turkey flock on the ranch. The eggs spark endless curiosity as people ask what they look and taste like. Though turkey eggs may look much different than their more popular chicken counterparts, they actually taste quite similar.
Most Americans assume meat is year-round, but it has a season. Animals grace on grass, after all, which, like any plant, is seasonal itself. Ignoring the seasonality of meat is bad for animals, bad for the environment, and bad for us.
It's shocking what passes for "natural" at your local grocer's meat counter. It would be easy to just blame factor farms, but the truth is that the USDA's weak animal treatment standards let agribusinesses run wild. But it doesn't have to be this way.
The Obamas' new garden is great news -- just ask Alice Waters. But why stop there? Keeping a live chicken flock was once the norm for farmers as well as city-dwellers, and, more than just eco-friendly, live chickens are great exercise.