SISTERS, Ore. – Doc Hatfield, founder of Country Natural Beef, died of pancreatic cancer at age 74.

Hatfield and his wife, Connie, founded Oregon Country Beef in 1986 with 14 ranch families. The co-op is now called Country Natural Beef, and has expanded to 120 ranch families in 13 states, according to the company’s web site.

Hatfield, who began his career as a veterinarian, was an advocate for sustainable land management practices, such as high-intensity, short-duration grazing and restoring springs overgrown by juniper trees that were diverting groundwater, according to The Associated Press.

Today, Country Natural Beef is one of a leading producer of meat produced without hormones or antibiotics.