I’m counting the many splendored purposes of a cow

The problem is not to develop the needed technology; it already exists. The problem is convincing both land managers and politicians to use what is available.

A Handbook for Ranch ManagersYep, that’s the hard part. I learned the hard way (as the Range Task Force Leader at the University of Arizona) that natural resource (range) management in a public lands state had absolutely nothing to do with the “technology” of range management. It had (and still has) everything to do with politics. — jtl, 419

Planned Grazing: A Study Guide and Reference ManualBy Walt Davis via The Grazier’s Gazette

A cow’s value for meat and milk is logical, but improvements well-managed livestock can make to land are far more valuable.

All livestock, including cattle, have a long history of being considered Environmental & Natural Resource Economics: The Austrian Viewa form of wealth. Livestock certainly qualifies as an excellent replacement for money; it multiplies, it can provide both food and shelter, and it is portable.

I might phrase it this way: Livestock is wealth in a tangible form that readily substitutes for money. Perhaps the value of cattle most easily The Betrayed: On Warriors, Cowboys and Other Misfitsrecognized is that they can convert something of low value (vegetation out in the pasture) into something of high value (highly nutritious food). Yet as valuable as are the meat, milk and fiber from livestock, well-managed livestock can produce improvements to the environment that are far more valuable.

Combat Shooter's HandbookReconnaissance Marine MCI 03.32f: Marine Corps InstituteToday there is a growing understanding that grazing animals, properly managed, have tremendous potential to render value far beyond merely providing food and bodily protection.

First, they can repair the damage done, partly by The Essence of Liberty: Volume I: Liberty and History: The Rise and Fall of the Noble Experiment with Constitutionally Limited Government (Liberty and ... Limited Government) (Volume 1)  The Essence of Liberty: Volume II: The Economics of Liberty (Volume 2) The Essence of Liberty: Volume III: A Universal Philosophy of Political Economy (Liberty: A Universal Political Ethic) (Volume 3) poor grazing practices, to agricultural land all over the world.

Second, grazing animals properly managed are an extremely powerful tool, capable of improving the local water cycle, increasing the amount of mineral nutrients cycling within the ecological system, and increasing the amount of energy flowing through this system.

History is full of stories of cultures that rose to wealth and power by commerce and/or warfare only to fall into poverty when they destroyed their resource base of soil, water, vegetation and animal life. The cedars of Lebanon, the vineyards of Greece, and the grain fields of North Africa are just memories because mankind has a seemingly uncontrollable compellation to reap short-term gains regardless of long term damage.

It is fact that lands and waters all over the world have been and still are being severely damaged by agricultural practices. For many years this destruction was self limiting to some extent. When the soil in a field became too poor to support crop growth, that area was abandoned. Given enough time nature could usually heal the worst of the destruction. So long as the number of humans was low and agricultural technology consisted of a hoe made from a crooked stick, the earth could cope.

Today there are far more of us and our technology is vastly more powerful. With chemical fertilizers and pesticides and powerful machinery we seemingly have the ability to override the laws of nature. It is this type of thought that has caused the situation we see today where: soil is dead and eroding, water doesn’t soak into the soil but rather runs off causing both floods and droughts, and the cost of the inputs required to maintain a reasonable level of production make profitability difficult or impossible.

If the destruction is to be stopped and the damage is to be healed it will require an entirely different philosophy of agriculture and different agricultural practices.
I think people get tired of hearing me say it but the answer is to manage for what we want rather than against what we don’t want. If we want healthy and productive soil with good water holding capacity, we must find ways to increase the organic matter content of the soil and thus increase the amount and diversity of life in the soil.

Increasing soil organic content can be approached from two directions: stop practices that destroy organic matter (tillage, high rates of soluble fertilizer, chemicals) and increase practices that build organic content. Perhaps the most powerful tool to increase soil organic content in an financially feasible manner is planned grazing at high stock density. This practice of placing a large number of grazing animals on a small area for a short period of time and then removing them until the vegetation and the soil has recovered from the effects of grazing is natures’ way to build healthy grasslands.

Healthy grassland has the hydrological qualities of good water absorption, low evaporation rates and slow release of water. These things make water available to plants, animals and humans over long periods of time.

Water availability is becoming increasingly critical in many areas and this problem can only get worse as populations increase. There is nothing that pubic leadership could do that would be more valuable to their people than to encourage farmers, ranchers and other land managers to practice good grazing management on the area of their watersheds.

The problem is not to develop the needed technology; it already exists. The problem is convincing both land managers and politicians to use what is available.

Environmental & Natural Resource Economics: The Austrian View

edited by

Dr Jimmy T (Gunny) LaBaume

Is now available in both PAPERBACK and Kindle

BookCoverImageMurray N. Rothbard was the father of what some call Radical Libertarianism or Anarcho-Capitalism which Hans-Hermann Hoppe described as “Rothbard’s unique contribution to the rediscovery of property and property rights as the common foundation of both economics and political philosophy, and the systematic reconstruction and conceptual integration of modern, marginalist economics and natural-law political philosophy into a unified moral science: libertarianism.”

This book applies the principles of this “unified moral science” to environmental and natural resource management issues.

The book started out life as an assigned reading list for a university level course entitled Environmental and Natural Resource Economics: The Austrian View.

As I began to prepare to teach the course, I quickly saw that there was a plethora of textbooks suitable for universal level courses dealing with environmental and natural resource economics. The only problem was that they were all based in mainstream neo-classical (or Keynesian) theory. I could find no single collection of material comprising a comprehensive treatment of environmental and natural resource economics based on Austrian Economic Theory.

However, I was able to find a large number of essays, monographs, papers delivered at professional meetings and published from a multitude of sources. This book is the result. It is composed of a collection of research reports and essays by reputable scientists, economists, and legal experts as well as private property and free market activists.

The book is organized into seven parts: I. Environmentalism: The New State Religion; II. The New State Religion Debunked; III. Introduction to Environmental and Natural Resource Economics; IV. Interventionism: Law and Regulation; V. Pollution and Recycling; VI. Property Rights: Planning, Zoning and Eminent Domain; and VII. Free Market Conservation. It also includes an elaborate Bibliography, References and Recommended Reading section including an extensive Annotated Bibliography of related and works on the subject.

The intellectual level of the individual works ranges from quite scholarly to informed editorial opinion.


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About Land & Livestock Interntional, Inc.

Land and Livestock International, Inc. is a leading agribusiness management firm providing a complete line of services to the range livestock industry. We believe that private property is the foundation of America. Private property and free markets go hand in hand—without property there is no freedom. We also believe that free markets, not government intervention, hold the key to natural resource conservation and environmental preservation. No government bureaucrat can (or will) understand and treat the land with as much respect as its owner. The bureaucrat simply does not have the same motives as does the owner of a capital interest in the property. Our specialty is the working livestock ranch simply because there are so many very good reasons for owning such a property. We provide educational, management and consulting services with a focus on ecologically and financially sustainable land management that will enhance natural processes (water and mineral cycles, energy flow and community dynamics) while enhancing profits and steadily building wealth.
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3 Responses to I’m counting the many splendored purposes of a cow

  1. p says:

    Great article Jimmy, thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. p says:

    Agree Jimmy, turn us loose, set us free and we will show the world.


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