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
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.
Diana Rodgers is the author of several books and is working on a new book and documentary film project, Sacred Cow. She hosts the Sustainable Dish podcast, and she lives and works on an organic farm in Massachusetts.
Dr. Robert Fetsch has for decades been helping farmers and ranchers deal with disabilities — from injuries brought on by hard work, to mental health problems like anxiety, depression, and anger.
Nicole Masters is an agro-ecologist and educator in regenerative agriculture. She’s founder of Integrity Soils, and author of the new book, For the Love of Soil.
The food business is beginning to realize that they’re unsustainable — but don’t really know how to transition. Bio-Logical Capital provides demonstrations and research that point to possible paths forward.
Graeme Hand teaches Holistic Management, and how to restore grasslands with cattle–and his techniques might surprise you!
Joel Benson applied his training in holistic management to his business, and then to the government of his small town where he was mayor for eight years. The results are inspiring — and remind us of the power of systems thinking.
While cows can be destructive, they can also be effective management tools for improving land health. We talk to Rodrigo Sierra Corona about his work to improve grasslands and preserve species at the Santa Lucia Conservancy.
A long-time Quivira Coalition leader and proponent of regenerative agriculture, Kate Greenberg is now the Commissioner of Agriculture for the state of Colorado. We talk about what it means to take a regenerative and “Radical Center” approach from her position in government.
Richard Teague is Professor in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management at Texas A&M University. He shares with us his deep understanding of the science of holistic management, soil science, and the psychology of changing over to new practices and paradigms.
Ed Roberson is conservation director at the Palmer Land Trust, and he’s host of the Mountain and Prairie podcast. We talk about some of the problems surrounding water in the West–and some new approaches to balancing urban and agricultural water needs.
Emmanuel Karisa Baya was an orphan in rural Kenya by the time he was nine years old. His mother had taught him to farm, and after going into another profession, he was called to return to the land.