Show notes from Mack Farms. (Foreword and Editor: the Shepherdess)
Foreword: The principle of Diversity is a corner pillar in Regenerative Agriculture. As regenerative farmers we should pursue the principles of diversity in every area of farming. So doing will maximize not only efficiency, but also profitability. The following show notes are from Elijah Mack and they outline a few of the ways that we, as regenerative farmers, can weave a safety net of diversity on our farms.
Diversity “Resilience is Diversity in motion”
– Daniel Griffith, Timshel Wildland
Diversity is stability, a safety net in your farming infrastructure. Farming comes with very little guarantees. Diversity is a way to cover your bases and build security into your operation. In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth… and diversity was fundamental in His design! Diversity with the blessing to be fruitful & multiply. Creation is still dynamic. (Gen. 1:1, 28)
Here are a few ways we can diversify as Regenerative Farmers:
Diversity of Equipment
Try to ensure the equipment you invest in is diverse in it’s usability (aka: no single-purpose equipment!!!). Focus on building an inventory of tools that you can multitask with. Rate what you decide to invest in on a Scale of Permanence, by asking how hard will this be to change once I build it? Once you build permanent infrastructure or invest in an expensive (single purpose) tool it is hard to re-configure it.
Here are some tips to make sure your equipment on farm can be diversified:
- Delay the construction of buildings, gates, handling facilities until you know what works.
- Make buildings open and multi-functional, livestock, equip, manure, hay
- Ask yourself: Do I need permanent fence, gates, etc? Can I do something creative with portable electric fencing to achieve the same end goal?
Diversity of Skill Sets
As a Regenerative Farmer, consider yourself – the human body/mind – as the ultimate tool. Also consider how your livestock might be able to do the work for you.
- Diversify your skill set: Jack of all trades, master of none.
- Historically, specialization of tasks has been a downfall. A lack of diversity creates economic frailty; on a personal level and on a national level.
- The Livestock is your first employee on your regenerative farm – use them. As you approach a task, ask yourself the question: “Is there a way I can employ the livestock’s natural behavior to perform this task?” (planting seeds, brush clearing, etc)
Diversity of Creatures on Farm
Think of farm animals as collaborators, not competitors.
- Cattle – grazers – 80% forage, 20% browse
- Sheep – 50/50
- Goats – browsers – 80% browse, 20% forage.
Consider the forage needs of these “typical” farm animals and then ask yourself, “how can I manage these animals so that they maximize the various forage resources on my farm?”
To be continued!…