Sustainable: The Ability to Endure…

I did some searching on the internet last week for a definition of sustainable.   This one is my favorite.

Sustainable: The ability to endure.007

  • 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.willfeedsign3

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.Sept. 4, 2011 024

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?

May 20 2011 015

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.Pasture June 2, 2012 Gather 032

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?


Filed under General, Sustainable Spring

7 responses to “Sustainable: The Ability to Endure…

  1. Marsha Purcell

    Extremely well stated. Thank you for what you do.

  2. Jo Stanko

    I believe each farmer and rancher needs to be able to clearly state their definition of sustainable. I too have been struggling with the definition of sustainability. Had the opportunity to dialogue with a group of 40 students working on degrees in sustainability. Since I got to choose the topic of dialogue, I chose their definition of sustainability, the difference between sustainable and subsistence, and what they were planning to do with their degrees. It was like the proverbial story of blind men describing an elephant with no clear cut definition but the consensus is that there must be two definite components; it must be environmentally responsible and it financially must be able to support itself. They weren’t clear if they thought if should make a profit or support a family or merely pay the mortgage and expenses. Not one of them was sure what they were going to do with the degree. Next dialogue is what is a factory farm.

    • I agree, Jo. The topic of sustainability is an important one. We need good discussion on what it really means, and farmers certainly need to be actively engaged. I think that the discussion so far has mostly been too convoluted and complicated—it seems that it is human nature to make things complex. Sometimes, we just need to step back and really look at the core of the issue instead of getting caught up in the sensational outer edges.

      I have several posts on factory farms so feel free to send your students my way 🙂

      Thanks for reading and commenting,

  3. Another thought provoking and wonderful post. I enjoyed it and it gave me new things to keep in mind as usual 🙂

    • Glad that you liked it–it actually is one of my recent favorites in terms of posts. I hope that all is well!


      • Busy.. have an ear infection, but all else is going well. The chickens are growing up and we had a nice day 🙂 Hope you get the warm weather we are supposed to have this weekend 🙂

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