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Good For the Land

July 30, 2012 - Thanks to The Christian Science Monitor for discussing the inroads being made by Holistic Management in this country.  I'll be talking about some of what I learned from their article today.  If you'd care to read the CSM article, you can find it here: http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/2012/0729/New-breed-of-ranchers-shapes-a-sustainable-West
Or, if you'd like to learn a little background about the subject, here's a past post of mine:
http://www.writeaboutwarming.blogspot.com/2011/10/change-for-better.html

Imagine this: Ted Turner is one of the leaders of the HM movement in this country!   It may not surprise you to find out that he doesn't know he is, but he is.  (Turner is an oddly prescient human being who often sounds/appears not to know what the day of the week is.  His business decisions frequently seem to rest upon what feels right.  His instincts, and values, are good, however, and he can many times be found on the cutting edge of whatever latest movement he's decided he cares about.)   Turner is one of the two biggest landowners in the United States, whose holdings comprise 2 million acres (we're talking, of course, about the western United States).  He raises bison on his land in Montana, rotating them on pastureland in order to preclude over-grazing.  The happy result - and one of the primary goals of Holistic Management - is grasslands that are no longer headed in the direction of desertification, and which are capable of supporting greater biological diversity, i.e., many different types of grass.

Another project undertaken by Turner has been the restoration of streams and rivers that belong to him, by preventing cattle from traversing them and causing sedimentation.  This, in turn, has allowed for the re-introduction of cutthroat trout to Cherry Creek.  Large predators like wolves and grizzlies now roam his property as well.  His bison herd, raised on properties in five states, consists of 55,000 animals.  The Flying D Ranch, his prized possession, serves as a home to all of our country's largest mammals: wolves, grizzlies, moose, elk, bighorn sheep, pronghorn, and whitetail and mule deer.

John Malone, chairman of Liberty Media Corporation, owns a bit more land than does Turner, with property made up of 2.3 million acres.  Malone is unflinching in giving Turner credit for schooling him in the importance of good land stewardship.  Ted Turner is equally as forthright in his attempts to coax other large land owners to practice sustainable land management.  Turner has the street cred to do it: over a dozen threatened plants and animals now reside on his lands that did not occupy them before.

Then there's the J Bar L Ranch, owned by Peggy Dulany, daughter of David Rockefeller.  She's a very down-to-earth, pragmatic sustainable rancher.  She understands that choosing the road less traveled can result in the occasional failed experiment.  Overall, though, she's happy with the results, and happy with the condition of her land.  While there are those who insist that it's easy for her, because she can bear the loss, Peggy insists that even she won't engage in throwing money away.  In fact, her "Yellowstone Grassfed" beef
made its way to nearly a quarter of a million plates last year.  Good for the land, and good for the consumer.  Can all ranchers say that?










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