Regenerative Grazing, Aquaponics, and Ethanol Production
"Does your regenerative grazing method reduce the amount of land needed to raise cattle?"
No. What it does is diversify the land over several different animal species. Shane is going to implement chickens to clean up the grasshopper problems. Personally, I'd devise a catching system rigged to a simple vacuum and use the bugs for food in an aquaponics system, but that's his plan. For the stuff that the cows, then chickens, wouldn't eat, goats would clean up the material. Imagine the entire field is like a pizza where the three individually pinned species were ever moving around the circle, and all three were fertilizing the land as they cleaned it up of brush and insects. In the middle is the water system. Shane can accomplish this right now, but the time dedication is too intense. That is the main reason why I want to start farming water there. To have it on demand when the sun is plentiful. He's connected to a well system right now. An underground river system from what I understand of it. Not enough to water the land, but enough to keep the cows watered. He does use hay, but the ground he gets it from grows wild. It's not perfect by any means, but is sustainable and efficient as all hell. His land looks wild because it is. Most cattlemen just turn them loose on the entire property. Their land is eaten down to the point of it looking like a lawn. That's a problem for the various other creatures native to the area that handle other problems. Shane has badgers, coyotes, rabbits, snakes, horny toads, road runners, foxes, all kinds of birds (a few he built houses for), deer, and all kinds of insects. It's healthy. The cow poop doesn't even make it three or four days above ground there. The dung beetles have returned in huge numbers. Even I was astonished at how fast they work. The entire property could be vacated of farming right now and be designated wild territory. That is true stewardship. Complementing the land as it is naturally, and extracting the "profits." That is when you are doing BETTER... than equilibrium. If/when I am able to start working on my windmills, I'll be able to install some sort of air pressure system, then his entire farm energy can be off grid, sustainable, plentiful, and with a bad motherfucker protecting it. I feel very sorry for the man that tries to fuck with Shane after the collapse. It will not turn out well. I forgot to mention his fencing system (electric) is run on a solar panel. 1 small one connected to a battery. The pumps are also run by it, so his water is already off grid, technically.
I'm totally down with gardening. I love vegetables and eat them as often as possible. Just because I am in favor of cattle rearing doesn't mean I'm opposed to gardening. It's my opinion that the land should be used to mitigate our footprint in it as much as possible. Vegetable gardening with soil is the opposite of that, so the crops for it need to be dense. Potatoes are a very good option. When it comes to salad greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc., the footprint should be extremely compact and based in the aquaponic variety. That system produces the largest yields, is the least impactful on the environment, and gives motive to stop fishing the oceans to extinction. The gardens I would like to grow go upwards or downwards, not outwards. For the soils that I do have to use for the needier varieties of vegetables, I'd use pots. My base would be red wiggler worm castings. I'm very familiar with them, and they make food delicious. All natural, even the food I feed the worms is organic and natural. They made my lemon cucumbers explode, and my tomatoes were amazing. The scraps just get pureed and fed back to the worms. I haven't tried fertilizing potatoes with it, but I'm sure it would help. I have grown potatoes on a few occasions, but the area was too wet. It was never a good crop. My eventual idea is to turn all of the waste from making cellulosic ethanol into the worm's feed stocks, then fertilize cattle land with it for fruit trees and grass. I've already done all of this on a small scale. I want more bugs. More fish food. I want the land to have everything it needs to produce these things on its own. The ethanol-making, cattail-littered holding pools will also help with the worm feed and fertilizer. The actual gardening system I am seeing is different than the normal version now. I would start with Shane's model, then add to it underground, and above ground. There aren't many people who think like that in the agriculture world, because it's sustainable on its own. There aren't really any profits other than free energies scattered throughout your own little carbon dioxide cycle loop. Well... that is until you find research time and build your hydrogen stuff. That's a ways into the future, though. So basically, it doesn't produce more cattle, but the cattle it produces are enormously healthier for you, and the diversity is present. There's a dynamic that is not seen, and that is the biodiversity. They all complement each other, and all pieces of the carbon dioxide cycle loop are accounted for, sustainable, and therefore neutral... even the cows. It's a complete environmental scope that is rarely accounted for completely with "profits." Maybe that better answers the question at hand.
