Into the Death Throes of the Brick and Mortar University System
By Dr Jimmy T (Gunny) LaBaume
I recently received an email from a colleague and friend at the University of Louisville. Attached was a copy of a recent edition of The Graizer published by the Beef Cattle Institute at Kansas State University. At the top of the masthead were the words, HEALTHY PEOPLE, HEALTHY CATTLE, HEALTHY PLANET. My old friend’s reaction:
It is typical of Land Grant universities – just like every other government institution or agency – to jump on whatever bandwagon the bureaucrats in charge feel will enable them to appear relevant. This approach by my alma mater to jump in front of a parade that formed long ago is a case in point. The slogan, “healthy people, healthy cattle, healthy planet” is to me so blatantly desperate to appeal to every possible constituency for state funding that it offends me mightily… I am retiring from the University at the end of this semester. The closer I get, the more enthused I become.
Ironically, just the day before, I had received the most recent copy of the SR Bar Alumni Association e-News Flash which included the article, Dixon Water Foundation Endows Chair for ANRS, The article announced that “Sul Ross State University will offer a new degree program in ‘sustainable ranch management,’ through a $1.2 million endowment from the…Foundation.” (Emphasis is mine.)
Not so ironically, my reaction had been very similar to my friend’s. About the only small difference is that I retired from Sul Ross in July of 2011, having helplessly watched a small handful of narcistic sycophants destroy what it had taken good men 75 years to build.
The article reveals that the caste of characters has not changed, nor has their modus operandi, since my departure. They are still masters of deception, fraud by omission and spin by a masterful twisting of the language.
To understand what has really been said, one must read carefully and sort through all the fluff (having lived amongst them for over 20 years helps). This “fluff” comes in the form of necessary buzz words stolen from Alan Savory’s “Holistic Management” and decorated with the language of the United Nation’s Agenda 21. Let’s take a closer look.
First, in the spirit of keeping all bases covered, one small bone is thrown to the traditional ranching community.
We are looking at our ranching heritage…
That is pretty weak, which is appropriate considering there is very little constituency left in the ranching community after the mismanagement and condescendence of the past, especially since the fraudulent cobbling of the School of Agricultural and Natural Resources Sciences out of the old Department of Range Animal Science.
But then we get seriously fluffy with the “sustainability” jargon of the UN’s Agenda 21 and “holism” pilfered from Alan Savory.
“…but we are really buying into the future,” Warnock said. “We will be learning how to incorporate a sustainability component…”she noted that a ranch is a rangeland ecosystem, and successful management of a ranching enterprise should involve an understanding of soils, water, energy, nutrients, vegetation, wildlife, livestock, in addition to economics and business.”
It would be virtually impossible to disagree with any of that. And that is the point–it is nothing but politically correct “noise.” Now that all the noise is filtered, we arrive at what she really said by cleverly working it into the crypto-communist language:
“Warnock will begin developing a curriculum this year…with traditional range animal science classes… The curriculum will include classes in soils, range management, wildlife management, animal husbandry and agricultural business.”
Dear reader, this is so obvious that I don’t think I need to tell you. But I’m going tell you anyway. They already teach all those courses!!
So why is that important? It is because it means there will be NOTHING NEW. The same old classes will be offered but they will just rearrange them into a particular set and call it a “Ranch Management” major. I suggested doing exactly that years ago. In fact, the old Range Animal Science BS degree pretty well fit the description. And, now as with then, it could be done for zero additional cost.
So why re-invent the wheel with political correct jargon? As Murray Rothbard used to say, “I don’t care about conspiracy theories of history but I do care about the facts of the conspiracy.” And the easy to find those facts is to “follow the money.”
They have very cleverly (and fraudulently) conned the Dixon Water Foundation out of $1.2 million Federal Reserve Notes.
To add taxpayer injury to private foundation insult, they will REQUIRE that all the starry-eyed, naïve, aspirants to the ranks of “ranch manager” give them large amounts of money to complete this particular sub-set of their same old courses. Upon completion, these indoctrinates will be allowed to call themselves “Ranch Managers” and continue to spread the government endorsed, non-sustainable methods currently being taught in ALL Universities.
