RACTICE P a publication of the savory center
January/February 2005 * Number 99
Holism—The Emerging Future
INSIDE THIS ISSUE
by Peggy Sechrist
ecently I was invited by the Savory Center to submit a newsletter article describing my 18 years of observations regarding learning and practicing Holistic Management. Doing so required me to take time to reflect over that long period of time— something I would not normally take time to do. I was grateful for that opportunity because it gave me the motivation to spend some time considering how my observations fit together into a holistic pattern that could serve as a learning experience for me and perhaps for others as well. The work that went into that article occurred at the same time that I was reading a newly published book called Presence by Peter Senge, Joseph Jaworski, C. Otto Scharmer, and Betty Sue Flowers. This book discusses the authors’ 20+ years of studying holism. I found their views and experiences as presented in their book helped me to better understand the observations that I wrote about and enabled me to put them into a much larger context, that is a transition to a new emerging future. In 1996, Frijof Capra wrote in his book, The Web of Life, “. . .what we are seeing is a shift in paradigms not only within science, but also in the larger social arena . . .The paradigm that is now receding has dominated our culture for several hundred years, during which it has shaped our modern Western society and has significantly influenced the rest of the world.” Capra continues with a description of the old paradigm based on a view of the universe as a mechanical system and noting we carried this view into medicine, social, and even economic arenas. He then presents, “The new paradigm may be called a holistic worldview, seeing the world as an integrated whole rather than a dissociated
collection of parts. Living systems at all levels are networks, we must visualize the web of life as living systems (networks) interacting in network fashion with other systems (networks). The web of life consists of networks within networks.” Along with Allan Savory’s book, Holistic Management, Capra’s writings have provided excellent leadership in helping us better understand the networks that exist in nature and that connect us with nature. One could even say that we are a member of nature’s networks. I will wager that most of the successes achieved by holistic practitioners to date have occurred in this arena. The new book, Presence, takes us deeper into learning about social networks including our marketplace and discusses how these networks might change from the old mechanical paradigm to the new holistic paradigm—something, I believe, we do not yet understand well. The authors remind us that even social institutions are living systems and “a living system continually re-creates itself.” You and I easily understand that process as a change of season and by the new cells replacing old in our body. “But how this occurs in social systems . . . depends on our level of awareness, both individually and collectively.” Once a social network becomes aware of themselves as a living system, “they can then become a place for the presencing of the whole as it might be, not just as it has been.” The authors suggest that a new holistic future is always trying to emerge through the whole networks that make up our universe. They believe this because they believe the universe fundamentally functions as whole networks. If we become aware and open to this continued on page 2
Because nature functions in wholes, we know that collaboration, not competition, is a key natural principle. In this issue, many of our authors discuss this insight, including Andrea Malmberg as she writes about her experience at Twin Creek Ranch on page eight.
FEATURE STORIES Progress at The West Ranch Peggy Maddox . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2
Terra Madre—Celebrating Food and Those Who Produce It Jody Butterfield . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3 Terra Madre 2004—Bringing A Global Perspective to the Table Sandra Matheson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4 Holistic Management in Nebraska—A Twenty-Year Perspective Roland Kroos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6 Learning to Create a Passionate & Profitable Livelihood—In the Wyoming Hinterland Andrea Malmberg . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8
LAND & LIVESTOCK STAC Dick Richardson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10
Wildlife-Friendly Fencing Made Easy Wayne Burleson . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11
News From the Front Bruce Ward . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13
NEWS & NETWORK Savory Center Grapevine . . . . . . . . . . .15 Savory Center Forum . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16 Certified Educators . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17 Marketplace . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19
AD DEFINITUM FINEM
THE SAVORY CENTER is a 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization. The Savory Center works to restore the vitality of communities and the natural resources on which they depend by advancing the practice of Holistic Management and coordinating its development worldwide. FOUNDERS Allan Savory
* Jody Butterfield STAFF
Tim LaSalle, Executive Director Kate Bradshaw, Director of Finance and Administration Kelly Pasztor, Director of Educational Services; Constance Neely, International Training Programs Director Ann Adams, Managing Editor, IN PRACTICE and Director of Publications and Outreach Terri Telles, Finance Coordinator Donna Torrez, Administrative Assistant
BOARD OF DIRECTORS Rio de la Vista, Chair Leslie Christian, Vice-Chair Terry Word, Secretary Richard Smith, Treasurer Jody Butterfield Judy Richardson Bruce Ward
Holism—The Emerging Future
continued from page 1
future, we can “sense it” and assist its emergence. new innovations using the discovery and change They further suggest that “The key to ‘seeing process that is outlined in their book. Our quest from the whole’ is developing the capacity not is to learn how to work as a living network, only to suspend our better understand food assumptions but to systems from a holistic ‘redirect’ our awareness point of view, and then The authors remind us toward the generative to identify changes we that even social institutions can implement to help it process that lies behind what we see.” become more sustainable. are living systems and This book has This will be a great “a living system continually learning experience for opened up a whole new awareness of holism for me, and I will share my re-creates itself.” me. I was privileged to learning with you be invited to participate through this newsletter. in a two-year project organized by the Global I’d like to learn how to assist an emerging Leadership Initiative, an NGO founded by two of holistic future. How about you? the authors. The group I joined is made up of representatives from government, industry, and Peggy Sechrist is a Certified Educator in NGO’s from the U.S., Europe, and Brazil. We will Fredricksburg, Texas. She can be reached at: spend the next two years exploring the concept firstname.lastname@example.org. This article first appeared in of a sustainable food system and searching for the HRM of Texas Summer/Fall Newsletter.
Progress At the West Ranch by Peggy Maddox
ADVISORY COUNCIL Jim Shelton, Chair, Vinita, OK Robert Anderson, Corrales, NM Michael Bowman,Wray, CO Sam Brown, Austin, TX Leslie Christian, Portland, OR Lee Dueringer, Scottsdale, AZ Gretel Ehrlich, Gaviota, CA Cynthia & Leo Harris, Albuquerque, NM Clint Josey, Dallas, TX Krystyna Jurzykowski, Glen Rose, TX Dianne Law, Laveta, CO Guillermo Osuna, Coahuila, Mexico Jim Parker, Montrose, CO Dean William Rudoy, Cedar Crest, NM York Schueller, El Segundo, CA Richard Smith, Houston, TX Africa Centre for Holistic Management Private Bag 5950, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe Tel: (263) (11) 404 979; email: email@example.com Huggins Matanga, Director HOLISTIC MANAGEMENT IN PRACTICE (ISSN: 1098-8157) is published six times a year by The Savory Center, 1010 Tijeras NW, Albuquerque, NM 87102, 505/842-5252, fax: 505/843-7900; email: firstname.lastname@example.org.; website: www.holisticmanagement.org Copyright © 2005.
cedar and prickly pear. This year our monitoring hat a year for moisture! The West shows a 10 percent decrease in bare ground. Ranch has received 41 inches of Several people have asked us if we are going to rain as I write this in November 2004. use fire to deal with the cedar infestation as that The normal rainfall is 16 inches. We have not is the common tool here. However, our focus has had a freeze as of November 20, so grass been increasing the health of the ecosystem and winter weeds are making for a very green landscape. We began the year with the purchase of livestock. We bought the 120 cows and two bulls and 600 hair sheep that were here on pasture lease. We have sold 451 lambs and kept 150 ewe lambs, so we now have 750 hair sheep. We will be selling our calves soon. Our hunting program is At The West Ranch the land and livestock are responding progressing, so our income to improved grazing management and lots of rain. has been better than projected. Our monitoring has shown progress toward the future resource base in our holistic goal. Our 2002 transect data showed we had 65 percent bare ground with heavy infestation of
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processes. Nonetheless, we thought we would test that action. Here’s how it tested. continued on page 14
Terra Madre— Celebrating Food and Those Who Produce It
here is a rapidly growing international movement that brings together producers of quality food and consumers who want to make sure those producers remain viable. Slow Food (as opposed to Fast Food) International, now nearly two decades old and 81,000 members strong, felt the time was ripe to celebrate these consumerproducer partnerships and to honor and support the thousands of producers who continue to provide high quality food in environmentallyrespectful ways. The result was Terra Madre, the world’s largest ever gathering of small-scale farmers, ranchers, nomadic herders, fishers, foragers and food makers who met in Turin, Italy October 20 – 23, 2004. Six months prior to that, leaders from Slow Food USA visited the Savory Center to request that we put together a delegation of livestock producers, led by Allan Savory, to attend Terra Madre. “You are teaching the world very important knowledge,” said Slow Food USA Chairman Michael Dimock, in explaining why we were invited to participate. Our delegation of 30 turned out to be one of the largest sent from the U.S., which included 600 in all. Each of Terra Madre’s 5,000 delegates, from 128 countries, represented a particular “food community” such as Cordoban prickly pear growers, or artisan bakers of Alsace. The Savory Center “community” represented livestock producers from all over the U.S. who not only produce meat, but also restore and enhance their land at the same time. Delegates took part in two days of workshops covering environmental issues linked to agriculture, such as desertification and the effects of pesticide use, political issues related to sustainability and production of individual crops and products, such as corn, beef, and coffee. In one room, delegates from Bulgaria, Kazakhstan and Spain talked about the challenges of supporting or reviving nomadic herding cultures. In another, a man from Cuba talked of the organic agriculture revolution in his country. A woman from India told of her community’s struggle to promote and protect their environmentally sensitive region through a special “designation of origin” label for their products. A Colorado heritage turkey producer
explained how he had quickly developed a market for his turkeys with the help of a Slow Food group in Denver. Allan Savory gave two well-received workshop presentations on Caring for the Land and Reversing Desertification, and Certified Educators Guy Glosson, of Texas, and Bill Burrows, of California, were applauded for their powerful and heartfelt contributions in a workshop on Creating Models for Sustainable Agriculture.
