So what is this tour i’m on? and why? For one, Chile and Argentina have long been on my bucket list and what better time to go than with other travelers interested in livestock, soil, grass, water, and community improvement!
Several years ago, a short sample of holistic management resources was offered at FSRC and it made some good sense, but mostly we adopted the grazing management bits which Jim Gerrish taught and left the rest. Oh, well, i do use the testing decisions to some extent. My questions, however, tend to be, will it pencil? and can a child do it?
Short history is that Stan Parsons and Allan Savory teamed up to start Ranching for Profit. For whatever reason, they split and Stan continued Ranching for Profit (now called Ranch Management Consultants) and Allan started Holistic Management Resources (now called Holistic Management International). then a few years back, Allan left HMI and started Savory Institute which now answers to Savory Global.
After a great supper followed by a good night’s sleep and enjoying a delicious breakfast next morning, we loaded in our vehicles and headed for the Argentinian border. Crossing the border here is just part of the experience. There are two windows and agents to visit with at each border with a driving space of about 7 kilometers between the two. Getting out, showing and studying paperwork (for vehicles and people), stamping, questions, get loaded back up. It took our small tour of about ten people, 2 hours to navigate this labyrinth. The return was somewhat quicker – still a few bumps and luggage needed to be opened but only a cursory examination, more paperwork. If you don’t have your paperwork in order, chances are good, you will not cross.
But the effort was worth it once we arrived at Numancia Estacion. First greeted with open warm hospitality and then seated informally for a traditional Argentinian meal. We did have to wait about an hour for the rain to stop before we began our now shortened farm walk. Pablo shared details of his Hereford cattle program and Merino sheep scheme. Then we went out to examine how his 10-year implementation of managed grazing has improved forage quality and yield.
Back to Coyhaique for supper at Hotel El Reloj (awesome) then to Raices Bed and Breakfastjust before they closed the doors for the night! Finally to be in bed by midnight – scheduled departure is at 5:15a to meet a family business to take us to see the condors on a cliff side.
So, the short story is that an awesomely talented and accomplished woman, Mimi Hillenbrand, has for some years owned and managed the 777 Bison Ranch in South Dakota in a holistic manner vis-à-vis that which is promoted by the Savory Institute or Holistic Management International. Bison on an open ranch of thousands of acres requires a bit different approach to grazing pressure and rest to improve the soil health and forage quality/quantity. It was very interesting to hear how she handles the animals.
These past few years, she purchased a smaller property in Chile she named 45 South to not only improve the pastures, (though using cattle this time) but also just to really enjoy the beautiful scenery and to live in a completely different culture –at least part time.
I cannot do justice to the sweet hospitality of this young family. Our Savory Institute journey group is here to learn about the improvements they have experienced using the holistic management techniques. The grass is thick, lush, and tender – rested paddocks are ready for consuming.
As I read the Old Testament (OT), a question has always surfaced for me: On what merit were the faithful of the OT saved? Why are some people considered righteous while others are condemned, when both did sinful things, and what does that mean for my understanding of God? This is a theological question and requires a theological answer, but before you tune out, please hear this: you cannot punt on this for being “too academic” or “not practical”. Understanding who God is and who are His people is one of the ultimate practical topics. I don’t have a theology degree, but I know that I MUST have an answer to this question in order to make sense of the God I say I follow.
So, back to our OT friends. How were they saved? Let’s look at a couple simple answers.
Early morning flight on LATAM airlines from Santiago to Balmaceda went without a hitch. Met up with Trey, our tour director and lovely local girl as guide and found ourselves staying in a beautiful private lodge 1 1/2 hours outside Balmaceda. Met our other tour members later that afternoon at the lodge. Family style dinner provided was enjoyed by all as well as freshly made Pisco Sours traditional Chilean drink.
Next day is a drive through Patagonia to Coyhaique.
Whilst waiting for my next flight out of Santiago and no internet the next couple of days, i’ll post a quick blog that is a reminder that farming and ranching is not the glamorous career choice some think. Now, my photos are tiny inconveniences.