And incidentally, these are all courses that come pre-ordained and approved by the fascistic arrangement between big government and big business (see the citations-links below). Also included will be the standard, and mandatory, collectivist, anti-capitalism, anti-free market, and anti-private property rights requirements of Agenda 21.
Superfluous Reasons “Sustainable Ranch Management” Might Fail at SRSU
First, it should be noted that TCU and A&M Kingsville already have viable, established programs in ranch management with which SRSU will likely be unable to compete. SRSU-ANRS has indeed “jumped in front of a parade that formed long ago.”
Second, since the caste of characters will not change, there is no reason to believe that they will not continue to alienate a large segment of their student body just as they always have by treating them like so much trash. The same goes for their constituency in the ranching community.
Finally, the word is already out. Sul Ross is where you go if you can’t get into (or flunk out of) some other university.
Add all this up and there is but one possible outcome. The program will likely never get off the ground and, even if it does, it will wither because of the same tired old approach to management. But that is OK. The administration is prepared to deal with failure because it already has lots of experience in dealing with it. For years it has been in the “juke the numbers” mode to conceal past failures and put the blame on somebody besides themselves.
The Real and Unavoidable Reason Sustainable Ranch Management Will Fail at SRSU
With all that said, those are only minor reasons for failure.
Those even vaguely familiar with “holistic management” know that it all began when Alan Savory and Stan Parsons brought their ideas to the continent from South Africa in the late 1970s. At that time the approach was known as the “Savory Grazing Method (SGM)” and it met with very stiff resistance from the established and so-called “professional” range management community. This resistance (in the form of myths and misconceptions) is persistent today. (Cell Grazing: Part VI. Myths, Misconceptions, and Untruths about SGM).
The real problem is that there is no one on the faculty of the School of Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences (ANRS) qualified to direct or teach a truly “holistic-sustainable” curriculum—either by lack of technical training, propensity or inclination (more motive for resorting to fraud in order to join the “parade that formed long ago”just in time to bank the $1.2 million).
In fact, the dean of the School of Agricultural and Natural Resource Sciences has been one of the most adamant and vocal opponents of the “Savory Grazing Method” since day one. All the faculty are products of the cozy (fascistic) relationship that exists between big government and big business (See The Myth that is Conventional Range Management and And the Myths Live on: Thoughts on the 2010 Meeting of the Texas Section of the Society for Range Management).
Of course, that could be mitigated via a change in attitude and proper education. But that is not likely to happen due to fragile egos. It would require that all of them openly admit that they have been dead wrong all these years. Don’t hold your breath.
Dr Jimmy T (Gunny) LaBaume is President and CEO of Land & Livestock International, Inc. (an international ranch management and consulting firm that practices Managing the Ranch as a BusinessTM with Restoration GrazingTM He Blogs at www.landandlivestock.wordpress.com and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Books by Dr. Jimmy T. (Gunny) LaBaume
Planned Grazing: A Study Guide and Reference Manual by Jimmy T (Gunny) LaBaume.
This guide is a detailed book review of sorts, but perhaps it would be more accurately described as an abstract that condenses 864 pages of detail into 189 pages of concentrated information. No more excuses for failing to properly plan your grazing. The booklet is available from Amazon.com in both soft cover and Kendall versions. Click here.
A Handbook for Ranch Managers A Comprehensive Reference Manual for Managing the Working Ranch. Click here to buy the paperback version from Land & Livestock International’s Rancher Supply aStore.
Digital media products such as Kindle can only be purchased on Amazon.com. Click Here to buy the Kendall Version on Amazon.com
To purchase an autographed copy of the book Click Here
Call for a pizza, a cop, and an ambulance and see which one arrives first.
So, who does that leave to protect you, your life, property and family?
The one and only answer is: YOU
This Handbook is intended to help you exercise that right and meet that responsibility.
The Betrayed: On Warriors, Cowboys and Other Misfits. Click here to buy the paperback version from Land & Livestock International’s Rancher Supply aStore.
To purchase an autographed copy of the book Click Here