Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Hypocrisy Of The Current Cattle Markets And World Hunger

With the latest trend in cattle prices, there is little doubt that our government is in collusion with the mega corporations controlling “world trade.” NCBA, led by packers, convinced our government of the “need” to import fresh beef from Brazil. At the same time the record high prices of the last couple of years have seen an astronomical free fall, to the point many producers are wondering how to survive.

The irony is a mere 21 years ago the NCBA was actually the NCA wasn't inclusive of the packers which make up the “beef” end of the industry. Adding to irony is that JBS, the largest cattle feeding and beef packing company was at the forefront of the drive to allow fresh beef imports from Brazil...Where coincidentally, JBS is also the biggest exporter of beef in the country. Yet another amazingly ironic coincidence, is the Brazilian Real is worth just over $0.31. With Brazilian prices at 1.61 Real, US prices would need to drop to roughly $0.70 to “compete.”

Yet the problem with the cattle and beef industry is not isolated. Governments and the media tell us we are need to increase production of food for a growing population. Government programs and nonprofit organizations spend untold billions of dollars supposedly addressing the problem of malnutrition around the world. The problem is not production, but distribution. American dairy producers have been forced to dump over 43,000,000 gallons of milk this year because of “over production.” Produce farmers in California are forced to dump millions of tons of “excess” produce every year, while Mexico exports millions of tons of the same produce to supermarkets here in the USA (while there population is forced to illegally cross the border into our country in order to survive.)

Part of the problem is that food is considered a “commodity” rather than a necessity. As such, production as well as price depends on arbitrary prices and orders determined by a “market” which in reality has become increasingly irrelevant. It is physically impossible for hunger and excess food to simultaneous exist on a planet where food may be distributed to any part of the world within two days. Yet somehow both are existing side by side as corporations dealing in food commodities profit in the billions while conducting business practices which force the destruction of food, and a reduction in people growing food.

The hypocrisy of economists, governments and organizations around the world,claiming to be fighting hunger in the world, is that their market systems and agriculture policies result in the destruction of food rather than the distribution to those in need. Their policies cater to a few mega corporations rather than the survival of the individual farmers growing the food. In my next post I will address how the cattle industry (at least in the USA) we may be able to at least partially circumvent the markets.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Holistic/Regenerative Grazing to Become a Requirement on Federal Grazing Leases?

A bill introduced into Congress last spring.   shows  that holistic or other regenerative grazing methods may be required before long as a condition to graze federal permits. As everyone "knows" this is going to mean a lot of what I call "recreational fencing." The reason I call it that is because the fencing isn't really necessary to control where and when cattle graze. Actually leaving  one or more herders in the cattle isn't necessary either. 

While call cattle herd animals we also think it is natural cattle instinct for them to graze apart. One of the unorthodox beliefs of those who claim the vast herd of bison, as well as the vast herds of grazing wildlife in Africa, is that these herds are controlled by predators.  There are the same amount of predators at anytime of the year, so if predators were actually the control mechanism for herds to come together into the mega herds, they would be together year round. Instead they come together in times of plentiful feed and water ("mysteriously" coinciding with breeding season) and break apart in times of less feed and water.  Basically these animals come together in times when competitive stress for feed and water is nonexistent, and break into smaller groups when they are forced to competing for feed and water.

Basically cattle are no different. Once you remove handling stress, and they do not have to compete for water, they will come together just as the wild herds do.  By instilling this behavior in cattle it is possible to follow complex grazing plans in nearly any sort of terrain by simply taking them off of water each day (when they are ready to go back out to graze) and setting them on the path you wish them to follow. This not only eliminates the need for multiple small pastures, it also eliminates the one thing which causes poor animal performance in these systems, which is estimating the feed for a day, and using temporary fencing to hold them there.  There will be times when you may need to change their grazing paths daily, and other times you may be able to let them go for several days. In riparian areas, you need to pick them up as they come to water and change where they will water, then when they are ready to go graze, send them on a new grazing path. Their proximity to each other will be as close together, or as far apart as forage dictates. The better the forage, the closer together they will be.

