Whew! Say that 3 times fast! Joel can. Can you? 🙂 Check out our Polyface T-shirt with this written on it! Talk about a great conversation starter!
For this chapter, I would like to highlight a few key paragraphs:
“Perhaps nothing illustrates modern farming’s departure from normalcy as dramatically as beef feedlots. These sprawling corrals containing thousands of beef animals, with nary a place to stand or lie down except in their own excrement, and fed a candy bar diet of starch – primarily corn – to grossly and quickly fatten them, epitomize a system worth of the exclamation,
‘Folks, this ain’t normal’.”
Cows are being blamed for destroying the earth’s o-zone layers due to the methane gas they produce. However, in this chapter, Joel says:
“In fact, the cow, or domestic herbivore if you will, is the most efficacious soil-building, hydrology-cycling, carbon-sequestering tool at the planet’s disposal. Yes, the cow has done a tremendous amount of damage. But don’t blame the cow. The managers of the cow have been and continue to be the problem. The same animal mismanaged to abuse the ecology is the greatest hope and salvation to heal the ecology.”
“The critical thing to understand is that grazing can be done in a way that builds soil and heals the land, or it can be done in way that destroys the land. Grazing is not inherently good or bad. It is the grazing management, the pattern, that makes it ecologically positive or ecologically negative. Nomads have certainly destroyed plenty of land through overgrazing, as have American farmers.
The abuses, however, do not change the fact that worldwide soil building occurs most dramatically with herbivores, perennials, rest periods, and periodic disturbances. …”
The key notes that Joel leaves us with in this chapter:
- Grass is at least as efficient as sequestering carbon as trees.
- Herbivores are nature’s pruners to restart the grass biomass accumulation cycle.
- Cows can be good or bad, depending on how they are managed.
- To eat most ecologically, concentrate on grass-fed beef and grass-fed dairy.
- Normal farms have animals.
What are your thoughts from this chapter? Did it change the way you view cattle?