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
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Betsy Gaines Quammen has been researching the history of Mormonism and its relationship to Western landscapes for years. We talk about her new book, American Zion: Cliven Bundy, God and Public Lands in the West.
Water expert Brian Richter walks us through the history of these great man-made lakes, and how we can ensure that they will continue to provide water through man-made crises like climate change.
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Grazing on public lands is controversial–for good reason. But when it’s done right, adaptive grazing can greatly improve land health–from overgrazed land, to former oil fields, to bombing ranges. Gregory Horner tells the stories.
Grant and Dawn Breitkreutz didn’t know they were cultivating soil health when they started doing Holistic Management of their livestock. But as they learned to work with nature rather than fighting it their soil–and their farm–began to thrive in ways they’d never dreamed of.
Farmer and writer Stanley Crawford got involved in a legal action that challenged a huge firm that wasn’t paying duties, and was “dumping” garlic onto the US market. What was supposed to take one year turned into a multi-year drama that is still ongoing.
Ronnie Cummins analyzes what’s not working about our food system and lays out a blueprint for change — while reminding us that regenerative agriculture is ultimately a necessity.
Kelsey Ducheneaux is a fourth generation regenerative beef cattle rancher, and she works with the Intertribal Agriculture Council helping producers to work within the current system–and reinvigorate native foods and practices.
Brennan Washington is an agriculture Renaissance man. He farms, promotes farmers markets, provides resources to limited-resource producers, and produces the Sustainable Ag Rider podcast.
Farmers in Australia work as fire fighters–but they don’t always do effective fire prevention. We talk to farm planner Darren Doherty talks about the devastation, causes, and opportunities arising from the bush fires.
We talk to Kevin Watt from TomKat Ranch about the practice and benefits of regenerative agriculture, how to incentivize it, and the dire long-term consequences of the degenerative practices of industrial agriculture.
Kate Zeigler is a geologist who works with farmers and ranchers in the arid Southwest to monitor their wells and the water table that keeps them flowing–and helps them to come up with water conservation strategies.
Jillian Hishaw works with farmers to protect themselves, their families, and their land–legally and financially. Attorney and food systems strategist, she provides free or low-cost services, particularly to African American farmers.
The hemp plant is amazingly versatile and resilient, and it can be used to produce innumerable healthy products and services. So why was it made illegal, and what does the future hold? We talk to hemp farmers Ed Berg and Scott Perez.
What does it take to be an apprentice on a farm or ranch? What does it take to mentor the apprentices? Paul Neubauer knows both sides, and talks about learning–and teaching–both practical and personal skills on the land.