Just a few of the Terra Madre participants who listened to Allan Savory’s presentation in the workshop on desertification. As thought-provoking and rewarding as the workshops were, The Savory Center delegation found the most satisfaction in connecting with each other as well as people from around the world who shared many of the same challenges and occasionally the same victories. Nearly all of The Savory Center delegates said the experience would influence their practice of Holistic Management, but one summed it up best: “It has increased my commitment to the decisionmaking process, since it is the only way we can think through all these complex challenges we face as a society without losing sight of our direction and purpose.” Until a few months ago, many of our
by Jody Butterfield
delegation had never heard of Slow Food. In the U.S. there are close to 200 “convivia,” or chapters, where good-food-loving urbanites build relationships with producers, campaign to protect traditional foods, encourage chefs to source ingredients locally, and occasionally go to bat for producers when regulations or legislation need changing. The Slow Food movement’s stunning growth in the U.S. since 2000, when Slow Food USA was founded, attests to the fact that these producer-consumer partnerships are much needed and greatly valued. And they are already beginning to have an impact on “the way we do food” in America. Most of the Savory Center delegates plan to link up with Slow Food “convivia” in their areas. One delegate, Andrea Malmberg, has already started a Slow Food “convivium” near Lander, Wyoming (the first in that state). All of us came away with the view that Slow Food and Savory Center members are natural allies who are seeking the same things, and we all had a desire to explore closer linkages. And it’s already happening. Following Terra Madre Slow Food USA’s Michael Dimock wrote expressing his wish that Slow Food USA and The Savory Center become “active partners in working for the producers,” and said that he looks forward to “further collaboration and unique experiences together.” He has invited The Savory Center to be involved in planning for a California Terra Madre in 2005 that would include the participation of the California Holistic Management community. And there’s good news from Mexico as well. Certified Educator Ivan Aguirre was part of a Terra Madre delegation of Mexican livestock sproducers and he reports that opportunities for closer collaboration between holistic managers and Slow Food members in Mexico are already being explored. If you would like to learn more about Slow Food USA, contact them at www.slowfoodusa.org. or 212/965-5640. Other country organizations exist, but all except Japan are in Europe. If you live outside the U.S., visit the international website: www.slowfood.com for more information.
style of driving, we noticed that nearly every patch of ground was being used. Gardens filled every little plot of open ground, even right up to the pavement of the freeways! It was apparent the most Italians have a closer connection to their food than do most Americans. We exited the bus and entered the enormous school. Finally, there was the concern of leaving and unusual “mushroom columned” building that the farm for that long. We were anxious and would be home to Terra Madre for the next several excited, but certain that it would all work out. days. The decision to go passed the testing. I was almost overwhelmed at the sight of so many different people, in different International Insights styles of dress, speaking many different languages. On October 18, 2004, with crutches in hand and Yet different as we all were, it soon became evident cast on leg, I, along with my family, started on our that we shared something in common: A vision way. Our flight was to leave from Seattle and travel of people working together to heal the earth and produce healthy food in a sustainable manner. It was a beautiful collage of color, sound, and culture, which signified hope for the future! There were many topics of discussion at the plenary sessions, earth workshops, and fringe meetings. They included: genetically modified foods; patenting of living organisms; globalization; industrial agriculture; poisoning the earth; lack of The Savory Center delegation for Terra Madre 2004. connection to our food; fast food, children, obesity, and disease; and over Canada, Greenland, Iceland, across the Atlantic, disappearing farms and farmland. and on to Europe. The themes included: Let Us Become CoWhen approaching Frankfort, we got an producers; Food is Beautiful; A Tribute to the excellent view of the German countryside. There is Earth’s Caretakers; Lunch Should Become a lesson to be learned from the Germans. They have An Academic Subject; Local—Not Global; Heal a sensible and more sustainable concept of land use The Earth; Promote Biodiversity; Celebrate than we seem to have in the U.S. Communities and Life’s Diversity. cities were clearly defined by distinct boundaries. The speakers came from all regions of the There was no sprawl nor did “ranchettes” dot the world and talked about every food-related subject landscape. Simply, there were cities surrounded by imaginable. Headphones were available to farmland. Also noticeable was how the small fields translate into seven different languages. They were shaped to the contour of the land with different crops planted in adjacent plots. The majority of the crop fields were lined with brush and trees. I did not see large fields of monocultures. Instead, there was functional diversity. The reality of the trip sunk in when we discovered that our flight from Frankfort to Turin was filled with Terra Madre delegates. Excitement permeated the air as introductions were made and stories were swapped.
Terra Madre 2004— by Sandra M. Matheson
PHOTO CREDIT: LYLE GALLOWAY
ou never know where Holistic Management will take you! In April I received a letter from the Savory Center informing me that I had been nominated to become a US delegate to Terra Madre, a world wide conference for sustainable food producers, to be held in Turin, Italy. I read it again and then once more. Since my grandparents immigrated to the U.S. from Sicily, and I had always enjoyed my Italian relatives and longed to visit the homeland of my ancestors, this was the opportunity of a lifetime!
Many hours were spent in anticipation of Terra Madre. We wanted to be well prepared for the whole experience. We knew it wouldn’t be right to go to Italy and not visit Rome. So, we did some research, applied for passports, studied maps, bought Italian books, and worked on plans to make this the best family journey ever. Even the best planned journey can have a few road blocks. The first big one was the broken ankle. Mine to be exact. I have been walking out in the pasture nearly every day of life. One day this past summer, after moving the herd, I stopped to look back at a cow. The next step taken, still looking back, was in a hole and down I went. My life has not been the same since. With multiple fractures in my ankle and foot, I still wear a walking cast. I have since learned new meanings for frustration, patience, and tolerance! I have seen the cow herd only twice in the last few months since I am limited to walking on level ground. In spite of the challenges, I was not going to give up our family’s trip to Terra Madre. I did as much research as I could about Italian life, culture, transportation, and what to do if something went wrong. Money was also a factor in our decision-making. Three of us missing two weeks of work is a significant economic loss. Money could be remade in time, but the Terra Madre experience might not come along again. Time out of school was an issue we discussed as well. We all agreed that what we could learn through this experience couldn’t be taught in
PHOTO CREDIT: MEGAN GALLOWAY
Bringing a Global Perspective to the Table
Community Dynamics The bus ride to Palazzo del Lavoro was educational. Once we got accustomed to Italian
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Delegates sold their products at Terra Madre in either formal displays or simply spreading their wares on the floor.
PHOTO CREDIT: MEGAN GALLOWAY
but so were the creative ideas. It was an inspiration to hear and see what others around the world are doing for sustainable agriculture. The message was clear. We are brothers and sisters, each with our own identity and culture, who are dedicated to producing healthy food and willing to take whatever action is needed to do just that.
Megan Galloway (18), Lyle Galloway, Sandra Matheson, and Molly Galloway (15) in front of a seafood display at the street market.
The Savory Center Community Doc Hatfield from Oregon, Daniela and Savannah Howell from Colorado, and Teresa Maurer from Arkansas members of the Holistic Management delegation.
were farmers and dignitaries, politicians and ranchers. We were delighted by a surprise visit from Prince Charles, a strong advocate of small scale sustainable farming. Opinions were plenty,
The bus rides back to our hotel, located near the base of the Alps, provided opportunity to meet new friends and revisit with old friends. Our group in itself was diverse in background, experience, and age. Our daughters, Megan and Molly were the youngest of our delegates, with Savannah Howell (age 3) being the smallest and most entertaining member of our community. Evening meals were relaxing and enjoyable as we learned about each other while sharing food, drink, and ideas. The food was outstanding and the company was great. We were fortunate to share the hotel with delegates from Israel, Canada, and Iceland.
