Want Things to Stay As They Are? Things Will Have to Change.

In my short career in livestock management (exactly two years on September 15), I am reminded almost daily of one favorite, enlightening quotation from an obscure Italian novel, The Leopard.  The book was written by Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa and published after his death, in 1958.  Then in 1963 it was turned into a movie starring Burt Lancaster and Alain Delon.  Set in 1860s Italy, the protagonists are attempting to keep their life and lands in Sicily intact during the Risorgimento which would eventually lead to a united Italy for the first time since Rome fell to the barbarians in 476 A.D. The important quote (Alain Delon delivers it in the film) is well-known among a huge group of people across many lines of work, from military to commodity trading.  But I see its wisdom in agriculture: “If we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change.” It's a quote you can chew on for a while.  At first glance it makes little sense.  To achieve stasis, things will have to change.  Huh?  Okay, sounds Zen.  Twenty-five hundred years ago Heraclitus said, "The only constant is change."  But that's a little different than setting out to keep things as they are by seeking out or embracing change in order to keep things "as they are." So what does this have to do with agriculture and livestock?  Well, in my mind, we have goals or the things that we want to "stay as they are" but to get there we have to constantly evolve.  For example: I wanted

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2 thoughts on “Want Things to Stay As They Are? Things Will Have to Change.

  1. Gene,

    Thank you. I have a lot to learn and am starting from a data set of close to zero, so everything I learn adds to the hard drive.


  2. There are different herding styles and host of different breeds. Some dogs have a high drive and are more intense, other more laid back. Finding the right match can take time. I started with a herding dog but once the flock grew to over 200 ewes, the carrot no longer worked as well. I needed the stick in the back. This became more obvious as we began moving the flock to the next best paddock rather than the next one in line. You find lot’s of other uses for a good herding dog once you find a good one. Best employee you’ll ever own.

    Guard dogs have different working styles some stick with the flock like glue and are easily fenced. Other are like fencing water, but it is there working style rather than staying and waiting for a threat to appear, they are actively patrolling a border, marking territory and keeping potential threats from coming in too close in the first point. A patrol style LGD needs to understand/know their property and not harass the neighbors.

    It would be horrendously expensive to fence a LGD that wanted out. The glue type dog will stick with the flock with 2 wire poly electric and electrified netting will not contain the patrol style that wants out.

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