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Observation and Adaptability

written by

Joshua Harris

posted on

April 16, 2023

This weekend we had a couple come and visit our farm.  Not unusual as we have plenty of folks come and visit but this was a little different than most.

We had pulled up alongside a car stopped at the stop sign beside the farm and asked if they needed help or directions (common for gps to not work where we live).  They were extremely nice folks and just said they were looking to move to our area and were driving around checking out properties.  Being as we were parked beside our farm we explained who we were and what we did.  Later, through some email communication we set up a time for them to come visit and learn about our practices.

Well-educated, extremely nice people are always a joy to have come visit and this couple was no exception.  During our walk to the area where we are raising our pigs we were paid one of the coolest compliments we have gotten... "You guys are very observant."  It caught me slightly off-guard.  We know how we observe what we do and the operations of our farm but this was the FIRST time that anyone has ever caught-on and recognized that.  There is something gratifying when you receive a compliment that came from thought and understanding.  Just seems to strike a different chord.

Nevertheless, why is this a special compliment?  Because observation is important!  It is vital to the regenerative system and really any system.  It takes self-reflection and awareness, some things that get quickly lost in the shuffle in our society.  We have to be observant in order for our processes to work.  

We are constantly monitoring the weather, is it hot?  Cold?  How much rain are we going to get?  Is it ever going to rain?  

We are observing our pastures.  What time of year?  How much forage do we have?  What size paddock will get us 24 hours?  When will we have to be back here?  How much rest will it get?

We are evaluating our cattle daily.  Is there rumen full?  What is their body condition?  Are they content or acting hungry?  Do they seem healthy?

This and much more goes into how we operate.  We will create different sizes paddocks and move quicker or slower depending on the situation and the variables.  There is not a one-size-fits-all model to grazing.  And that's a good thing!  Being able to observe and adapt builds resiliency.  It allows us to change our methods if one of our variables changes.  The conventional system relies so much on the black and white and that makes it vulnerable.  We find so much freedom in our system.  We can be as flexible as we need to accomplish our goals.  We aren't financially tied to large inputs or infrastructure.  

Everything has a breaking point when put under pressure but the resiliency of a regenerative system provides a breaking point that is much further away than the conventional system.  Just observe what has happened in recent years.  Covid causing backlogs in the supply chain, major droughts, inflation.  All those hardly effected us.  Did we feel some ripple effect, yes, but those ripples were small.

Having the ability to use awareness to observe the entire ecosystem of the farm allows us to create an operation that is so resilient.  It's free from the hands of those that make life difficult.  Best of all, it creates real beauty!  We get to live life in a painting everyday and most of the time we take that for granted.


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