Interviews with Holistic Managers
n her small farm in Arkansas, Teresa Maurer and her husband, Jim, raise Katahdin hair sheep for breeding stock and meat. She has been very active in her community promoting consumer awareness of locally produced foods. Teresa states, “I personally met farmers from thirty countries and chefs from four countries, tasted food from forty countries, and heard heartfelt presentations ‘from the ground’ from people I never would have been able to learn from otherwise . . . I feel that I came away with a much deeper and direct understanding of what Slow Food is trying to achieve.” Daniela Ibarra Howell was happy to return to Italy where she spent many years of her early life. Certified Educators Daniela and husband, Jim, ranch in Colorado and have begun a textile enterprise featuring original designs. Daniela saw Terra Madre as a great opportunity to meet people with unique and creative ideas. She gained some insights into producing and marketing as well as ways to increase awareness that “your product is the best choice.” Her practice of Holistic Management will be enhanced because the Terra
Madre experience “deepens our convictions, both social and ecological . . . using practices that can still be profitable.” There are many new opportunities for Holistic Management. Daniela says, “We are not alone. Bring Holistic Management and give them a framework to advance the movement. With the harvesting of ideas and energy, I cannot see anything but positive things. Relationships have been formed. . . creating a bigger pool of resources.” Molly Galloway, age fifteen, the youngest official delegate of the Savory Center community, enjoyed seeing and meeting people from all over the world and learning how they did things. She said, “I think the whole trip helped me see a bigger picture of the world . . . The people from far away that I read about and see on the news are now not so far away. I had a chance to meet some of them in person.” She did admit that not everything she learned would be applied at home. At the Alternative Meats workshop, she and her sister, Megan, learned how to boil a Guinea Pig and roast it on a stick. “I don’t think I’ll be eating any Guinea Pigs, but it
Slow Food International must be commended for their commitment, perceived clout, marketing ability, and the Terra Madre “miracle” they pulled off. They are an example for us in Holistic Management of what can be accomplished by working together. I hope we will be able to collaborate with Slow Food in the future. Our profound thanks to the Savory Center, Slow Food International, the Italian Government, and the City of Turin for this experience of a lifetime. Sandy Matheson is a Certified Educator living in Bellingham, Washington. She can be reached at: 360/398-7866 or email@example.com.
makes a great story!” she said. “Come, learn, and advocate” was the philosophy of John and Dorothy Priske of Wisconsin. They traveled to Terra Madre to support the Slow Food movement because “they support us . . . they are receptive people.” John wanted to share with other people what they are doing at home. The Priskes’ diversified their operation from row cropping to a grass based ranch using animals as a tool to harvest, utilize, and improve the land. They market their Highland beef directly to consumers and run a bed and breakfast on the ranch. John also sought to learn from other parts of the world, “their problems, challenges, and triumphs.” Dorothy expressed that her expectations were exceeded and enjoyed being part of the Savory Center community. “The bus ride to and from was just as educational and uplifting as the sessions at Terra Madre.” John concludes: “I feel comfortable in the direction I have chosen . . . We all have a story to tell . . . We tell it over and over, change it, and it gets better.” John and Dorothy’s products will be featured by a chef at an upcoming Slow Food fundraising dinner. John says about the Terra Madre experience, “Now I can tell our story with more confidence.”
Holistic Management in Nebraska— A Twenty-Year Perspective by Roland R.H. Kroos
up with a good succession plan for family members to take over. Tom feels it is time because Chris is 40 years old and needs to be moving into the driver’s seat in managing this ranch. We are still using the Holistic Management process to guide our decisions. However, we still find ourselves making decisions based on old habits and paradigms. We are still doing the grazing planning and move livestock based on this plan and our observations. We develop a yearly plan and try to have monthly meetings where everyone has input into what is going on.
Editor’s Note: This article is a continuation of the interviews Certified Educator Roland Kroos collected this summer as he visited ranches in Nebraska he first visited 20 years ago as he began learning about Holistic Management while working for the NRCS. Some of these ranchers joined him in those first introductory workshops on Holistic Management in 1984.
felt we were making a lot of mistakes and that we needed to slow down. Our windmills couldn’t keep up with the large herds of cattle, and this was creating even more problems. Then in 1992, I quit drinking, and I learned how to cope with people. We have made mistakes, but we learned from them and changed our management because of them.
Higgins Brothers Ranch
So where is Higgins Ranch today? We acquired the ranch from our dad and uncle. The ranch has increased in size to 24,000 acres (9,640 ha), and it has a base cow herd of 1,200 head which calve in May and June. The ranch sells yearlings in the fall most years. Based on the current infrastructure and personnel preference, we have found it best to manage herds of 700 head. Most of the cows spend most of the winter on grass and supplement. We stockpile grass for the cows in the winter, so we don’t have to feed them hay. The ranch does have some debt due to recent Casey, Tom, Chris, and Jerry Higgins of Higgins Ranch began land purchases. It has good managing holistically after attending their first workshop in equipment and a new home 1984.s for Chris and Patty Joe without having to borrow money. Despite If someone was just getting started in making changes in the grazing and livestock practicing Holistic Management, what advice management program, we still haven’t gotten rid would you give them today? of our livestock health problems. We continue to Make a list of what you want, and then battle scours and pneumonia problems despite establish your holistic goal. If you’re not getting the fact that we seem to be spending more and support from your team, look beyond it and more on vaccinations. By moving our calving to reach out. Ask lots of questions and look around late spring, we have more health problems today at how other people are practicing Holistic than we did before. However, we like calving so Management. Learn from their mistakes. Find much better now we are not ready to move our other Holistic Management mentors and don’t be calving date back. There has to be another afraid to ask for help. solution to our problem. The ranch now supports four families: Tom Three Bar Cattle Company and Lynn, Jerry and Donna, Chris (Tom and Lynn’s John & Cheryl Ravenscroft son) and Patty Joe (4 children), and Deb (Tom & What have been some of the biggest changes you Lynn’s daughter) and Casey (one child). Tom said have made in the last twenty years? there is always room for more family members if he Three Bar Cattle Company was purchased they want to work and help manage the ranch. by our dad and granddad in 1959. When Tom is ready to move on, only we haven’t come
Tom and Lynn Higgins, and Jerry Higgins
hen we attended our first Holistic Management course, the ranch was owned by our dad and uncle. We were starting to get involved with management; however, the traditional ranch management practices just didn’t seem to be working. So, we went to our first Holistic Management course in October of 1984.
What changes have occurred since 1984 when you first attended the Holistic Management course? Tom—Attending the Holistic Management course gave me great confidence, and I was ready to change the world (at least the ranch we were managing). Initially we changed our grazing practices by running large herds of cattle. However, we lost money due to poor planning and struggled with our financial records. I became depressed as I met resistance when we tried to change and felt we were under-achieving. I felt we weren’t practicing Holistic Management as Allan Savory implied it should be done. Today, I’ve regained that confidence and understand that Holistic Management is only a process. Lynn—It opened new avenues for us and how we view people, land, and dollars. We have hit some highs and lows in the last 20 years, but I feel we kept moving forward. It gave us hope and encouraged us to get help when needed. I’ve learned that we don’t have to be perfect and that it’s not the end of the world if we make a mistake. Now we are not afraid to try a new idea. We listen better; it’s our goal to be team oriented, and we continue to work on it. Jerry—When I attended the Holistic Management course I was a practicing alcoholic. So initially I had a great fear of failure and worried about what others thought, especially our dad and uncle. We didn’t discuss finances, and I wanted to set up a better financial plan. I
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Do you believe you would be where you are today, if you hadn’t attended the Holistic Management course 20 years ago? No, Holistic Management helped me to face my alcoholism. If I hadn’t done that, I would be dead. Without Holistic Management, we would be like our neighbors struggling to survive.
what the Ravenscrofts are doing on the ranch. What has been your biggest learning or discovery over the last 20 years? Cheryl—Family communication; it is so essential yet difficult to maintain. We are still working on it with our sons and their families. John—Financial planning; plan what is going to happen and then take control to make sure it does.
