The Ecosystem and the Cow

The huge buffalo herds of the past are accepted to be one of the factors in creating and maintaining the superior rangeland conditions prior to European mans coming to the Americas. With today’s fragmentation of the rangeland ecosystem (Roads-highways, cities, transmission lines, pipelines, farms, fenced rangelands the list goes on and on.) the roaming herds of buffalo are no longer part of the equation. (Nor will they ever be.) This results in a problem in trying to reestablish those rangelands of the past. The need for animal impact is very important to create grasslands that are healthy, providing an ecosystem that is actively preventing erosion, creating a water cycle that is efficient and sequestering carbon reducing CO2 levels.

 

What tool do we have available that can replace the buffalo of the past? That tool is the cow, properly managed she provides that trampling, dung and urine depositing, grazing stimulation that nature needs to provide the environment with quality-healthy stimulation. The great thing is while that cow can provide all those good things for the environment, she also provides a healthy source of protein for the human population.  Those folks that say the cow needs to go because she harms the environment need to reassess their opinion and study what the cow truly has to offer. If for no other reason than ‘Saving the Planet’ as many detractors of the cow say so often.

 

Those that understand how a quality environment works, need to offer their knowledge to those environmental enthusiasts that so often misinterpret the value of the cow. Everyone can live better because of it and sharing our knowledge with the voting public is essential. Sharing that knowledge with politicians has merit, needing to be offered to them so they can’t deny knowledge of the value of the cow. However, many of those politicians seem to have an agenda that isn’t focused on the environment, as discussion of it is only made to get the voters unknowing attention. Get the word out to the voters, the cowman and rangeland manager has a long term, simple solution to many environmental issues, that is when those tools are properly applied.IMG_0044(3)

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Rangelands and Ranching: A Study of Proper Use of Rangelands & the Environment by Frank S Price

My son and I ranch a cow-calf, wooled sheep and hair sheep operation in West Central Texas. We operate 7 different grazing units and utilize a single herd, traditional pasture grazing program within all these units. My son represents is the 5th generation of this enterprise that was started in 1876 by my great grandfather. He and his brother began by driving a herd of cattle from Ennis Texas to Santa Anna Texas, ultimately driving the herd of cattle they had built to Kansas markets and returned to Sterling County, to begin a permanent ranching operation. Rainfall within our scattered operations runs from 17” to 20”. The winters, while going into the single digits on occasion are relatively mild compared to ranches further north, resulting in mostly mild winters producing usable cool season growth along with the dominant warm season plants.

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