 This short video will give you an idea of how much cattle behavior can change in as little as five days. While watching this, notice the mountains in the background. By using the effects of herd behavior, this rancher managed to graze these  mountains at a high density the following winter, which resulted in the regeneration of two cool season grasses which were thought to be extinct in the area. Over the past ten years he has also reduced his grazing requirements from 90 acres per cow (with supplemental feeding for 5 months and weaning calves at 4 months) to only 25 acres per cow, eliminating all supplement but sea salt, and keeping his calves until they are 10 months old.
Between now and the 10th of October I will be producing a professionally filmed and edited, drone based video to show how the process of rebooting herd instinct is accomplished. I will describe the various techniques to turn cattle with indirect pressure to reduce stress on the cattle,  then demonstrate each one several times, with the drone following at an angle where you may see the exact angles being used, as well as the animal's behavioral response. The drone will then follow me through the process of rebooting herd instinct into 300 head of yearlings so you can track the behavioral changes in the herd throughout the process.

In order to raise the funds for production, I have set up a gofund account to take pre release orders on this video. At the current time, all contributions to this fund of $30 and over will receive a copy of the dvd as soon as editing and captioning are finished. To get your copy now, follow the link below.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Over Halfway to Goal for Drone Based Stockmanship Video!

We are just over half way to the $7,000 goal to produce the professionally filmed and edited, drone based stockmanship video! This will be the first stockmansip video of its kind. Techniques will be described, then demonstrated several times, filmed by the drone at an angle viewers will be able to actually see exactly what the stockman is doing, as well as how the cattle react, with no distractions. Once the techniques have been covered, the drone will follow me through the process of rebooting herd instinct into 300 yearlings so that viewers may observe both the techniques as well as the stages of behavioral changes the cattle go through. Once herd instinct has been rebooted, they can be taken through grazing plans without breaking pastures into small paddocks.

The picture below was taken the second night of a recent school in Mexico. To make your pre release order, click here. There are several sponsor openings available. Sponsors will have their logos and web url in the credits, as well as on the dvd jacket, and will be eligible to receive the dvd's for their own promotions and events at cost plus shipping. If you are interested,  leave me a comment or contact me on facebook.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Fundraising For Drone Based Video

Using the right grazing management can bring back your grass to where it was 100 years ago. This is made easier using stockmanship methods which allow you to follow grazing plans without using fences.

Several of the ranchers in this video use are using the stockmanship techniques I taught them in regenerating these ranches as it allows them to concentrate their herds where it is nearly impossible to build fence.

Currently trying to raise money to produce a professionally filmed, drone based, video of these techniques on the Circle Ranch in Hudspeth county, Texas. In order to make the information available to as many as possible, there will be versions in both English and Spanish. Both versions will be available for free in segments on YouTube, as well as for sale on Amazon in all available formats.

A $30 donation will get you a copy of the cd when it is finished! Corporate and non-profits partnering with me on this video will be able to get as many as they want in either version at cost plus shipping, plus be acknowledged in the credits of the video. (please contact me direct for information on partnering with me on the video)

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Improving The Value Of Your Ranch Without Increasing Taxes

IN many areas, property taxes on rangeland are based on set amounts per acre, rather than the actual value of the range. These two properties are taxed at the same per acre rate despite the fact that the one on the top is more valuable for either grazing or wildlife habitat.  

     These two pictures are from adjoining ranches, and only eight years previously, these two properties were in identical condition. This rangeland improvement was achieved without spiking, fertilizing, irrigation, or mechanical methods. Even more amazing is the fact is that for half the time of this improvement, there was a drought!
     In many instances this can be achieved with minimal adjustments to the infrastructure so that after the first year. With prices for leased pasture, one can possibly get paid to improve  range conditions, rather than spending money to make improvements. Overall costs associated with infrastructure and labor with this pasture improvement method can be reduced even farther by implementing the proper stockmanship methods to allow for controlled grazing without using small paddocks. 
     For more information, visit Natural Cattle Handling or email me.

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

How Removing Grazing Destroys Grasslands

Despite Alan Savory's Ted talk, there are still a lot of disbelievers out there promoting the removal of livestock to conserve the land. I've been in a running discussion with a local ranch trying to convince them they needed to start grazing before they destroyed some large areas of grass. Last year it was obvious that large areas of grass were at the point where they were going to oxidize and die, but they would not believe it. Last week I visited the ranch and took this video. There are several thousand acres in this same condition.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Attorney's Opinion on Why Federal Lands in Individual States are Unconstitutional

Several years ago I wrote as to why federal lands within the individual states are illegal. Now an attorney has come out with a video explaining exactly what I wrote about several years ago.