Cheryl and John Ravenscroft have made a profit every year since taking their first Holistic Management course. James (John’s brother) and I attended our first Holistic Management course in the fall of 1985, we were involved in the management of the ranch. The older generation allowed us to try new grazing strategies, such as putting all the livestock into one large herd. By changing our grazing practices, we have significantly improved the grass and the health of the land. Today we are continuing to run 60 percent more livestock than we ran 20 years ago. Not only that, but since 1986, we have only had to feed hay to our cows one year, otherwise they winter on the range and we provide them cake (supplement). Today we are running 1,400 cows and 2,500 yearlings on the 30,000-acre (12,048-ha) ranch. Another great change has been our finances; we have made a profit every year since we took the Holistic Management course. This financial success has allowed us to buy another ranch for James. Cheryl and I are now sole owners of Three Bar Cattle Company. We anticipate being out of debt in two years. This financial success has also encouraged our sons to come back to the ranch. Eric and Shannon (wife) and Kevin are living and working on the ranch. Brent, who is in the Air Force, may eventually come back to the ranch. Do you feel Holistic Management was responsible for these changes? Absolutely! Tradition and neighbors did not support the changes we made 20 years ago. Without the knowledge and support of other Holistic Management practitioners in the area, we never would have made these changes. Today, there is an acceptance and support of
Are you still using the Holistic Management process today? Yes, but we feel we have plateaued in our practice. We are still doing the financial planning. We are no longer doing the grazing planning on the Holistic Management grazing form, though we are still moving cows and yearlings through the pastures and minimizing overgrazing. We need to get our sons some training in Holistic Management and engage them more in this process. If someone was just getting started in practicing Holistic Management, what advice would you give them today? Find a mentor to provide you with some support and encouragement. Do not be afraid to ask for help, even if that means having to hire a Holistic Management consultant. Acknowledge now that you will need more training.
I’ve learned to observe an action or event, such as, “It rained one inch last night.” I then ask “How will this event/action help take me towards my holistic goal? Will it add value? If it takes me to where I want to go, I go with it. If it takes me away from where I want to go, I take the corrective steps as needed. So, I’m more satisfied with where I’m at than I was 10 years ago. I’ve build a new house, my daughter is entering the University of Nebraska, I’ve taken some trips around the world with my daughter, and the ranch operation is running smoother. With the exception of 1996, the ranch has made a profit every year. The ranch is operating on almost twice as many acres as it did 20 years ago, and I have less debt. What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced in the last 20 years? The team approach. I’ve been single most of the last 20 years and have no parents involved in the operation. So it’s tough to be creative or critical, when you are the only person making all the decisions. My employee has had no training in Holistic Management and is operating with conventional paradigms. So where is Calf Creek Ranch today? The ranch operates on 20,000 acres (8,032 ha), of which 15,000 acres (6,024 ha) is owned by the ranch. The ranch provides groceries for
Calf Creek Ranch A.B. Cox What have been some of the biggest changes you have made in the last twenty years? he first Holistic Management course I attended was when I went with Wayne Eatinger, Floss Garner, and Roland Kroos to Albuquerque in early 1985. The holistic approach I learned at that course allowed me to understand the personal, financial, production, and land aspects of my operation— how everything interacts, and how you can’t affect one facet of the operation without affecting the whole. So I’ve used the Holistic Management® model, as I recognize it to be, to help me make decisions towards my holistic goal. Speaking of the model, I don’t refer to it every time I make a decision. I equate the model to the vehicle manual you can find in most cars or trucks. Once I understand the basic parts of the vehicle and how they operate, I don’t refer to the manual every time I want to drive to town. That’s not to say that I don’t use the Holistic Management process to help me make decisions; I do. Through the Holistic Management process
A.B. Cox has found it challenging to manage holistically alone. approximately 800 cows that calve in April and 800 yearlings. The work on the ranch is completed by me, one full time employee, and two summer employees. What the introduction continued on page 8
Holistic Management in Nebraska continued from page 7 of Holistic Management to Nebraska 20 years ago spawned is remarkable. Today the University of Nebraska offers a Grazing Land Management Degree from which I hire one to two interns each summer. There is a Nebraska
Grazing Lands Coalition that is promoting many of the grazing concepts Allan Savory introduced to Nebraska 20 years ago. I still do the financial planning and making sure each enterprise passes the Gross Profit Analysis. I’ve gotten lazy with the grazing planning, in that I don’t do the planning as I’ve been taught. I’m managing six different groups of cattle. Each grazing cell involves anywhere from 3 to 16 paddocks.
What would you have done different looking back on the last 20 years? One of my failures in my practice of Holistic Management over the last 20 years is that I did not establish and consistently monitor the health of the land. I cannot prove to you that the land has improved, though I know it has. I also should have spent more time developing a comprehensive water development and land plan. I started with existing water
Learning to Create a Passionate & Profitable Livelihood—In the Wyoming Hinterland By Andrea Malmberg
hen I first drove onto Twin Creek Ranch I was awestruck. The landscape breathtaking, but more inspiring was the ecological health around me. I saw a difference—willows, tall grass, beaver ponds, covered soil, and many wild animals defined this place. Tony Malmberg was living up to his reputation as an exceptional land manager, and I was falling in love with him even more. My bliss escalated up the eight-mile scenic drive. Then, like a bucket of water on a hot camp fire, my ardor fizzled on arriving at the headquarters. I nearly turned around and headed home to Montana. I groaned at the house-trailers, mud, and filth. Although I never thought I would say such a thing, I exclaimed, “This place really needs a woman!” What it really needed was someone who could create human habitat as well as Tony had enhanced wildlife habitat. Three years after our marriage, I rejoiced as the last house-trailer went down the road. We moved in and refurbished a little 1930s log cabin to live in and built a guest lodge. Now, we have a place for people from all walks of life to gather and learn about stewardship and find solitude and renewal. Often, the human habitat— wholesome food, comfortable accommodations, live music, art and gardens—allow this wild to enter and become a protagonist in people’s lives. When this happens, they shed their stress and transform. Creating habitat so that people can nurture their highest selves and live well with all beings is my passion.
Piloting Passion For me, creating the retreat house enterprise at Twin Creek was simply a matter of piloting
my passion. I had the skills and education to have that high paying job off the place, but Tony and I wanted to craft a more meaningful life. We wanted to make a living close to the land, and we wanted to do work that represented our values. We have found camaraderie with Holistic Management practitioners because you too want to create passionate and profitable livelihoods. But creating that quality of life found in our holistic goals is often easier said than done— especially when it comes to having the discipline to do those despicable tasks—like financial planning! Often we hire other people to do tasks we don’t like. But unless an employee is actually passionate about doing the task, excellence is elusive. Research shows that if you quit a job you dislike and take one that you do like, your level of happiness over time does not increase. So how do we solve the problem, rather than address the symptom? Luckily we entrepreneurs like most of our day-to-day work because we created our jobs. The question remains, how do we deal with all of the tasks that can drag us down? Most recently, I found an answer in Authentic Happiness. – The New Positive Psychology. The idea is that to maximize work satisfaction, you need to use your “Signature Strengths” in your work every day. As Martin E.P. Seligman states “Recrafting your job to deploy your strengths and virtues every day not only makes work more enjoyable, but transmogrifies a routine job or a stalled career into a calling.” You can find your Signature Strengths by taking the VIP Signature Strengths Survey at the website:
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Passionately Planning for Profit When our ranch partnership broke up, I came heads on with a task I despised. I was suddenly responsible (or should I say irresponsible) for keeping the books. This new task was very intimidating for me, and it resulted in many arguments in our household. Tony and I just didn’t have a common language to talk about our finances, and we realized we didn’t know beans about how to do it—holistically or otherwise. When it came down to it, there was nothing I wanted to shove off to someone more than financial planning. Personally, I felt insecure when doing our financial planning. For the first twenty-five years of my life, no one was there to teach me how to balance a checkbook, keep a budget, manage credit cards, let alone plan for profit. I found out that it was “deeper than me” when I had to tell my dad I needed to get off the phone because I had to “do the books.” He said, “Oh, you are not good at that; you can’t do your ranch’s books.” That hit me. Why not? My genes? My gender? My personality? No, I have never allowed my Signature Strengths to shine through to make my financial planning a fulfilling part of crafting my passionate livelihood. My top five Signature Strengths are: (1) Appreciation of beauty and excellence; (2) Creativity, ingenuity, and originality; 3) Curiosity and interest in the world; (4) Fairness, equity, and justice; and (5) Leadership. In order to enjoy keeping the books and finally integrate holistic financial planning into our operation, I needed to engage these strengths to make money
facilities and tried to add storage. Most windmills are not capable of providing enough water for any herd larger than 300 head. I should have drilled new wells or buried 2 inch (50 mm) pipeline to many of the water points. I don’t feel I’ve used money to the best advantage, and I’m still trying to piece it together. I got carried away with improving the genetics of my cow herd and the magic of artificial insemination. I lost sight of grass
friendly genetics, and I ended up with cows that wouldn’t breed back on the grass and feed I provided them. I’m moving back to a moderate size cow that can breed back on the grass I grow.
