Author Archives: curtpate

We Love the Land, But the Land Doesn’t Love Us

The television series “1883” had a line in it spoken by Elsa, the main character that went like this, “no matter how much we love the land, it will never love us back”.

It really set in my mind and got me to thinking about it.  Of course the things I’m thinking about are livestock and the resources needed to provide for them.

The best part of the work I get to do is seeing all the different ways different cultures on the land use and care for it, and love it or have no feeling for it.

My main focus has always been animals, and the quality of life that we can provide for them, even when I didn’t know that was the focus, simply because of my feelings toward them.  The more I learn and think the better I get.  With animals the results and outcomes are very quick and your pleasures or disappointments are very quick, and this becomes very addicting to some of us.

Resources are the other part of livestock production.  That comes from the land.  Animals come and go, humans come and go, ideas come and go, but the land is here forever.  

We love taking and using the things it provides for us.  The land is so good to us, especially now with all the technology advances in the last 120 years, we can even take more of what she has to offer.

The land has always had a temper that can cause it to take just like it gives.

Flood, tornado, drought, earthquake, fire and disease are all the takers.  She gives and takes with what seems to be unemotional.

Before so called civilized man came along and put fences up, the land and the animals got along just fine with a balance of give and take.  The animals came and went quickly creating a balance with the lands abundance and disasters, to create an ecosystem that seems to have been created by a higher power.

I think we are in a new revolution in animal agriculture with the use of grazing animal management and making a big difference in the health of the land we love.  Different fragility’s of the ecosystem certainly create different approaches.  

Really we can probably separate things into two categories. Dry fragile and wet humid.

Dry fragile takes a long time to recover from improper management.  Wet climates can be improved quickly with animal impact and rest and recovery.

I was on the Squaw Valley Ranch in northern Nevada this last week.  I would classify most of it as fragile. The ranch has photographs that show the improvement made since 1977. It’s great to see, and also the new technology they are working on to improve even more in the future. It’s great stuff and I will try to share more.

Moving pairs in Nevada ecosysem

I encourage you to check out the Noble Foundation and the changes they are making to help us all move forward through regenerative grazing of animals to improve the ecosystem in northern Texas and Southern Oklahoma and around the world.

Grazing pairs in Arkansas

The last time I went to Arkansas I stopped and visited with my friend Earl Pepper.  He drove me around the beautiful ranch he is on.  We went through pasture after pasture of an incredible mix of grasses, and lots of watering points for livestock.

When we got to the end of the circle he took me to the headquarters where the previous owner had built a church as a gift to his wife in the name of her father who fought in World War Two.  It was just incredible and a nice monument to the WW2 veteran.  

As we got outside and put our hats back on and looked down the hill at the grass and the cattle, I said to Earle that I really liked the church but I actually felt closer to God out in the grass and cattle on a horse and he agreed, and I think you might too.

So maybe the land loves us more than we think, it’s just quite about it.  It makes no difference if it loves us or not, if we take care of it, it will be a lot more apt to give us what we need, and our families and fellow man in the future.  If we don’t, I believe we may be in trouble.

Horseback Value Added

My son Rial pointed out to the folks at the Tribe Cattle Co that I would try do anything not to use a side by side or four wheeler after we had used a saddle horse to take down and put up a new grazing paddock.  I had never thought of it before but it’s true.

The reason is that I always have horses that need to be Improved.  The way to do that is to use them in a way that gets them better.

Lots of people don’t see the value in it, but if you plan things and set things up, you can get lots of things done at the same time and really increase the value of time spent and the quality of your job satisfaction, if you enjoy being horseback.

The advantage of being on a small place is you can ride lots of horses.  If you are in big country, you have to be careful to ride a horse with lots of bottom to them or you’ll ride the fire or try out of them.  You’ll make some awful good horses, just not very many of them.  It’s easy to get five or six horses a day ridden on a smaller place and have real work with a purpose rather than going around and around in an arena.  What’s even better is to work in the arena a little bit and then get out and do some real work(doesn’t have to be cow work).

I like to start my morning jingling the horses in from pasture.  It’s the best way to get a horse straight and moving forward with lots of life.  Then I like to finish my day taking the cavvy back out to pasture in the evening.  I start and end my work day the best way I know.

Remember, every time you start an engine and drive a machine it decreases in value.  Every time you saddle a horse and get them handier and safer he increases in value.  The way horses are selling now, they really increase in value!

Here’s a few YouTube videos that show some of the things I like to do horseback.