Questions with the Speakers - Dr. Joseph Mercola & Sid DeRouen

By
Mar 22, 2016

Here is our second installment of our blog series “Questions with the Speakers” for the upcoming conference on April 27 and 28 in Perry, GA. In preparation for the conference, we asked these speakers a common set of questions concerning the future of grassfed production and the story of their experiences and insights that led to their leadership in our industry. This will be a short sampling of what you can learn and discuss while attending. If you have not signed up for the conference yet go here. There is still early bird pricing through March 31st. Enjoy and get your questions ready! In the weeks to come, we will share their answers here. This installment is Dr. Joseph Mercola and Sid DeRouen.


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Dr. Joseph Mercola

1. What do you see as the potential impact of regenerative grassland agriculture?
Regenerative agriculture is the most rational and responsible path forward to save our topsoil and water. The last known good configuration was to keep the herbivores on the grasslands and out of feedlots. Tearing up grasslands for corn and soy to haul off to herbivores in confined feedlots is one of the most foolish things we have done to the topsoil and our ability to grow nutrient dense food on a commercial scale.

2. What do you believe are the big strategies and behaviors required to move us toward this?
I would focus on 3 strategies: Nutrient Dense Foods, Toxin Avoidance, and Promotion of Environmental Benefits. We need to publish studies and tests that prove these differences repeatedly. Antibiotics, added hormones, and pesticides are major concerns. The fact we can produce more nutrient dense, higher quality foods while avoiding toxins and improving our environment is win-win for everybody.

3. Why are you doing things the way you are today?
I have always had a long term strategy and tend to ignore short term benefits that compromise those long term objectives. Additionally, you feel much better when you do what you think is right; doing what is right is not always what is easy.

4. What brought you to this point? Was there a defining moment that sparked a change?
I’ve treated over 20,000 patients and I am convinced that any honest truth seeking health professional will reach the inevitable conclusion that the health of their patients is ultimately related to the health of the soil that can nourish them with nutrient dense real foods.

5. Where or to whom do you look for guidance and inspiration?
There are many unheralded pioneers that inspire me, especially scientists, like Don Huber, Jonathan Latham, Judy Carmen, and David Lewis are just a few examples of those that had to quit their careers because they exposed corruption in industry and the government. Additionally we have over 10 million unique visitors to the website each month. They continue to comment and provide insights that are the reason behind our growth and success.

6. What is an important lesson you learned from a mistake?
After you finish your formal education the university of life provides you with many lessons and many of those mistakes can be painful and very expensive. It is clear to learn not only from my mistakes so I seek to not make the same mistake twice.

7. What do you think is the most important first step someone in your field can take to move in the right direction?
Keep an open mind; much of the education we receive is similar to what the media provides. It is information that is manipulated for a purpose, learning never ends. Seek out alternative media sources on the internet and trust your intuition it will guide you once you are exposed to broad based views on the topics you are seeking to understand.

8. What will be the # 1 take home message from people listening to you speak?
You can take control of your health and one person can make a huge difference.


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Sid DeRouen

1. What do you see as the potential impact of regenerative grassland agriculture?
If done correctly, positive. Use of hoofed animals, not overgrazing, recycling of nutrients and adding topsoil will result in regeneration.

2. What do you believe are the big strategies and behaviors required to move us toward this?
Education. This includes demonstrations of "real world" regeneration successes showing the practices with timelines used to achieve this and having a commitment to mob grazing practices.

3. Why are you doing things the way you are today?
I prefer to produce beef the way mother nature intended and that is on forages alone on pastures their entire lives. I feel I have gone "full-circle" with this concept. I once produced beef conventionally and now have gone back to the way my great-grandfather produced beef cattle.

4. What brought you to this point? Was there a defining moment that sparked a change?
It was an evolving change in my philosophy to raising beef. In 2008 or 2009 I heard a colleague with the LSU AgCenter talk about a grass-fed beef research project he was working and then I visited with a couple of grass-fed producers in south Louisiana. As a result, in the fall of 2009 I "switched" to being a grass-fed producer.

5. Where or to whom do you look for guidance and inspiration?
I look to my partners with our grass-fed business, my family, and my customers whom I meet with regularly with direct marketing. I am also inspired by the land, nature, and my cattle primarily my mamma cows. It is a lifestyle that I enjoy.

6. What is an important lesson you learned from a mistake?
Try not to have that mistake happen again; utilize your experience. One other aspect is do not overreact to certain matters...sometimes the best decision is to not do anything and let nature do its "thing," more times than not it works out. When I was younger, I would tend to over-react and intervene in certain situations.

7. What do you think is the most important first step someone in your field can take to move in the right direction?
Have your forage/pasture program "in order." Have your infrastructure, i.e., fencing, water system, working pens, etc. in place also. These two first steps are necessary before buying the first cow and getting off to a good start.

8. What will be the # 1 take home message from people listening to you speak?
Do not expect to get rich from this business. You need to have a love and passion for this type of work. This business includes having some knowledge in management, science, and also art in trying to make all the components work in harmony. Expect disappointments, Mother Nature can be a challenge at times. Lastly, you will need to network with people in this niche but growing market.

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