Mob Grazing Reveals Inconvenient Stupidities

Posted: February 15, 2010 by Thrivelearning in Grass Fed Beef Cattle
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If Al Gore’s histrionics and his data-massaging chronies at the Climate Academia weren’t enough, we actually find out that they are missing the boat entirely. Not that they are wrong, but they are only looking at a small part of the problem.

The reason? Money fixation.

Al Gore is personally profiting from his doom scenario – funneling government funds (read: our taxes) into his own pocket. And those Climate Gate scientists are riding a cash cow, since foreign governments and petro-chemical companies are pouring money into this area. So it pays to keep a controversy growing.

**update** Climate-data-related scandals list keeps growing…

The problem is – they are shouting down the wrong rain barrel. So-called “greenhouse gases” are the symptom, not the cause. They factually are not even the real problem, but a relatively minor distraction.

Yesterday, I ran across a couple of links to some fascinating data.

When you view these together, you’ll see that we have been being lead in the wrong direction. Too narrow a view.

The Situation: Government-Sponsored Commodity Bankruptcy

The problem has been that we’ve been steadily moving away from our own land as it ceased to provide a viable  living for the families involved. Instead, these generations flocked to the cities for “jobs” and our culture started living off petroleum- and mining-based products, both exhaustible resources.

Our current president has been funneling billions into “green energy” jobs and payola – but the problem is that this is again the narrow view. According to the capitalist/free market explanation, we’ll start recycling when it’s profitable to do so. And our environmental activists (read: Alinsky radicals) would take all the power they can get, even if it means destroying any ability to fix the actual problem.

The core problem is that the land has quit producing a viable living for the families on it. Two factors in this: commoditization of produce, and increasing advertising dominance.

Farm produce has been cheapened by creating a few product lines of commercial value. All corn is yellow. All beef is black. All sheep are white. And what the farmer pays isn’t enough to keep them farming – unless they also manage to carry substantial debt. So profits are sucked into bankers’ salaries, bonuses and benefits. Meanwhile, they use corporate and government-backed university research to use a pesticide/herbicide/fertilizer cocktail to genericize the produce so it can fit into an assembly-line model.

Advertising, meanwhile, has been used to base our society on instant gratification and subconscious desires instead of working to educate and raise the sights of people to attain their best qualities.  TV and media are advertising supported, so their quality (and trustworthiness) also goes into the tank — along with the culture. Why? because advertising is based on psychological profiles (as Cialdini covers in “Influence”) which take advantage of subconscious desires, rather than pragmatic wants and actual needs. (Just look at what’s happening to the credit card industry in this recession to see what happens when people wise up…)

Look, it’s really simple. There is no need to continually centralize any industry. Or locate them on the coasts. Consider Wal-Mart’s hub-and-spoke model. Rural cities are tending to fall over each other to give tax credits in order to lure factories and warehouses for their jobs. (Of course, some companies simply pick up and move when the tax credits run out…) But the point is that there, again, are people who want and need jobs in rural areas because the farms don’t produce enough income to support everyone – despite agriculture being the leading industy for the area. (Remember that high-debt overhead farmers are carrying? It’s invested in monster machinery which is able to handle massive acres in days. A handful of people with thousands of acres – compared to a building which doesn’t even cover a quarter acre that pays several hundred people to unload, sort, store, find, pick, and ship boxes. Do the math: which one pays more taxes?)

And so you see how the government scam we are under has a vested interest in making sure we all live in big cities, bunched up together – like cattle in a feed lot. “Economies of scale – subsidized.”

Solution: Farm Your Way Out

Naturalists such as Alan Savory have been studying this particular situation for years. And they have been looking to the historical evidence of our earlier civilizations going the exact same route we are currently going – only they did it just for local empires, not globally as we are currently doing.

The trick is in rebuilding the soil through restoring the natural intensive grazing of heavy hoofed animals. The government policy has been to remove more and more animals from the land, which actually results in top soil loss through erosion – and ultimately creates deserts, as Savory reports in the above MP3.

For me as a cattle farmer, the fascinating point is that it’s far more profitable to raise grass-fed beef than it is to raise it through “conventional” (commodity-style) means.  Inputs drop dramatically, while a premium is paid to enterprising farmers who market directly to environmentally-responsible consumers. The beef produced is healthier, higher in nutrients and omega-3’s.

The bottom line, however it that by improving the soil through proper intensive grazing, you increase the density of plant life, which actually increases carbon sequestration. So instead of using fossil fuels to raise grain, ship it to central feedlots, feed it to masses of cattle who stand and live in their own manure (creating more methane meanwhile, which is released to the atmosphere instead of being absorbed by nearby plants) – grass fed beef simply add pounds of beef while being part of the ecosystem.

The land improves and adds topsoil which in turn sequesters more carbon. It is possible to have agriculture be a net sequestor of carbon instead of the contributor.

Now, as you add topsoil with permanent pastures, the increased density of plants require more animals added to continue the process. You have to add more cattle to “keep up” with the improved growth. Several different studies show that this tops out at about 400% of the earlier stocking density.

Back-of-the-envelope calculations shows that where you earlier could keep only one cow per 2.5 acres, this increases to an average of one cow per .8 acres. Same land, same water supply (which improves, BTW).  At an average commodity auction level of $800 per animal, this gives you a potential income of selling four yearing calves off that same acreage, or $3200 for the same land area. After paying off inputs for fencing only (don’t need other supplements, and even vet bills can disappear), and subtracting winter hay (which isn’t needed in a true mob grazing/ultra-high density grazing scenario) – where some local farmers get $60 profit per head, grass fed beef gets around $600 per head.

10x profit potential. You don’t have to raise corn, just shift pastures every day. Leave the tractor in the barn, sell the combine and grain silos. Invest in more fencing.

Go from grain-fed beef to grass-fed and see 4000% increase in profitability. At least on the back of that envelope.

Practical results? Better quality beef, improved quality of rural living, less dependence on foriegn fossil fuels. And you get to enjoy the pleasures a life surrounded by Nature’s environment for the rest of your life. (And it only takes a few hours a day to do this – looking for a part time job that pays 4x what you’re making now?)

It’s not that money is bad. But if you look at the broader picture, you can improve your life quality and have all you want. Just have to get smart and take the blinders off to see the whole picture.

  1. […] Mob Grazing Reveals Inconvenient Stupidities […]

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  6. Scott Darkt says:

    This was an exciting wonderful article, thanks for taking the time to put it together! Touched on some very good ideas.

  7. Crane says:

    Great blog. Didn’t realize all that data about cows before – makes sense, even for someone who’s never been on a farm.

  8. Quentin Proffer says:

    Your point is well made. I think Al Gore could learn some things. National Review just came out with an article which said he and his cronies are making money from both sides – all government-funded, which means our taxpayer dollars supporting another government scam.

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