management more gratifying. Once I allowed these strengths to shine through all my daily activities, dealing with finances became a happiness producing part of my life. So, here is how it works for me. Those that have appreciation of beauty and excellence as their number one Signature Strength obviously value good food, art, and the comforts of life. But more importantly for our discussion, they value good decision-making, seeing things well done, no dust bunnies under the bed, and an accurate accounting of where all the money goes. Applied to financial planning, this strength allows me to be proud of my impeccable nature with book keeping and financial planning. Though very geeky, I admit I’m a little bit excited (rather than scared) to see how well our control sheet matches our plan. Strength two and three both have to deal with a love of learning. When my dad said I wasn’t good at something, my natural defenses said, “No way. . . I’ll learn it.” So now, when I come across a tax question, I love to find the answer. If I can ask a really competent financial manager, I kill two strengths with one stone— obviously love of learning, but the appreciation of beauty and excellence makes me relish finding excellence in any field. Strength four, “fairness, equity, and justice” and “leadership” take me back to my passion and why I am compelled to share my insights with you. Bill Molison, of Permaculture fame states my path well: “A determination to make our own way: to be neither employers nor employees, landlords nor tenants, but to be self-reliant and individuals and to cooperate as groups.” But how can we do this without monitoring social, ecological, and financial health? To find how your Signature Strengths can make your dreadful tasks more gratifying, practice this simple exercise: Think of a task at work, which is necessary but less than enjoyable. Then contemplate transforming that
non-gratifying task into flow-producing activity by drawing on your signature strengths. For instance, you might really dislike answering emails. They pile up and then the task seems almost impossible. But you find that one of your Signature Strengths is kindness. You begin thinking about the people who took the time to write the email and find that answering is now about showing kindness and respect.
If someone was just getting started in practicing Holistic Management, what advice would you give them today? 1) Start slow; 2) Use your existing facilities
Andrea Malmberg during a visit to Africa as part of her Certified Education training.
Leading With Our Values Once you recraft your tasks using your Signature Strengths, you may also want to employ the happiness producing behavior of taking long cuts instead of short cuts. For example, it helps me to do a little financial planning more often, instead of waiting until the last minute to complete the entire project. I’m most productive when I do financial planning first thing in the morning. I put on some good music, or listen to a book on tape, light a candle, and sip my goat milk latte. By taking long cuts, you are likely to find more gratifying outcomes and your quality of life will be expressed even in your most mundane tasks. Looking at the bigger picture, two of the most compelling aspects to understanding and utilizing our Signature Strengths are that our values become clearer and we have a tangible way to monitor the social/psychological
and resources; and 3) Identify your weakest link. With flexibility, it will surprise you how far you can go. Of course, define your holistic goal. Roland Kroos is a Holistic Management Certified Educator and owner of Crossroads & Company, a range management consulting business. He lives in Bozeman, Montana and can be reached at: 406/522-3862 or KROOSING@earthlink.net.
components of our holistic goal. Our values become clearer because our Signature Strengths fall into the six universal virtues of wisdom & knowledge; courage; love and humanity; justice; temperance; or spirituality and transcendence. It is easy to see how these virtues are expressed in holistic goals. For me, the expression of my holistic goal has always been quite easy. If this is not the case for you, understanding your Signature Strengths might excavate the words deep within you—curiosity, perspective, integrity, perseverance, loving, citizenship, humility, gratitude, hope, humor, zest. . . As I have discovered, the expression of the holistic goal is one thing and the monitoring is quite another. When I sat down to monitoring our financial plan, it always seemed like something got lost in translation. Was it a case of “figures lie and liars figure?” Possibly, but the explanation I’m going with is that my financial plan has never adequately correlated with my holistic goal. Now, with the awareness of how important utilizing my Signature Strengths are to achieving the life I desire, I now have the tools to effectively monitor my holistic goal’s inherent social and psychological components, as they are expressed through my finances. The funny thing is, that now when I look at the control sheet, I associate my feelings, desires and needs—the movement towards my future landscape description—with the numbers, rather than simply measuring how close the plan matches the actual, as represented by the figures. As you can imagine, this has been quite liberating. Though I have a ways to go to find the desired profit in my passionate livelihood, at least now I know I have my strengths to help me along the way. Andrea Malmberg is currently in The Savory Center’s International Certified Educator Training Program. She lives near Lander, Wyoming and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The STAC Method— Assessing Forage in Brittle Environments by Dick Richardson
was first introduced to the STAC method of assessing veld (forage) in non-brittle environments by Jim Weaver from Wellsboro, Pennsylvania while we were in Santa Fe, New Mexico in the winter of 2004. Jim was in The Savory Center’s 2001 Certified Educator Training Program and we had met during that program’s graduation. When Jim shared this idea, I saw it as a valuable tool. After metricating it, I simply adapted it for use in brittle environments.
2.5 percent of body mass intake as an average through the year. I use the Metabolic Unit calculation for my Stock Unit calculations and this is based on a 450kg animal growing at 300g per day being 1 unit. The simplified easy-to-use formula for up and down adjustments of different stock units is: Mass of the animal x 2 plus 100 divided by 1000
For example, a 450kg unit is a 1 Stock Unit – (((450x2)+100)/1000) and a 400 kg animal is a STAC stands for Sole, Toe, Ankle and Calf. 0.9 SU (((400x2)+100)/1000). These are the points of measurement of the So at 25 lbs (11.25 kg) dry matter intake top of the bulk of the grass sward (plant). In (2.5% of a 450 kg unit) for 1 SU (meat animal) other words look through the grass to identify the SDA/SDH (rounded off for easy use) are as what height the bulk of the grass stops so that follows: Sole 12 SDA (30 SDH), Toe 24 SDA (60 one measures bulk not stalks and wisps that SDH), Ankle 36 SDA (90 SDH) and at Calf 48 stick out the top. Jim demonstrated how to (120 SDH). These are the figures I would suggest accomplish this viewpoint by leaning down one starts with in brittle environments with on to his head and looking backwards mixed to sweet veld. between his legs. The actual intake of dry matter of an animal Having made the decision on bulk height, really depends on the rate of digestion taking Dick Richardson using the STAC method simply work out what feed is available. The place. In lower-fiber, higher-energy feed, the on horseback. formula for dairy cattle is: Sole is 10 SDA (stock rate of passage of feed is quick and animals eat days per acre) or 24 SDH (stock days per more dry matter per day. This figure on dairy hectare), Toe is 20 SDA or 48 SDH, Ankle is 30 SDA or 72 SDH, and Calf cows can go up as high as 8 percent. Then, when dietary fiber is high, the is 40 SDA or 96 SDH. digestive rate of passage slows down, and total dry matter intake will come Jim in his wisdom had simply translated this information from the down as low as only 1 percent in some cases. original STAC method he had learned, which expressed this information in pounds of dry matter available per acre. In other words Sole is 300 lb per acre, Toe is 600 lb per acre, Ankle is 900 lbs per acre and Calf is 1200 lbs per Forage Calculations for 1 SU based on 1000 lb (450kg) beef cattle acre. So for reference, this translates to 327 kg/ha at Sole, 656 kg/ha at Toe, with 25 lb (11.25kg) intake 982 kg/ha at Ankle and 1309 kg/ha at Calf height. Jim then translated this Measurement SDA SDH SDA @ 50% SDH @ 50% into stock unit days using 3 percent of body mass intake on a 450 kg Sole 12 30 6 15 animal unit. That is in metric speech, of course. In other language it was Toe 24 60 12 30 calculated on a 3 percent intake on a 1000 lb animal. Ankle 36 90 18 45 In the dairy industry, a 3 percent dry matter intake is applicable. In Calf 48 120 24 60 the beef industry in South Africa, however, we tend to work on only a
How It Works
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STAC Adapted to Brittle Environments First, do the steps as above, then work out what percentage of the grass sward is at the measurement. We do this by pacing ten paces and scoring each footfall according to available bulk feed as follows: • Full (as per bulk height) scores a 1 • Half the feed available only (half covered with bulk height) would score 0.5 • If there is a bare patch with no feed available (no bulk present) you would score it a 0. (TIP: Count only on the one foot each time rather than on each footfall, it is a lot easier.) This will then tell you what percent of the sward is not full, and you can then calculate what feed is available with this figure and the original bulk measurement. For example, if you count 10 footfalls and find 3 are bare, 4 are only half, while the rest are full that would mean that 50 percent of the sward measures to your original bulk estimate ((4 x .5) = 2 + 3 = 5 or 50 percent). Say it was toe height; then 50 percent of 24 SDA or 60 SDH would equal 12 SDA or 30 SDH. What I do if it is not consistent veld, such as if I am reassessing a paddock that has just been grazed, is to rate each footfall as part of the rate I expect the whole to be. For example, if I expect the whole area to be toe height by the average of what I have measured, then I base each step on a toe height scale. If the plant is sole height then that is half of toe height and rates as .5. If it is calf height then I rate it as 1.5 of toe height. I then do the calculating as above and determine the average within the 10 steps and base my forage assessment on that SDA or SDH. The rules for this method of forage assessment are no different to the
rules one would use when doing squares or clippings for assessment. Do it twice in a representative area, and always do more than one representative area in a paddock where there is variation. On a horse it is also pretty simple. First stand next to the horse’s front leg and measure, sole, toe, heel and calf against the hoof, coronet, pastern and canon, etc. You will then have a picture in your mind of where the STAC are on the horse. Lean out as you ride along and check the grass bulk height against the horses hoof and leg to choose your STAC height. Then just as you did on foot, count the steps (one side only is far easier than both on a horse) and work out what percentage of the SDA/SDH really counts. A note of caution: On foot you must force yourself to put your next footfall where it should go, not where you may influence the score. The horse on the other hand, will choose to put its foot in the easiest walking spot (i.e., alongside a bush not in it, or on the bare patch next to the grass tuft and not in it). This is not a problem if you work out where the horse’s foot should have been, and improve the steering while leaning out watching the footfalls. I have double-checked this measurement method against the normal square method we use and am very sure they match up well. In fact, I am very positive about it as the subjectivity of the square method really throws one out when the plants become tall with seed heads. I have found these figures accurate, although the end of this nongrowing season will tell us how accurate we really are with this method. Try it out for yourself and see what you think. Good luck! Dick Richardson is a Certified Educator from Vryburg, South Africa. He can be reached at: email@example.com or 27-53-927-4367.
