Making money is an outcome; The goal is to follow the pattern that Mother Nature has provided.
Ray Archuleta has been an extremely influential person in the lives of Buz Kloot (Soil Health Labs at the University of South Carolina) and Tanse Herrmann, (NRCS Grazing Lands Soil Health Specialist working out of Rapid City, South Dakota). In a recent podcast you can listen to here, Buz and Tanse hosted Ray to catch up on changes in his life in the recent past. But first, Buz and Tanse explain how they met Ray and how he has impacted their lives.
Ray now has a small ranch in Seymour, Missouri and talks about having “skin in the game” now that he has his own land payment and his own livestock to manage. Having skin in the game makes him more empathetic to the ranchers and farmers he speaks to. That gains importance since he still visits farmers and ranchers and talks. A lot.
Speaking from his own experience, Ray mentions the mistakes he's made and what he’s learned in the process – infrastructure, animal safety and health, epigenetics and simplicity of design are discussed.
Ray, Buz, and Tanse all mentioned the uncertain periods where they felt their beliefs were correct, but no one would listen, and the importance of having someone to draw support, information, and energy from while trying to convince unwilling or unsure people that what they are proposing is both scientifically valid and better for the planet.
The conversation moves to Mexican rancher, Alejandro Carrillo, the work he's done on the Las Damas Ranch in the Chihuahua desert, and how this has transformed that landscape. Ray uses the discussion about Alejandro’s land as an example to teach the principle of ecological context (often considered the 6th principle of soil health), primarily in terms of the difference between rainfall on his land (~45” a year) versus Alejandro’s (8” - 10” a year).
Just in case you're wondering, the 5 principles of soil health are: 1. Minimum disturbance; 2. Cover the soil; 3. Keep a live root in the soil as many days as possible; 4. Add diversity of plants (e.g., grasses and broad leaves, warm and cool season, annuals, and perennials); 5. Incorporate livestock back to the land.
Ecological context also led the group to spend time discussing the important human dimension of rangeland and farmland management, and what drives people to make the decisions they make.
Dr. Ellen Davis’s Book “Scripture, Culture and Agriculture” and work by Hannah Gosnell and others in a paper called “Transformational adaptation on the farm: Processes of change and persistence in transitions to ‘climate-smart’ regenerative agriculture” were also covered.
These three soil experts also turned to perceptions of the public, and indeed, many folks in the sciences that don’t understand the dynamic, healing effect of good grazing management (AKA Rotate, Rest, Recover) on the land. Like most football coaches say at the beginning of each season: “we have much work to do”.
Listen to the full podcast by clicking here. See also our previous podcast episode #39 with Shannon Kulseth-Iversonwhere we discuss how rangeland health and livestock work to solve environmental issues.
Visit these “Growing Resilience Through Our Soils” information pages:
1. Podcast page for drought planning fact sheets, Q&As, news, podcasts and more.
2. Video page to watch videos of other ranchers’ journeys toward improved rangeland/pasture.
3.Follow Growing Resilience on social media:
4. Our homepage: www.growingresiliencesd.com