Good Beef, Less Gas: A New Way for Wagyu in our Eco-Conscious World

6 min readJul 21, 2021


How rearing cattle can be more green in the heart of Wagyu country.

In the quiet countryside of Aichi prefecture, Michimasa Oguri manages to bring a youthful approach to ranching by combining the traditional work of raising wagyu cattle while conducting research on how to raise livestock sustainably.

Oguri-san with our CEO

All this, without sacrificing the quality of one of Japan’s most renowned products — wagyu beef. Over the past decade, Oguri-san’s Dairy Farm (albeit without dairy products) has garnered multiple awards for the best-in-show beef all around the Kansai area of southern Japan — even earning the Aichi Prefecture Governor’s Award four years in a row.

As we arrived in Chita-Handa (around an hour outside of Nagoya) one first thing we noticed was the smell.

There was none.

Dinner time!

At least, not until we were in the cattle pens. This was due to the fact that Oguri-san keeps his herd below 1000 members to give his cows more space to live and to spare the closely nearby residential area of the inevitable odor. The lack of smell, he noted, is one of the tell-tale signs which signifies a ranch’s cleanliness and a rancher’s care for his land. These high standards of cleanliness and professionalism are important in this competitive industry and area of the Aichi prefecture, as the Kansai region holds some of the most revered Wagyu herds in the country.

The ranch was established by Oguri-san’s maternal grandfather after World War II with just two cows; the same ranch at which Oguri-san grew up fondly watching the cows bellow and eat food. During his youth, he watched his grandfather use his intuition and study from books to guide his ranching methods, all while helping the community in small ways like flattening the dirt roads with his farm tractor to ease the trouble of commuting for local denizens. This childhood and communal experience inspired Oguri-san’s lifelong interest and passion toward using a green and scientific lens in livestock.

“How’s your meal?”

After spending his undergrad at Shizuoka University, Oguri-san later went on to the renowned Kyoto University for his graduate studies. There, he learned how to approach the issues of food supply and the burden on the environment in regards to the food industry such as the import-export of basic fresh groceries and the effect of growing food for livestock. To him, it is just common sense not to overtax the environment in order to grow food and prolong our own longevity. What is also common sense, according to him, is how every producer should be in this low-impact, low-waste mindset when manufacturing their goods in our modern era.

With a degree and a dream in hand, he went back to the family ranch ten years ago to slowly start implementing these ecological changes by means of science: by prioritizing objective observations and making decisions based on data-analysis. And during B2L’s working visit to the dairy farm, our team saw firsthand how Oguri-san keeps a scientific approach in his day-to-day tasks.

A mother and calf, less than a week after birth.

He primarily focuses his data collection on the youngest of his cattle, such as their date of separation from their mother, milk consumption, and subsequently their hydration levels. Oguri-san states that while there are some conclusions that can be made from physical observations, the most telling sign of a cow’s health is the food consumption. We could immediately see this difference as some of the cattle hungrily drank the milk from the bottles while one had little interest in eating from the milk stand or from the bottle by hand. This data is then recorded to see if this is a persistent problem or a temporary issue. For those that weren’t eating properly, a veterinarian came daily to examine and treat the ailing.

A ranch-hand keeping track of milk consumption of the youngest group of cattle

The other large source of data is from the handful of cows in his environmental experiments. As a rancher and researcher, Oguri-san is able to implement his unique insight in order to test more ecological techniques while sustaining the quality of his product. He believes that with both of these roles combined, he is able to bring an empirical approach to animal husbandry and a practical approach to sustainability studies with his alma mater Kyoto University. Oguri-san also has a connection with Taiyo Yushi, a Japanese fat and oil manufacturer, who focuses on eco-friendly processing and practices. In conjunction with the university laboratory and Taiyo Yushi, Oguri-san uses his ranch as a research facility to test the ecological effects of fatty acid calcium in cattle diet.

In this particular study, the team is examining a possible reduction in methane emission from cows which in turn will decrease the large emissions caused by raising and rearing cattle — a hot topic issue within the world today. The previous two phases of testing with selected cattle have shown some promising results, but it will take until after phase three (currently underway as of June 2021) and then subsequent analysis with the university and the company in order to release the results of this experiment.

Outside of his research, Oguri-san remains vigilant over his herd. With a small team of employees, he gets up every morning to check on the cattle all over the property. At night, he or one of his staff also makes rounds around all of the pens to check for any tipsy friends or mothers in labor.

The best way to eat wagyu? Grilled, yakiniku style.

While many of the old-style farming techniques just rely on traditions and rule-of-thumb, Oguri-san aims to dig deeper so he can understand how and why techniques work. And with this more analytical lens, he intends to utilize effective techniques to promote a newer, more ecologically-sound method to raise high quality cattle without sacrificing flavor. As our team sat with Oguri-san over a sumptuous yakiniku tasting of wagyu, we were able to see (and taste) his personal philosophies reflected in his daily work. He balances his analytical brain with his heart which cares for his herd and his environment.

Getting your products straight from the source is always the best. If you’re in Japan and are interested in some of Oguri-san’s top quality Wagyu beef, contact us through Facebook and Instagram! We can connect you with the ranch for any orders and inquiries.

Join us for Part 2 of “Good Beef, Less Gas” on Wednesday, August 4th at 8am EST, where we will get to the beefy details of wagyu, and how where the cows get their food is just as important as where we get ours. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more photos and updates!




Promoting global Food Education, Sustainability, and Traditions for our Modern World. Based in Tokyo, Japan.