Holistic Management

Farmers make many, many decisions about how to conduct their business every single day. I've found the rubric of "Holistic Management" to be immensely useful. Its process can help to clarify problems and get to their root causes. Ultimately it forces one to think and talk until it becomes clear what one really wants. Once the want is known, it can be managed for. With each decision a practitioner of Holisitic Management (HM) asks, "will this action take me toward my holistic goal or away from it?" I think agriculture's many decade focus exclusively on money/production/speed came at the expense of everything else - humane treatment of animals, environmental health, farm labor, and rural communities. HM places a large emphasis on financial planning, but it is not at the exclusion of the 'softer' aspects of farming and living with neighbors. I'm mildly obsessed with my pigs right now, so I'm going to write about them again in relation to HM.

While selling pork last week I had at least 5 different customers tell me about the recent NPR Fresh Air program in which Dave Davies interviewed Barry Estabrook the author of Pig Tales. Here it is if you want to take a listen for yourself. The pig related part doesn't last for the entire 47 minutes

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