Follow Glenn and Alderspring Ranch

Regeneration in the Rockies

Glenn Elzinga is a rancher on mostly public lands in the Idaho Rocky Mountains. He’s also a forester, and his wife is a botanist…and together they have developed a practice of cattle grazing called “inherding” that is very healthy for the cattle because of the diversity of plants they eat; that restores streams and creeks to the point that beaver have returned; and that allows native plants and wildlife–including sage grouse and wolves–to flourish on the land. It’s labor-intensive and yet economically viable. Listen to find out how they do it.

Photo of Alderspring Ranch 1999 and 2018

1’48 How Alderspring ranch began–stresses and challenges
3’49 Starting grassfed beef and organic
4’58 Wolf depredation
6’55 Other problems on the range–riparian problems caused by cattle
10’03 Getting inspiration from old paintings of cowboys
11’17 Deciding to live with their cattle and do “inherding.”
12’52 Partnering with Nature Conservancy
14’30 What the days are like doing inherding
15’35 Inspiration from book by Michel Meuret and Fred Provenza
16’19 “Ecological doctoring”
16’45 Connection among plant diversity, animal health, and health of the meat
17’13 500 different native plants that cattle will eat
18’22 Grass-fed beef with diverse grasses and plants
20’02 Directing the cattle to eat a diverse diet
22’02 Training cows not to damage riparian areas
24’35 Teaching cows to eat a more varied diet
28’11 What are the cows drinking if you’re keeping them away from riparian areas
29’41 The reappearance of beavers
31’12 Other examples of wildlife regeneration
31’58 Return of sage grouse
33’45 Return of great basin wild rye
35’01 Inherding as a kind of holistic range management
37’18 The intensity of commitment of inherding
39’41 Taste testing
40’37 Connecting nutrition with public lands
42’05 Compatibility of recreation and grazing?
45’28 What happened when they took cows off the Italian Alps
46’30 Ketcham, Idaho, Trailing of the sheep festival
47’19 Does enough people want to do this kind of work?
48’53 The kind of toughness required to do the job
53’29 Teaching others this method
54’50 Combination of skills required
55’35 Possibility of journeyman programs
58’37 Tipping point in agriculture

How to Listen

iTunes • Sticher • I heart Radio  • Google Play • Player FM • RadioPublic

More Episodes

Episode 41 – Zombie Agriculture

Industrial agriculture looks like it’s alive, but often the soil is dead, animals are living in excruciating conditions, and the food looks good but is not as nutritious as food grown from living soils in humane circumstances.

read more

Episode 40 – Farming While Black

That’s the name of Lean Penniman‘s new book, and it’s a profound and wide-ranging exploration of everything from the practical details of how to start a farm, to the rich history of African-heritage farming.

read more

Episode 39 – Rounding up the evidence on Roundup

Carey Gillam is a veteran journalist, researcher and writer with more than 25 years experience in the news industry covering corporate America. Since 1998, Gillam’s work has focused on digging into the big business of food and agriculture.

read more

Episode 38 – The little rodent that could…

“In Eager, environmental journalist Ben Goldfarb reveals that our modern idea of what a healthy landscape looks like and how it functions is wrong, distorted by the fur trade that once trapped out millions of beavers from North America’s lakes and rivers.”

read more

Episode 27 – Working at the “Radical Center”

Working at the “Radical Center” How do adversaries find common ground? How do they work together to find common goals an interests? Food from the Radical Center: Healing our Land and Communities by Gary Paul Nabhan is about food and land conservation, and its lessons...

read more