Grazing Conference – Roots of Resilience
Chances are, if you’re involved in livestock production, you’ve heard something about rotational grazing. Chances are, if you’re reading this blog, you’ve also heard a thing or two about Holistic Planned Grazing and the difference between the two. Many of you have seen the dramatic fence-line pictures, the breathtaking before-and-afters. But many folks, from producers to environmentalists, are left with nagging questions about the scientific validity of a multi-paddock approach to grazing. Many livestock producers, at least in the Pacific Northwest, where our Savory Hub, the Pacific Northwest Center for Holistic Management, is located, wonder why, in a time of record-high beef prices and profitability, they should worry about spending extra money for infrastructure. Environmental groups argue that there is no basis for claims that livestock can be kept from degrading ecosystems, let alone improving them.
One of academia’s biggest champions for multi-paddock grazing, Richard Teague, will be the keynote speaker at the Roots of Resilience grazing conference in Antelope, Oregon on May 6-7. Teague, originally hailing from Rhodesia, and now a researcher at Texas A&M, has brought a whole-ranch approach to his research of adaptive management and multi-paddock grazing, more typical of how ranchers deal with real life situations than your typical scientific trial. His research has found that planned grazing yields better production, higher profits, and healthier, more resilient forage plants. Teague is one of the most knowledgeable authorities on planned grazing and how it impacts ranch managers, measuring biological, financial, and social results.
One of the most impactful moments in my life occurred the last time that Teague visited the Northwest United States. I distinctly remember him standing in front of a skeptical group of central-Washington ranchers, imploring them to think about the potential impact of climate change on their ranches. “You don’t buy home insurance because you think your house is going to burn down,” he told them. In other words, even if you don’t totally buy into the concept of global warming, you still ought to manage for resiliency. You don’t have to believe in climate change in order to take advantage of better water infiltration, healthier forage, and higher profits.
Work plus R&R. Ahhh… just what you need. WFR is peaceful, picturesque, and fully focused on hospitality.
I hope this message hits home again as Teague speaks to a diverse group of policy makers, ranchers, and environmental groups at the picturesque Washington Family Ranch in Antelope next month. Livestock, properly managed are integral to land health. Proper management is also integral to the social and financial profitability of ranchers. This conference is an opportunity to learn both from experts and each other in interactive, hands-on exercises to create a grazing plan and evaluate your results.
Visit pnchm.org for more information. Details at:
Evenings will feature the musical stylings of internationally renowned yodeler, Beth Robinette.
Author bio: Beth Robinette is a fourth-generation cattle rancher and food systems activist in Spokane, Washington. She is also a second-generation Holistic Management Educator and founding member of the Pacific Northwest Center for Holistic Management, a Savory Institute Hub. She loves red cows (even though she only owns black ones), fast ponies, and making small children laugh. She is not actually a world-renowned yodeler, but she has yodeled outside of the United States, and isn’t that basically the same thing? Learn more about her family ranch at http://www.lazyrbeef.com.