7 Questions with Brett Chedzoy
1. What do you see as the potential impact of regenerative grassland agriculture?
It will allow livestock farms of all scales to thrive in to the future due to greater resilience, decreased dependence on commodity prices and inputs, and less interference from regulation and public opposition
2. What do you believe are the big strategies and behaviors required to move us toward this?
A new generation of rancher must be recruited/developed that has the attitude and courage to do things differently, and that is willing to be more of a facilitator rather than a manipulator of nature.
3. What brought you to this point? Was there a defining beliefs or experience that sparked a change?
Any business where the owner/manager is not largely in control of both revenues & expenses is bound to fail. Grass-based livestock production where the major inputs are: management, pasture and some hay is about as simple and independent as any farming venture can be from the forces that make so many farms vulnerable today (prices, weather, labor, regulations, etc.)
4. Where or to whom do you look for guidance and inspiration?
Many great thinkers have influenced and inspired me. I most enjoy learning from those who can see beyond the facts and figures of research studies and the norms of today. As a forester, Aldo Leopold has probably been my greatest influence – though I have also had excellent mentors in that profession. Ray Archuleta was one of my earliest and most profound influences as a grazier, and made me start thinking more about the why than the how.
5. What is an important lesson you learned from a mistake?
On most days, the cows are smarter than I am.
6. What do you think is the most important first step someone in your field can take to move in the right direction?
Seek out a variety of opinions and methods. Even if another farmer is doing something different than how you would, try to understand why he or she does it. Is it tradition? Is it because the “experts” say to do it that way? Or is it because through trial and error that has become the best way for their situation? Don’t be judgmental or critical of what others do, but rather try to share with others and lead by positive example.
7. What will be the # 1 take home message from people listening to you speak?
In parts of the world (like the Northeast) where fields and forests are closely intermixed, Agroforestry is the way of the future. There’s huge untapped potential in many regions of the country to expand and enhance grass-based livestock production through silvopasturing.