Hilary and Andrew Anderson manage cattle and range using a combination of progressive range management practices, electric fencing, low-stress range riding and herding in southeast Montana. By the mid-2000s, they…

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Greg Hertel has used Airedale terriers for several years to protect himself, family and staff from grizzly bears by keeping them away from livestock and buildings around their Cody, Wyoming ranch. The Airedales sound a particular bark when they smell or see a grizzly bear, and are let out of their kennel to run the bears off the ranch.

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Opening the pickup door and stepping out onto native grass, the sun begins to rise amidst the sound of the dawn chorus. I listen to the melodic tinkling of a Baird’s sparrow (my favorite song, and also set as my morning phone alarm); the downward whirl of the Sprague’s pipit (my ring tone); the buzz of the Brewer’s sparrows, the joyful couplets of the McCown’s longspur. The chestnut-collared longspurs are chasing each other in play, or fight.

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When a new farm bill comes out, there is often a sinking feeling that it’s going to be a lot to swallow and maybe not all of it will be great tasting. Will the same programs be available? And if so, what will be different about them, if anything? What exactly are the programs again?

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Although we can’t actually do all that is put before us as stewards of community, family, animals and land, I do believe we can do all of it on a scale that is meaningful. We can both save and savor in the living that we do.

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As holistic managers and Holistic Management educators, Andrea and I understand the importance of financial planning. But why aren’t we doing it in our own lives? What is blocking us from engaging with this powerful practice and having meaningful conversation about it with our support network and friends? We set out on a journey to find out.

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Lifting soil health, building resilience and ranch performance starts with the use of all our senses. This includes tapping into our sense of wonder. We are now moving into the next phase of agriculture, what researchers are calling agro-ecological or “post-modern” agriculture. The future of agriculture requires a transformation in how we see, think, and act in the food production spaces. One in which women are poised to play essential roles.

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