The Land and The Herd Are Meant To Last Forever

Posted by Will Harris
Mar 6, 2017 3:53:56 PM

Bulls Sheep Creek Pasture

The land and the herd [or flock, or drove, or mob] are meant to last forever. If they are left unravaged, the land and herd will thrive.

  • If they are given a little care, the land and herd will improve, every year, in perpetuity.
  • The herd will become stronger, through natural selection, as it procreates its way through succeeding generations.
  • The land will become richer, as it builds its microbial life, through the photosynthetic harvest of the sun's energy & rain, and the accumulation of carbon from the air.

Cows in Morning Sun cattle pasture

This perpetual system requires ownership that takes its view in centuries or generations. It thrives only when managed by someone like the native people of this area, a multi-generational family, a benevolent institution, or some other long-term ownership.

The system perishes when it is managed by individuals or stock companies that measure their success through monthly cash flow statements or quarterly shareholder reports. Land stewardship doesn't work when ownership and control take the short view.

A squatter will happily burn the weatherboards from the side of a home to stay warm. A man who owns this same home, and who intends to leave it for his children and their children, will work to make it tight and strong.

Four Generations Harris FamilyFive generations of White Oak Pastures

When I was a boy, a multi-generational livestock farm near White Oak Pastures was purchased by an individual that practiced extractive agriculture. He sold off the herds of genetically adapted animals for slaughter. He bulldozed the trees and tore up the pastures. He hauled in chemical fertilizers and pesticides. He made a lot of money.

My father had a sixth-grade education, and yet he understood the nearly permanent damage of these destructive practices. His statement about this was:

"IT OUGHT TO BE AGAINST THE LAW FOR A SUMBITCH LIKE THAT TO OWN LAND AND LIVESTOCK."
Cattle cows in pasture

Industrial, centralized, commoditized agriculture employs reductive practices and tools that destroy the resiliency of our natural systems.

Some people think that the adaption of a long view is necessary if we are to save the earth. They are wrong. This is my view:

"THE EARTH WILL BE JUST FINE. A LONG VIEW IS NECESSARY IF WE ARE TO SAVE MAN AND THE SOCIETY THAT WE HAVE CREATED".
Sheep in pasture

 


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