Take the time to listen to this great interview with our friend Jim Howell, in which he explains how cattle ranching can restore rangeland viability.
NOTE: post initially appeared on MountainPrarie.com
Jim Howell is the CEO of Grasslands LLC, which is the land management arm of the Savory Institute, an organization that Jim co-founded. Both Grasslands and Savory focus on conserving and restoring the world’s grasslands through what they call “Holistic Management.” We discuss the details of Holistic Managment in the interview, but the basic idea is that the world’s grasses evolved to be grazed, and they need to be grazed in a natural manner to be healthy and resilient.
Jim and his team use livestock to mimic natural grazing patterns from hundreds of thousands of years ago, long before the world’s grasslands were covered with people, fences, houses, and cities. Savory and Grasslands’ results speak for themselves—after just a few years of holistic managment, their ranches are measurably healthier, more productive, more biodiverse, and more financially successful.
Even if you have absolutely no interest in grazing or ranches, you still need to listen to this interview, because the work Jim and his team are doing has a positive effect on land, people, plants, animals, and communities all around the world. Anyone who considers themselves to be conservation-minded and loves the outdoors needs to understand Jim’s work. I have no doubt that you’ll gain a new appreciation for the role that livestock needs to play in conserving grasslands around the world. Even if you’re a vegan living in New York City, you’ll gain some valuable insights from Jim’s point of view.
Jim is also an experienced world traveler, an avid reader, and an author, having written one of the best books I’ve read on land and conservation in the West and beyond: For the Love of Land: Global Case Studies of Grazing in Nature’s Image. And on top of all of that, he finds the time to run ultra-marathons and has completed some of the most challenging 50-mile trail races in Colorado.
Between Jim’s professional and personal interests, we had a lot to discuss. It was a fun conversation filled with valuable information, so I hope you enjoy.
Jim surveying grass at Circle Ranch, “back in the day”…