Commercial Farm Projects, Courses/Workshops, Land, Livestock, Rehabilitation, Soil Conservation, Water Harvesting —
by Owen Hablutzel May 3, 2013
Though too often vilified, both ‘cows’ and ‘plows’ have proven to be among our most effective and available tools for restoring healthy ecological and eco-agricultural systems in our landscapes. Bucking the trend in conservation that has denounced these tools from early on was Aldo Leopold – perhaps best known for his influential Land Ethic from 1948. In his earlier, groundbreaking book about working with ecosystems and wildlife, Game Management (1933), his preface made the visionary but provocative claim that “Game can be restored by the creative use of the same tools which have heretofore destroyed it — ax, plow, cow, fire, and gun.”
Allan Savory at Circle Ranch, June 2009
Almost every American wildlife agency, conservation organization, university, wildlife and range scientist is pledged to the North American Model of Wildlife Conservation. The Model lists its Core Principal #6 as:
“6. Science Is the Proper Tool to Discharge Wildlife Policy (more…)
Circle Ranch is in the high-mountain deserts of far-West Texas, where we get about 11 inches of rainfall annually. Generally, our lower country like this desert is very dry, but the ranch has big draws that run throughout it which create unique ecosystems in a very dry area. Much of the grass that is growing in this draw, photographed with a telephoto lens from a high mountain vantage point, is the giant sacaton grass. Sacaton is considered an inferior pasture grass based on the theory that cattle don’t like it.
Desertification is a fancy word for land that is turning to desert,” begins Allan Savory in this quietly powerful talk (below).
And terrifyingly, it’s happening to about two-thirds of the world’s grasslands, accelerating climate change and causing traditional grazing societies to descend into social chaos. Savory has devoted his life to stopping it.
This essay was originally published in Acres magazine. It also appeared onTheSolutionsJournal.com. For more of Courtney White’s writing on conservation and agriculture see: www.awestthatworks.com.>
Author: Courtney White
Since the late 1990s, Australian farmer Colin Seis has been successfully planting a cereal crop into perennial pasture on his sheep farm during the dormant period using no-till drilling, a method that uses a drill to sow seeds instead of the traditional plow. He calls it pasture cropping and he gains two crops this way from one parcel of land—a cereal crop for food or forage and wool or lamb meat from his pastures—which means its potential for feeding the world in a sustainable manner is significant.
As Seis tells the story, the idea for pasture cropping came to him and a friend from the bottom of a beer bottle. Ten of them, in fact.
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