This introduction to this article is extracted from the preface to my new book Planned Grazing: A Study Guide and Field Manual (see below). But first, please realize that “Holistic Planning” is not a grazing system. It is a planning method with the unique method of grazing is only a part.
A few comments on the terminology: Those even vaguely familiar with the “holistic” approach to planned grazing will immediately recognize that I have avoided the use of certain “buzz” words that, frankly, offend me and for good reason.
Take, for example, the words holistic and sustainability. By dictionary definition, both words have meanings to which hardly anyone could object. Who in their right mind could be opposed to sustainable agriculture? Especially when dealing with human and natural systems, very few would deny the concept that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts or that the organization’s land, its people and their money should be viewed as one.
Never-the-less, these words have been co-opted by malevolent and misguided elements in society and incorporated into a code that furthers their agenda. This terminology has become the language of radical environmentalism as advocated by the United Nations and its Agenda 21.
This massive wealth re-distribution scheme is one of the most destructive forces of life, liberty and property ever faced by mankind. Their claims that overpopulation, declining energy resources, deforestation, species loss, water shortages, certain aspects of global warming, and an assortment of other global environmental issues are unsupported by analysis of the relevant data.
Where” Holistic” Management Crosses Paths with Agenda 21: The anti-private property and anti-free market “sustainable development” movement utilizes triple-bottom-line accounting (TBL). TBL was created by the United Nations to advance the four main initiatives birthed at the 1992 U.N. Earth Summit in Rio de Janerio: Climate Change, Agenda 21.
TBL (also known as people, planet, profit or ‘the three pillars’) captures an expanded spectrum of values and criteria for measuring organizational (and societal) success: economic, ecological and social. With the ratification of the United Nations and ICLEEI (International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives) TBL became the standard for urban and community accounting in early 2007. It has now become the dominant approach to public-sector full-cost accounting.
In the private sector, a commitment to corporate social responsibility (CSR) implies a commitment to some form of TBL reporting.
With Holistic Management, decisions are made and tested for soundness and to make sure they will take you toward your holistic goal. There are seven of these tests, including “sustainability, society and culture” – i.e. echoes of Agenda 21.
Of course, people who make their living in the free market know that economics already accounts for “society” and “environment.” Every day in every purchase decision made by each of the approximately 330 million people in the United States, a value is given to society and environment through price.
Imposing a value for society and environment ensures they are double counted. No matter how well-intended industry’s acknowledgement of the triple bottom line, there is no escaping the fact that it sets producers up for a tax at some point in the future. Whatever extraneous values are agreed to will eventually become a financial penalty on production.
We do not advocate the use of triple bottom line accounting. We do advocate for private property rights and free markets.
By Emily Stokes
When you make a decision, what do you consider? Expert advice and scientific research? Intuition? Past experience?
Will your decision achieve what you want? And how quickly? Is your decision lawful, ethical? Will it make you money? Annoy the neighbors? Win you accolades?
There are so many things to consider when making decisions, large and small. Whether you’re choosing between planting corn or watermelons next summer, or deciding on an irrigation system for a conservation project, or working out whether or not to take that overseas holiday (a lot of our decisions have a distinct financial component), your decisions may have reverberations for years to come.
Generally we make decisions on whatever our goals are at that particular time, without necessarily considering whether or not it has long term consequences for the sustainability of our soil, or our grandchildren’s ability to eat healthy food.
Is there a better way to make our decisions? A way that does consider all of the factors – social, financial, and environmental?
Allan Savory believes there is. So he created a system for making decisions, and called it Holistic Management. It’s simply a ‘framework’ for making decisions that takes into consideration all of the factors, social, financial, and environmental, both short and long term. It’s a way to make better decisions for yourself, your family, your co-workers, future generations, the planet, AND your back pocket.
Sound too good to be true?
It all begins with the end in mind. A goal. Or what they refer to in Holistic Management circles as a ‘Holistic Context’. This is something that is created by all those in your ‘whole’ (which might be your family members or your management team). It’s when you really dig down deep and work out what you really want out of life. Then you make all of your decisions with this goal in mind.
There is a strong land management component in the Holistic Management teachings. Allan Savory has a land management background as a Zimbabwean biologist. Savory observed the natural herding tendencies of the buffalo, zebra and antelope, and realized that large grazing animals play a critical role in the health of some environments.
Later, when working in the USA he came to realize that this deterioration of the African environment was not necessarily a result of overpopulation, poverty, overstocking, lack of technology or lack of expert advice. The same deterioration was happening in Western Texas, USA, where they had the opposite factors – a declining population, the latest technology, and sophisticated expert advice. The only common denominator between these two situations was the decisions the human managers of these environments had made.
Savory recognized that environments everywhere only function in ‘whole’ systems and that we need to change the way we view and manage the land. This led to the development of the Holistic Management decision making framework, as we know it today.
And people all over the world, Australia included, are seeing real results using the Holistic Management framework: increased stocking rates (up to 400%), increased profits, more productive and healthier soils, reduced costs, reversal of desertification, increased biodiversity and wildlife habitat, increased water retention, better food security, and better family relationships.
Whether you’re a running a market garden, a bakery, a grazing property, or a family (the most complex of all!) – the Holistic Management framework can help you make better decisions, think more sustainably, become more connected with the land, and create the type of life you want.
Planned Grazing: A Study Guide and Reference Manual. This is the ideal squeal to A Handbook for Ranch Managers. Although the ecological principles remain the same, what was originally known as “The Savory Grazing Method” now answers to a multitude of different names: ranching for profit, holistic management, managed grazing, mob grazing, management intensive grazing, etc. Land & Livestock International, Inc. uses “Restoration Grazing” under its “Managing the Ranch as a Business” program.” No mater what you call it, this summary and synopsis will guide you step by step through the process and teach you how to use it as it was originally intended. No more excuses for failing to complete your grazing plans.
A Handbook for Ranch Managers. In keeping with the “holistic” idea that the land, the livestock, the people and the money should be viewed as a single integrated whole: Part I deals with the management of the natural resources. Part II covers livestock production and Part III deals with the people and the money. Not only would this book make an excellent basic text for a university program in Ranch Management, no professional ranch manager’s reference bookshelf should be without it. It is a comprehensive reference manual for managing the working ranch. The information in the appendices and extensive bibliography alone is worth the price of the book.