Holistic farm management

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The way we approach our farming operations is to view the land holistically, and with the long-term in mind. From pasture, to forest, to microbe, to beef-cow, all parts of the farm are seen in light of the whole.

In short, this means working with nature, in such a way that long-term value is developed. The result is increased biological diversity, increased agricultural production, and increased quality of life --- for all of us.

In practical terms, this means viewing the pasture as a vast array of microbes, grasses, weeds, humus, minerals, and so on. It means viewing the forest as a water-reservoir, nitrogen-fixer, humus builder and wildlife habitat. And it means viewing ourselves as stewards, cultivators, guardians and overseers of the plants and animals that make up our farm.

We've found that by using a system of rotational grazing, where pastures are given extended "rest periods", we encourage healthier and denser grass, greater organic residue and soil-surface coverage, improved drought resistance and better soil fertility. The plants and microbes have time to rest, recover, and regenerate.

This allows pastures to continuously improve, because overgrazing is minimized which results in healthier plant growth. Plants which receive rest from grazing have time to replenish energy reserves and build root mass. Between grazing cycles the plants are given time to rest, allowing them to increase the surface area of their leaves, which are solar-collectors. As the plant collects sunshine and rebuilds itself, its roots develop and an exchange of nutrients takes place. This results in happier microbes, which are the worker-bees of the soil.

After several weeks, when the cows come through again, the cycle begins anew. The cows spread their manure, evening out the distribution of nutrients across the soil surface. This contributes to the health of the entire pasture. The cows' hooves perform a natural aeration which, when limited to a short time, results in additional soil improvements. A natural interplay between the cows, the plants, the soil and the microbes causes an explosion in organic material and plant life.

We keep a large portion of our farm in woodlands --- densely forested areas, rich in wildlife, with broad diversity of native species of plants and animals.

Using this approach to farm management, we facilitate healthy land, healthy animals and healthy people.