I did some searching on the internet last week for a definition of sustainable. This one is my favorite.
- Perhaps this definition spoke to me because there are times on our farm when I feel as though Matt and I are so challenged that we simply endure.
- Perhaps it spoke to the natural tenacity that is firmly embedded in my personality.
- Perhaps the simplicity of those four words caught my attention because they juxtapose against the convoluted conversation that normally surrounds the word.
For whatever reason, it resonated with me and has circled around in my mind for several days now. Interestingly, the third pillar of the Progressive Beef program is Sustainability.
Click here for the first two pillars if you missed them in January’s posts:
The fact that sustainability is a cornerstone to the Progressive Beef program speaks to the importance of the topic relative to the production of high quality beef. Just as I care about food safety and good cattle welfare, I also care about the environment and the sustainability of my farm.
Matt and I must both effectively use and protect our farm’s resources while simultaneously enduring both Mother Nature’s trials as well as man-made challenges. My favorite farmer believes that urban sprawl is the single largest threat for the future sustainability of our farm, our country and our planet. That belief creates this pivotal question:
How can we all endure as population growth tests our ability to exist without irrevocably harming the Earth?
Because this thought is forever in our minds, there are many things that Matt and I focus on at the farm to try to increase its ability to endure.
- Reduce waste through recycling.
- Responsibly manage the manure that we use to fertilize our crop land.
- Reuse the water that runs off of the feed yard during a rain to both fertilize and water adjacent crop land.
- Constantly learn new science and the subsequent development of technology, and determine whether it is a fit for our farm.
- Procure the feed for our cattle locally (either on our own farm or within our greater community).
- Feed cattle who are bred to be efficient converters of feed, and offer them outstanding care that enables them to reach their God-given potential.
I believe that achieving and maintaining sustainability is a journey. It is a constant evolution of ideas and practices that revolve around a principle goal of responsible food production, and are driven by an unrelenting desire to be a good caretaker.
Somewhere deep inside my heart is the desire to not only endure but to endure with excellence. Does the surrounding new life of spring inspire you in your journey for sustainability?