Wildlife-Friendly Fencing Made Easy by Wayne Burleson
fter years of studying, designing, and building hundreds of miles of electric fences, in all sorts of different situations, I’m still learning. Some of those fences that I personally constructed have been discontinued, removed or converted back to standard 4-wire barbed or net wire sheep fences. Why? One reason is wildlife movement. Big game animals such as deer, elk, moose and also livestock untrained to an electric fence, when excited, can raise havoc with most any fence. I once heard a story about a big bull moose coming into contact with a smooth wire, high tensile 12.5 gauge electric fence. The big fellow must have been taken back by someone blocking his way. The moose evidently put his horns down and proceeded to destroy the fence by wandering back and forth pulling out posts and dragging gobs of tangled wire all around through the woods. During hunting season, herds of big game animals become startled and can run right through most any fence. One ranch we worked on would know when the hunters were active, by the fact the neighbors would be calling them, telling them that their cows were out on the county road again. Sure enough, they’d go look and find sections of their barbed wire fence laying flat on the ground. But the right kind of fence, built with wildlife in mind, can actually save money and time in the long run. The first step is to train the people involved.
The People Part A friend of mine a few years back introduced his dad’s ranch to the new style of permanent electric fencing, resulting in one big wreck that ended up proving that this kind of fencing did not work on their ranch. This young fellow had built a New Zealand style, hot wire fence at the base of a hill. The hired men, who couldn’t see how such a simplistic looking smooth wire fence would work on their rough and ready ranch, ran the cow herd down the steep hill right through the wimpy looking wire, thus proving no way could you build such a simple fence and expect it to work! Unfortunately, this is an all too common incident, and it just delays an inexpensive solution that fixes land health problems and, more importantly, addresses the profit related struggles many ranches are now facing. I’m not saying that just fencing fixes problems, but better management fixes problems, and fencing is just one tool among many other tools. After 30 years experience, I know that these fences can be very effective. If an electric fence will buckle your knees when you touch it, you and your animals will not forget that initial experience. This is why a good electric fence works so well. The brain remembers the pain. This people problem thing at times gets in the way of problem solving. The learning curve about adopting new fencing technology does take time. continued on page 12
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Wildlife-Friendly Fencing Made Easy continued from page 11 That’s why anyone considering electric fencing should attend a fencing field day or at least read and study the fence manual completely before they give up.
Strength & Flexibility A recent client of mine stated his new fencing predicament very clearly to me. “Wayne, this new pasture management thing (ten miles of new fence to be built) better work, because we have lots of elk (400 head plus) coming and going on this ranch on a year-a-round basis.” He continued, “I already have enough existing fences to contend with. You had better come up with a ‘bullet-proof’ fencing idea so that all these elk cannot destroy or make my fencing repair work unreasonable. We already have a busy workload, and any more maintenance work just won’t fly around here.” This time/labor/maintenance thing is a common predicament for many farm and ranches to deal with. To overcome the negative aspects and concerns about electric fences, consider the following idea. Buy large diameter fiberglass fence posts. We used 1.25-inch (31-mm) diameter, used-fiberglass sucker rod posts, cut 60 inches (150 cm) in length. They came pre-drilled with three holes. The big advantage here is how tough these posts are. They’re almost bust-proof. To get these posts in hard rocky ground, we custom make a metal pipe sleeve that just fits over the sucker rod post. The sleeve was designed with an extended welded cap on the top of the metal pipe. This pipe was placed over the fiberglass post and then the pipe sleeve and posts are pounded into the ground using a massive, trailer mounted, hydraulic wood post driver. The fiberglass post was so tough that we could raise the driver to five feet (150 cm) above the sleeved post and drop it without damaging the sucker rods. The post may split underground, but they would not break or crack above ground. I learned how tough these posts really were, because once I hydraulically drove one post in the wrong place and proceeded to pull it out. I was in a hurry (typical of a fencer by the job), and threw a chain around the post and tried to pull it out of the ground with my pickup. It didn’t happen. Then I drove my truck right over the post, hoping to break it off. Still it stood upright. So, I finally resorted to cutting it off with a hacksaw. These are some tough posts because the glass in the post still holds the post upright, even after it is broken. The other way The key to wildlife friendly to greatly fencing is flexibility. improve the durability of this style of fence is to exceedingly spread out the line post as far as you can. I built our own boundary fence with the line posts at 120 feet (36 m) apart and it works just fine. Also the wire should not be attached directly to each line post. Instead the wire must float past each
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post. This greatly increases the elasticity of the wire and the whole fence. To test to see if your fence is really “bust-proof,” you should be able to step on the wire and push it to the ground without anything breaking on the fence. Insulators easily pop off steel or wood posts. If you use fiberglass posts the whole post becomes your insulator. This eliminates the need to buy insulators. Be sure to h Solid Fiberglass secure the wire to Hig re Fence Post - 7/8 ge e Wi tied u the fiberglass post to 1-1/4 Ga nsil t be e wire s u 5 e . M fenc e inch dia. e12 T in a manner that it mov Wir und with Key se aro ire can r e o t lo the w floats past each preCot so drilled post. To do this, hole use cotter-key type Tool - aids wire ties. They Wire Twistwire loose e th g in ty look like bobbypins. They are made of soft The fence wire must float past the post for flexible wire that maximum flexibility. look like a 4-inch (10-cm) bobby pin, pre-bent with the round loop that slips over the fence wire. Loop these wire clips over the fence wire first and then feed the long end through the drilled hole in the fiberglass post. Be sure to spin the extra tie-wire around the post and then over the fence wire in a loose manner. You want the wire to have movement past the post. This gives that stretching and movement flexibility that is needed to reduce fence damage during animal contact. The ten miles of fence we constructed on the ranch with all the elk has almost no problems with the elk crossing the hot wires. However, the elk still are knocking down that rancher’s barbed wire fences. This rancher also leaves the fence charger on all year long, which helps remind any animal that this style of fence hurts. This is another important key to keeping the fence maintenance work down. Don Youngbauer, a full time dentist and ranch owner, can build, by himself, 1.5 miles (2.5 km) of this kind of fence in rough rocky coulees (gully) in one day. He builds his fence in a zig-zag manner—not straight. He used flexible fiberglass post with holes drilled in them. He said that when deer or other large animals cross this one-wire electric fence, the outside posts just tip in a bit, taking the pressure off the whole fence. If you build the fence perfectly straight and pull the wire tight, the pressure is much greater (the whole fence lacks the needed flexibility). When something hits the straight fence, all the increased pressure is on the line posts and you pop insulators off or pull the posts right out of the ground in low places. He also leaves the wire a bit loose, which as mentioned earlier, is very important. This zig zag fence method I feel may be a real break-through in speeding up the fence building time (saves $$$) because you don’t have to look back to see how straight your fence looks, and it will greatly reduce the fence maintenance with less breakage due to the zig-zag stress reducer. Smooth wire fencing, if designed right for the purpose you have in mind, is a great tool to improve pasture management. It just takes some learning, forethought, and a little extra time to keep this kind of fence working. Wayne Burleson is a Holistic Management® Certified Educator working out of Absarokee, Montana. If you have any questions about electric fencing, feel free to contact Wayne at 406/328-6808 or firstname.lastname@example.org He also has an educational website at http://www.pasturemanagement.com.
News From the Front by Bruce Ward Editor’s note: This article is an excerpt from an article titled “South Africa and Zimbabwe” written by Bruce for IMPACT, the Australian newsletter. Bruce and a number of Australians toured South Africa and Zimbabwe with Certified Educators Jim & Daniela Howell in the spring of 2004 and attended the South African Holistic Management conference as part of that tour. The full article appeared in the June 2004 issue.
