When I was working for the Bureau of Land Management and stationed at Utah State University, a friend and I started an internship program called “Tehabi.” It gave students the background and experience they needed to work for land management agencies like the National Park Service, the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management, and helped short-staffed offices get work done. Just as importantly, Tehabi increased the number of ideas about how to solve a problem by putting people together who had different backgrounds and education.
One of the things we taught students was that there was always more than one right answer. We’d seen too often how opportunities were missed by trying to solve a problem in only one way, and had also seen that when people sat down, talked, and shared their ideas, that they could come up with lots of different, very good solutions. Our motto celebrated the idea that good ideas came from changing our minds. It was printed on the mugs we gave students:
We cannot solve our problems using the same level of intellect we used to create them.
– Albert Einstein
The motto and the idea that there is always more than one right answer is something I’ve carried into all the work I’ve done since. For example: If we can’t get rid of weeds with herbicides, and ranchers don’t like goats – well teach their cattle to eat the weeds. Or – if you can’t find a publication that provides the grazing information you need, why not start one? That’s how On Pasture came to be!
There are also multiple right answers for grazing management, as both James Matthew Craighead and John Marble point out this week. They describe a recipe for success that includes having a good grasp of how plants and animals grow, and setting goals that work for our own operations.
As you read these stories, think about what resources you might need to help you improve your grazing management. Feel free to drop me a line about your needs, and I’ll work on getting you information. And for assistance planning, developing goals, and even finding financial assistance, check out your local Natural Resource Conservation Service office. They have all kinds of resources to help.
Thanks for reading!