By the way, this is not "my" methods coming to fruition at all. Weldon Warren was the man that taught me a significant portion of this methodology, although he is at a much larger scale and sells a lot of product. Shane is in a different state than Weldon, but I got them to talk on the phone once, and their goals are different. Weldon is taking 100% grass-fed beef to a whole other level. I may or may not have prayed for them to get what they wanted... but that's beside the point. He really is the walking talking version of the scientific method in action. Grass-fed beef fat cleans the blood system. Grain-fed beef fat clogs it. It's really that simple. HE... as in Weldon Warren himself, is the proof. You really should read his story. It's quite spectacular, and I'm glad I can call him a friend. Shane has been teaching me a much more personal and scaled down method, and THAT is really what I am interested in. A few hundred of these types of setup surrounding a neighborhood of pyramids. All the pyramids farming water and spreading outward into the land. Weldon will probably make a lot of money in the near future, but his security may be at risk. The personal sustainable farmer who is part of a community of farmers all capable of producing their own food and energy while being able to protect it is the way of the future... if the future is going to happen. I wouldn't want to fuck with Weldon either. These are men I am talking about. Hard-working, extremely intelligent, and deadly accurate with a variety of weapons. I'm just saying his operation is large and hard to manage alone. Shane could do everything himself, but he has to keep working. Anyways, they are the experts, I'm below a novice level, heh. I just sound well informed because I read a lot. Although... I have been called a cowboy by a real Oklahoma cattleman and a rodeo bull rider, so... lol. I always brag about that in a talking shit about myself way to all these folks out here. Most of them are really fun people to be around. A couple of them I'd call family. Before this experience, my growing adventures were fairly small scale. I WAS about to build a very large aquaponic greenhouse on my Oregon property, and had made it pretty far into the project,,, . I really had put in significant work on that project. I talked about it in chapter 7 of The Way. What's going on out here is very different from my methods. I'd like to do both, everywhere. Extracting ethanol is a big piece of my system. Bees play a large role in consumable sugars, and their flowers must be diverse and plentiful. That cellulose also feeds the ethanol extraction. I had the entire system ready, I just didn't know how to farm cattle properly until I met Weldon and Shane. Just wanted to say that for posterity.
Why Not Hunting and Fishing?
"…hunting and fishing. I notice that you’ve talked about aquaponics but not going fishing. Does this have to do with some of the current problems related to fish, such as toxicity (e.g. from plastic and mercury) and overfishing?"
In one of Sid Smith's talks he shows a picture titled, "Earth's Land Mammals By Weight.” It shows a basic overview of all life outside of the ocean... essentially. The distribution of sustenance for those mammals has decreased dramatically right alongside their population numbers. I would like to see those numbers balanced out with humanity's food animal share of the land. It's not an emotional stance, though it seems like it is. The real motivation behind wanting nature's animal population to rise is the genetic diversity within each species. There still is a significant amount of biodiversity, but within each species, the numbers have gotten so low that any disease or natural calamity has the ability to annihilate them from nature for good. That is the real fear. Once genetic diversity within a species is gone, the species itself is at risk. I am not against hunting or fishing, but there does need to be a moratorium on those activities outside of population control.
The idea that hunting wild game is a healthier source of animal protein is correct. The meat is leaner and has more benefits for the body when consumed. I cannot and would not argue that. What I am proposing as a solution has to do with the way cattle and other food animals are raised. The natural state of domesticated animals in a crude oil economy (grain-fed) is the real culprit to maintaining grass fed animal food stocks. Capitalism and profit margins within it are the reason why grain-fed beef even exists. It's a time allotment game, and the keepers of pricing standards control the ability for the farmers to diversify or make a total swap back to grass fed. The farmers are stuck in a loop where they have to produce calves for the grain-fed establishment, just so they can survive. That said, grass-fed beef is as good, if not better considering weight ratios, than wild game. The problem with it being profitable on the same margins as grain fed, is that it takes much longer to produce a fully-grown grass-fed cow than a grain-fed one. Given the population situation globally, a complete swap to grass-fed beef, and a resurgence in wild land for wild animals to repopulate, will not work in a financially controlled society. There simply is not enough time, as well as not enough beef itself that will be available to make such a swap. Humanity cannot afford not to make this swap, but it also cannot afford to make the swap. Ultimately meaning population numbers in humans must go down, and during that period of time when we are choosing to cull our own numbers through passive means, people will need to drastically reduce their animal protein intake. The wildlife cannot sustain the onslaught that a world full of starving hunters will bring, so making hunting a viable defense strategy to this cattle conundrum will just be another level of omnicide coming to fruition. Humanity needs wildlife to sustain the wild. If we lose them for good, the entire biosphere will collapse. It's a touchy subject that needs to be debated within each mind alive right now.
Hunting is a great way to manage the wildlife populations, and it is a very healthy source of protein and fat. Considering the global impact that hunting has caused, there needs to be a break from it, though. 3-5 years should allow the populations to self-regulate back into some semblance of sustainability. AT THE SAME TIME, a massive shift away from grain-fed animal foods needs to also occur. The health system alone cannot handle an entire Earth full of clogged artery having humans. The feedback loops that impact every system outside of the animal food industries is enough motivation to make this swap, but as long as the food industry is tied to the crude oil economy, and that economy is based on capitalism, the seductive nature of profitability will win out more than not. This swap needs to be made by the populace that consumes these animals. When all animal food stocks are grass-fed, the food will be as good, if not better than wild game. By my estimations, to make that swap would take about 3 years, which will require humanity to collectively change their entire eating structure. Keep in mind, I'm explaining the possibilities that could have been implemented starting last October. At this point in time, this kind of swap could be implemented, but there will have to be human sacrifice. There are simply too many humans alive right now to sustain this kind of a shift. The population numbers HAVE TO go down. There's no getting around that now. It's shitty news to have to give, but it's the truth no less. The solution is to raise our food animals the way that wildlife grows, which will offer a real alternative to hunting. Hunters are not wrong for doing what they've done, but at this point in time, knowing the numbers and understanding the impact that problem will bring to the entire planet, we have to take a break from it for now.