Density Coupled with the management of time is the management of density, and they are striving much of the time for densities in the order of 500 to 2,000 head of cattle per hectare (200-800 per acre) during the growing season. The effect of their efforts are quite remarkable. In the growing season just finished, the rainfall was about 22 percent of average. Over the last few years both farmers have doubled their carrying capacity, and expect to double it again over time. Our observation was that they already have adequate fodder to achieve this result. What was also striking was the dramatic change in plant physiology. Hypperenia is conventionally a pale green color, exhibiting a narrowish leaf. These blokes have a plant that is dark green in color with visibly wider leaf blades. Both farmers expect that as the environment the plants live in becomes healthier, they will be able to widen their recovery periods. Time will tell on this one, but it is clear they recognize that the short recovery periods now being used are not likely to increase biodiversity. What they are doing now is staying ‘in the game’ whilst they actively observe and plan the next steps. The tick issue is a major one for these farmers. They have found that their own genetics largely deal with the problem, but they do use a wick-wiper placed over the entry to their Free Choice Mineral carts. The stock learn to dose themselves around the head, where the brown ear tick resides, with a pyrethrum-based liquid.
n South Africa, much of the area we visited is grassed almost exclusively by hyperennia Hirta, which we know in Australia as Coolatai grass. It is widespread in the Northern Tablelands of New South Wales and southern Queensland, and is noted for being difficult to manage and achieve adequate animal performance. South Africans Ian MitchellInnes and Ian Riddell appear to have made breakthroughs on this front, and it is possible these will have application for us in Australia, in all sub-tropical and perhaps tropical environments as well. Please assume that all the material contained in this article may be wrong, and monitor in your own situation, towards your own holistic goal. The information is just that, information, not a recipe. The basis of their approach is that there is more than a 90 percent mono-culture of this Jim Howell inspecting a South African wick wiper for brown ear tick. grass, and that in the short term the task is not to increase the number of species but to make the existing species more effective in supporting their businesses. The tools for doing this are time, density, and technology.
Time Ian and Ian have moved their recovery period towards the 25 or 30 day period. Both farmers are using careful observation of the pH of the urine of the cattle. By the way, they live in an area once well populated with sheep, which are now completely gone. They strive to maintain pH close to neutral (7.0), and have observed that pH rises sharply after about 30 days, and animal performance drops off rapidly. The technology involved is a simple roll of litmus paper, and daily observations. Early in the growing season it is easy to maintain the recovery period in the cell, but after a while, growth exceeds the capacity of the livestock on hand. Cattle cannot be brought in to more evenly match pasture production, as they quickly die from the effects of the brown ear tick, so herd size is a function of reproductive capacity. As the grass volume moves ahead of the stock, paddocks are progressively dropped out as a planned event, and become ‘haystacks’ for the non-growth season. The objective is to keep the animals on high quality feed throughout the growing season.
There is always a downside to any upside. In South Africa, the problem appears to be a widespread decline in herd fertility. In the case of the Speedie family, in recent years it has dramatically dropped to below 30 percent, which would seem a little disconcerting. The problem does not appear to be management specific—all sorts of herds running under a wide range of grazing regimes in all parts of the country appear to be affected. The finger appears to point towards the increasing use of molasses. The theory, so far not proven beyond doubt, but supported by significant anecdotal evidence, is as follows: There is a widespread use of the chemical atrazine in the cane industry. The belief is that some of this material is retained in the plants at very, very low levels. The process of crushing the cane and producing molasses is one of concentration, and the chemical material is doing just that, concentrating in the molasses by-product of sugar production. The sting in the tail seems to be that the presence of atrazine in a mother cow during the first 30 days of pregnancy is thought to affect a female foetus, so that whilst it develops normally into an adult animal, and ovulates normally throughout her life, she can never produce a viable egg
continued on page 14
Land & Livestock
News From the Front
continued from page 13
in her lifetime! As I say, the theory is not proven, and is widely debated at the moment, but something adverse is happening to many people that is so far unexplained. Molasses is widely, and increasingly, used in South Africa. It has a seemingly valuable part to play in assisting animals to consume the vast amounts of dry grass being carried into the non-growth season, so there is concern about the future for many people, and I feel we should be similarly concerned ourselves in Australia.
Progress At the West Ranch
One additional concern is urea. One of the speakers at Vryburg gave a most graphic account of the potential effect of urea used as a protein supplement in livestock. In particular, he drew our attention to the permanent damage urea can make to the wall of the rumen, and the consequent lifelong effect on animal performance. Perhaps the best one-liner of the trip came from this presenter, who said, “When you mess with the rumen, you mess with your bank manager!” Bruce Ward is a Holistic Management® Certified Educator who lives in Milsons Point, New South Wales. He can be reached at: email@example.com or 61-2-9929-5568.
began with four large pastures and now have two pastures cut into four paddocks, and by the end of the year another will be divided into three continued from page 2 paddocks and another into five. Our intern program is on hold at the moment, but our last intern, Cause and Effect—Does burning or the tool of fire address the cause of Janice Ramirez-Castro, was here until July. Her eleven months with us was invasion of cedar? No. The cause of cedar invasion is the way the land very successful. She also completed her distance learning program with has been managed—rest from livestock and continuous grazing that Dr. Dick Richardson of the University of Texas and received her degree caused diversity of grasses to die out—leaving bare ground—and knowing in Mexico City in October. that the ranch tends toward the brittle end of the scale means fire will The program for school children has continued to grow. We recently just cause more bare ground. provided two field days for students from the local school system. FiftyWeak link seven kindergarten students from Ozona, Texas came for a day and Social—Fire would not bother anyone as it is used widely in this area. participated in activities to learn about ranchers, native Biological—Does not vegetation, and hair sheep. We also hosted the Ozona High attack the species School FFA wildlife management class. The class spent their day (cedar) when it is learning about key principles of Holistic Management and toured most vulnerable the ranch to see how those principles are being put into practice. (germination). In all we have had 242 Ozona school children here in for Financial—Our weak outdoor learning experiences in 2004. We hosted a field day link is product with HRM of Texas, and conversion so it also The Savory Center does not address Board meeting in June. the weak link. We have had cooperation Marginal Reaction— with NRCS and Texas Doesn’t move us toward Parks and Wildlife for our holistic goal several projects. compared to other actions like increased We are encouraged animal impact would. by the progress that has Gross Profit Analysis—Doesn’t apply. been made, but are not Energy/Money Source & Use—Doesn’t cost surprised by the land’s much money or require energy, but doesn’t Ozona FFA students with Joe Maddox, ranch manager, looked at livestock response to the change address problem either. and grass at West Ranch, while the kindergarten classes learned about in management. As Sustainability—Does not move us toward our the people, plants and animals at West Ranch. you look out over the future resource base as mentioned above. landscape that was Social/Culture—Doesn’t feel good because of our first field day participants, you can described as a moonscape by the air pollution and the damage it does to the wildlife and soil. see green, healthy grasses, among the cedar, rocks, and prickly pear, just After some research, we learned that fire does not kill red berry cedar waiting to be grazed. which is the predominant cedar here. Our conclusion was that cedar was a symptom of the problem of bare ground and the way the land had Peggy and Joe Maddox are Ranch Managers for The West Ranch. been managed. Through our financial planning, we are going forward Peggy is also Director of Public Relations & Education for the West with the land plan and building portable electric fences as the income Ranch. She is also in The Savory Center’s Certified Educator Training allows and using Holistic Management® Grazing Planning to move us Program. She can be reached at: 325/392-2292 or firstname.lastname@example.org toward the future resource base description in our holistic goal. We
Land & Livestock
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GRAPEVINE n ews f ro m t h e s a vo r y c e n t e r * p e o p l e , p ro g ra m s & p ro j e c t s
As part of the EcoAgriculture Conference, participants visited the Maasai villages near Nairobi, where the Maasai are attempting to make most of their living through tourism.
Holistic Management and EcoAgriculture
llan Savory and Savory Center International Training Programs Director Constance Neely represented The Savory Center at the International Conference on EcoAgriculture held in Nairobi, Kenya, September 26-30. As a result of their participation, two of the approximate 15 recommendations coming out of the conference were specific to Holistic Management: • Urge stakeholders at all levels to support, adopt, and advance EcoAgriculture while using holistic decision making frameworks that seriously embrace complexity; and, • Build peoples’ capacities to engage in holistic policy development through education, training, networking, public awareness and negotiation at various levels; and creating mechanisms, frameworks and platforms to institutionalize the mechanisms that effectively engage the community in policy development. These recommendations were in part due to a special presentation on Holistic Management Allan was asked to give, and to a session on policy development facilitated by Constance. Approximately 250 people from 46 countries attended the conference. The Africa Centre for Holistic Management and The Savory Center are members of the EcoAgriculture Initiative, a partnership initiated in 2002 and jointly sponsored by the International Union for Conservation and
Development (IUCN), Forest Trends, and the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF). Ecoagriculture refers to sustainable agriculture and associated natural resources management systems that embrace and simultaneously enhance productivity, rural livelihoods, ecosystem services and biodiversity. (The Africa Centre’s work in Zimbabwe is one example.) This was an important meeting for networking, for introducing new people to Holistic Management, and enhancing the knowledge of those who were already familiar with its concepts. We look forward to working with this organization and the other EcoAgriculture partners on implementing the conference recommendations.
