Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sheep ranchers look into 'targeted grazing'

On a harvested wheat field in Yolo County, Don Watson’s “wooly weeders” hungrily chomp on a gourmet feast of invasive plants that have overtaken the property. The landowner pre-irrigated the field to let the weeds to grow out before Watson put his sheep to work on the land. The idea is to allow the animals to clean up the field rather than using herbicides. “This is just a symbiotic quid pro quo that we’re doing,” Watson said. “We gain on the lambs and they’ll gain from how (the lambs) are inoculating the soil with manure, which acts as a fertilizer.” Watson, who spoke last week at a workshop on targeted grazing, currently operates two businesses: Wooly Weeders, which provides grazing services for vegetation management, and Napa Valley Lamb Co., which produces meat and wool. The California Wool Growers Association held the workshop in Woodland to help educate producers about the potential profitability, as well as the legal and financial risks, associated with adding grazing services to livestock operations...more

Notice the flexibility and innovation on private land, as compared to federal ownership.

Property is a central economic institution of any society, and private property is the central institution of a free society...David Friedman

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