Fishing is a much more complex problem. Overfishing fucks up the atmosphere. Understanding the food chain of the oceans is essential to properly solving this equation. Without a fully functioning ocean biosphere, we will lose half of our oxygen... HALF. Keeping that system at full capacity should be the goal considering what will occur if we do not, but again... this is a profit game. The incentive to halt fishing does not exist for many countries around the world. Their culture was based on fish being food, and that is how they've sustained their populations to this point. The conglomerate fishing outfits that feed a production line system are the real problem, but humanity has is beyond fixing this problem with just shutting them down. The entire fishing industry needs to take a break and let the oceans form their own equilibrium. Again, this will take a significant human sacrifice, but if that sacrifice is not given, acidification will destroy the phytoplankton populations. And if that happens, the entire planet will perish. Most of these scenarios are identical in scope to that of the overall conundrum humanity is dealing with; annihilation, or Salvation. Those are the only real options humanity has left, and they spread into every aspect of life on Earth right now.
When it comes to lake and river fishing, the hatcheries do a very good job raising population numbers. Each individual region will have to decide their level of acceptable population within a given species, as long as their presence in the trophic web is sustainable. As far as ocean fishing is concerned, stop fishing them immediately before the feedback loops due to acidification kick into high gear. This is a severe problem that many do not understand. I lived on the Oregon coast before this all started, and used to walk my dog on the beach regularly. Once a year, a very large number of juvenile crabs would wash up on every beach dead. The cause was hypoxia. These types of events were happening, but on a much smaller scale. Now, they happen every year, sometimes several times. The oxygen in the water drops below life-sustaining levels and the juvenile crabs simply suffocate to death. That is a direct result of acidification growing, and there's only "1" cure. While that cure is being implemented, humanity needs to let the oceans correct themselves. At this point, there will be mass die-offs of numerous species. That is a foregone conclusion based on what we've already done. There's no way for us to manage every specie(s) in the ocean, so the only way to know is to let the populations deal with the acidification process correction on their own, and pray they do not go extinct in the process. The die-offs are bad... But fishing those populations during these die off events is suicidal. And this is just the beginning.
To compound on an already catastrophic scenario, the emulsification of plastics that humanity has dumped in the ocean over the last 100 years has caused significant biological problems in every aquatic lifeform on Earth. Plastics do not go away, they simply break down over time into smaller particles. During this gluttony of crude-oil-backed industrial expansion, the pulverized plastic particles have bioaccumulated in everything in the ocean. Birds included (really, everything included that eats ocean fish). These small fibrous shards distribute evenly within the fish bodies, and as a result, plastics are consumed by anything that eats them, humans included. This is another dirty little secret that is often times protected from reaching the general populace's zeitgeist in any meaningful way. If you're eating fish from the ocean, you are also consuming a large quantity of plastic. That is a fact. What's worse is that it bioaccumulates, meaning the saturation gets worse and worse over time. This is a problem that will last thousands of years, at the very least. The chemical derivatives that are released from a large quantity of plastics in the system is what's causing so many mental health problems in humanity right now. And it will only get worse from here. It's bad now... but this is only the beginning.
People will always want to eat fish. I get that, and understand the real mechanisms for why. That is why aquaponics are severely needed to reset the oceanic biosphere. If the fish stocks are raised and consumed outside of the oceanic paradigm, there is no reason to continue slaughtering the wild fish stocks. Again, this is a sacrifice that every human must decide to partake in of their own volition. I live this way now, by the way. I eat 1 meal a day, and usually it's balanced. If 2/3rds of the meals consumed by humans now were stopped immediately, the biosphere might recuperate. It's not a definite fix, but it is a step to rebuilding the wildlife on Earth. The food situation will not always be this way, but right now it is a necessary move. As I've said many times now, I wouldn't recommend anything that I would not also partake in. I'm partaking in this situation's solution now without anyone else capitulating. That's how serious I see these problems being. I can't speak for the majority of humanity, but if humanity wants to survive, this is the only viable path to that end. Just like the rest of the food and energy stores of the future, if you cannot produce it yourself, leave it alone. Fishing is no different. I'm not saying to stop eating fish, I'm saying humanity needs to stop fishing wild fish. To be honest, I have no idea how long that type of moratorium should last. The accumulation of carbon dioxide will continue to increase, and the deadzone phenomenon will follow suit. It could be a very long time before the oceans can be sustainably fished at the current capacity. The thing is, nobody really knows because of how vast and complex the ocean wildlife is. Anyone who contradicts what I just said is lobbying for profits. The health of the ocean and planet by proxy doesn't even enter their equation. There are problems we are creating now that won't be fully understood or felt by the populace for decades to come. The only motivation anyone should have concerning this matter is, if we lose the oceans, we lose the planet; omnicide, or Salvation. Keeps coming up, doesn't it? Anyways, that's how I feel about hunting and fishing. I'm not emotionally attached to the stigmas of consuming wild animal protein. My concerns are based on practical application and sustainability. What we are doing now is as far away from those goals as anything...