Members Win Awards
everal Holistic Management practitioners were awarded Honorable Mention from Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education (SARE) for the Patrick Madden Award, including Fred Hays of West Virginia, Doc and Connie Hatfield of Oregon, and Kim Barker of Oklahoma. All nominees are nominated by a third-party and a review committee uses a competitive process to select those receiving awards. Awards are based on the producers’ profitability and value of the environment and their communities. Congratulations to all of you.
he Savory Center is offering several new products that you can order online or by calling or faxing The Savory Center. Stockmanship: A powerful tool for grazing lands management by Steve Cote, with funding from the USDA NRCS and the Butte Soil and Water Conservation District in Idaho, is an extremely accessible and well-written book that explains the principles of low-stress livestock handling and how it can help you achieve your grazing plan. Steve graduated from The Savory Center Ranch & Range Manager Training Program and has a strong understanding of holistic planned grazing so he sets the stage for the need for good livestock handling skills. With
easy to understand diagrams and stories of many different scenarios, this book is one of the best explanations of low-stress livestock handling that serves well as a refresher or as an introduction to begin your explorations with livestock handling. Healing the Land Through Multi-Species Grazing, a video created by Don Nelson as part of a his work with Washington State University Extension and a Sustainable Agriculture Research & Education Professional Development Grant, is a great introduction to the concepts of multi-species grazing as a land reclamation tool. It depicts the activities of this two-year regional project, including interviews with a variety of state and federal agency employees, ranchers, and county weed board employees. Its also has a great explanation of Holistic Management and how it ties into the effective uses of livestock as a reclamation tool and for collaboration. Beyond the Rangeland Conflict: Toward A West That Works is back by popular demand. We are selling Dan Dagget’s book, published in 1998, because it offers such excellent photo and written essays on how ranchers are making a difference on the land. These autographed editions are great presents for the rancher, environmentalist, or coffee table book lover. Ordering information and prices for these products are available on the back page.
Albuquerque Office Staff Changes erri Telles is our newest Savory Center staff member in the Albuquerque office and replaces Alicia Schell as the Terri Telles Finance Coordinator. She brings to the position three years of bookkeeping and accounting experience from both the private and nonprofit sectors, most recently from her positions at the First State Bank, Albuquerque, and Child Advocates San Antonio (CASA), Texas. Terri says that the pace and atmosphere of the nonprofit world suit her very well, as does the New Mexican landscape. A native of west Texas, Terri loves the snow in the mountains and camping. Terri is the mother of a seven-year-old son, Mark. Both Terri and Mark are avid bowlers. Welcome, Terri!
Ideas, Suggestions, Comments & Corrections
received the September issue of IN PRACTICE (#97) and noticed the story on Wonderland Ranch on page six. I am pleased to see an article involving something besides ranching. However, upon reading it some of it just did not make any sense to me. It has been a customary linear practice to fertilize a pond to create a crash and cycle to take out weeds. A more holistic approach would be to look at what is causing the problem by structured diagnosis. I won’t bore you with that here, but just tell you the problem is caused by humans and the tendency to create biodiversity loss. So, if we are looking for what is missing, we look to ecosystem processes and at how things would normally function to get moving in the correct direction. Indeed aquatic plants play an important role or two in this ecosystem. The normally accepted amount of weed cover is around twenty percent. The weeds serve several important functions at this level. The weeds provide vital cover for small fish to avoid predation. Twenty percent cover consumes excess nutrients in the water and binds toxic elements such as various metals. The same ratio provides an oxygen rich environment for aquatic life to survive without taking out too much oxygen at night when plants consume oxygen rather than make it. When the sun is shining and the plants are producing oxygen, the byproduct is bicarbonates which controls the pH level of the water and prevents it from going too low in the wee hours of the morning, thus causing a crash and killing the fish. This is the direct link to the soil mineral cycle. Most aquatic plants also put out natural toxins designed to stop competition in the form of algae, thus they keep the water clear and more favorable to the formation of zoo plankton, another vital piece that grows fish from hatch to fingerling just at the right time. Without the plants, micro plants known as phytoplankton will dominate. Phytoplankton is
good food for various species, but game species need zoo plankton, so a balance is needed, which again the plants are taking care of. Or worse, you may get a serious problem with larger algae species, which can gum up everything. The problem with the linear scenario described in Chad McKellar’s article is that the stage is set for not much life to go on in the pond. It is an imitation system destined to crash. Nutrients are supplied, algae grows quickly (known as a bloom) then crashes. The nutrients remain, and now zoo plankton comes on quickly, then dies of starvation. This time, since it is animal, nutrients are first in the form of ammonia, which can and will cause a “turnover.” A turnover is when air movement slowly turns over the water in the pond, thus putting the dirty water from the bottom on top with ammonia that in turn quickly depletes the dissolved oxygen and kills a large amount of fish. The cycle described will repeat over and over at closing intervals as the amount of organic matter not processed and flushed out by aquatic animals increases until you have eventually created an aquatic desert. A more holistic approach might be to allow and maintain a certain amount of vegetation in the pond. What else is missing? Aquatic herbivores are important. Having a few muskrats for bog plants and the incorporation of fish that eat vegetation will create the desired effect. I use the White Amur (grass carp) and the common Koi carp. These fish consume the plants but don’t eradicate them. They process nutrients in such a way as to dissolve them and pass them harmlessly back into the water and soil, thus preventing a build up of more and more dead organic matter on the bottom, which consumes more and more dissolved oxygen from the water. Unfortunately, the practice described in the article would indeed create a desert that wildlife
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could find little use for and at some point even poison your livestock. With the loss of wildlife interest, our problem is now crawling out of the water to the greater whole on land with all of its implications also. I hope this sheds some light on the issue and again thanks for including this article. Fred Hays Elkview, West Virginia
Chad McKellar’s response
red is right. If there were no other plants in the pond water then I would have caused the wrong effect/results, but the cattails take care of that link. We have 1/8th of the shores with cattails that provide the cover for the juvenile fish. And just yesterday, as every year, I snap the heads off of the cattails, thus keeping the population under control. This takes three plus hours, but the alternative would be to poison the water and killing all the cattails and vegetation and probably screwing up the fish population. It would take a truckload of fresh manure/fertilizer to get “too” much nitrogen, thus too much phytoplankton, so I’m never concerned about overdoing the algae. The cattails just provide the habitats for the juvenile fish and do nothing for or to the algae population. The addition of nitrogen/manure do nothing for the grasses/forbs along the side of the pond. They just do there own thing. This is probably our ninth or tenth year of doing this, and if anything I’ve made a healthier pond. With a two-acre pond, I’ll use four burlap bags of my formula, and I’ll get a complete cover of phytoplankton and no weeds at all. Yet if I use just two bags, I get spotted weed growth. One bag turns out to be too little. Chad McKellar Colorado Springs, Colorado
To our knowledge, Certified Educators are the best qualified individuals to help others learn to practice Holistic Management and to provide them with technical assistance when necessary. On a yearly basis, Certified Educators renew their agreement to be affiliated with the Center. This agreement requires their commitment to practice Holistic Management in their own lives, to seek out opportunities for staying current with the latest developments in Holistic Management and to maintain a high standard of ethical conduct in their work. For more information about or application forms for the U.S., Africa, or International Certified Educator Training Programs, contact Kelly Pasztor at the Savory Center or visit our website at www.holisticmanagement.org/wwo_certed.cfm?
* These educators provide Holistic Management instruction on behalf of the institutions they represent. UNITED STATES ARIZONA Kelly Mulville HC1, Box 1125, Sonoita, AZ 85637 520/455-5696 email@example.com CALIFORNIA Monte Bell 325 Meadowood Dr., Orland, CA 95963 530/865-3246 • firstname.lastname@example.org
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Progress at The West Ranch Terra Madre—Celebrating Food and Those Who Produce It Terra Madre 2004—Bringing A Global Perspective to the...
Published on Feb 15, 2013
Progress at The West Ranch Terra Madre—Celebrating Food and Those Who Produce It Terra Madre 2004—Bringing A Global Perspective to the...