Issues of concern to people who live in the west: property rights, water rights, endangered species, livestock grazing, energy production, wilderness and western agriculture. Plus a few items on western history, western literature and the sport of rodeo... Frank DuBois served as the NM Secretary of Agriculture from 1988 to 2003. DuBois is a former legislative assistant to a U.S. Senator, a Deputy Assistant Secretary of Interior, and is the founder of the DuBois Rodeo Scholarship.
Wednesday, September 05, 2012
Arizona cattle rancher finds old ways are new again
What grows here has grown more important to Schwennesen, whose family has ranched the high grasslands of east-central Arizona for two generations. The Double Check has fed its livestock a diet of range forage and grass for almost 20 years, walking away from commercial feed and modern additives. But Schwennesen decided about five years ago to turn the clock back further and return the ranch to nature. This year, the cattle graze on whatever native grasses grow in the pastures. Schwennesen added a little alfalfa to the mix for nutrition, but he didn't blade the ground, leaving the seeds to compete with what was there already. Schwennesen is a modern rancher and a throwback at the same time. He looks the part of a cowboy, a movie casting department's dream, and he still rides horses, oversees the branding and worries about straggler calves on the family's grazing allotment near the New Mexico border. But he won't give animals hormones or artificial supplements, he limits their medication, he uses no chemicals or pesticides on the grass, and he sells the beef he grows directly to consumers, ready to discuss every aspect of his operation. None of that is new, he will argue, only forgotten in an age of corporate ranches and feedlots...more