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Human Performance Outliers Podcast

Aug 2, 2019

Welcome to the Human Performance Outliers Podcast with hosts Dr. Shawn Baker and Zach Bitter. For this episode,  Bobby Gill joined the show. Bobby is a Biological Resources Engineer and the Director of Development and Communications for the Savory Institute. Bobby works to create holistic solutions that accelerate the adoption of regenerative agriculture among land managers, business, and consumers.

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Instagram handles: @shawnbaker1967@zachbitter, @b0bby.gill

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Show Specific Notes & References: 

Misc. links:
Peer-reviewed papers:
  • Stanley 2018 – This paper conducts a lifecycle assessment, including direct measure of carbon flux, on various livestock finishing systems and shows that properly-managed livestock create an ecosystem that is a net carbon sink instead of net carbon emitter.
  • Peel 2018 - Case study analyzing vegetation and landscape function at the Africa Centre for Holistic Management in Zimbabwe. "HPG yields positive long-term effects on ecosystem services (soils and vegetation) and points to the HPG approach enhancing the sustainability of livestock and wildlife in this environment."
  • Teague 2017 – This paper is an overarching discussion on various types of grazing management and the potential for proper (holistic) management to regenerate ecosystem function and grazingland livelihoods. It also dives into the shortcomings of most grazing research that reduces whole ecosystem complexities into individual factors.
  • Teague 2016 – This paper determined that properly-managed grazing, if applied on 25% of our crop and grasslands, would mitigate the entire carbon footprint of North American agriculture.
  • Rowntree 2016 – “From this data, we conclude that well-managed grazing and grass-finishing systems in environmentally appropriate settings can positively contribute to reducing the carbon footprint of beef cattle, while lowering overall atmospheric CO2 concentrations.”
  • Peters 2016 – This study modeled human carrying capacity under ten diet scenarios. Even though carrying capacity was generally higher for diets with less meat (likely due to modeling being based of feedlot stats and the cropland needed to grow the feed), “the carrying capacity of the vegan diet was lower than two of the healthy omnivore diet scenarios.”
  • Machmuller 2015 – “Farms accumulated C at 8.0 Mg ha−1 yr−1, increasing cation exchange and water holding capacity by 95% and 34%, respectively. Thus, within a decade of management-intensive grazing practices soil C levels returned to those of native forest soils, and likely decreased fertilizer and irrigation demands. Emerging land uses, such as management-intensive grazing, may offer a rare win–win strategy combining profitable food production with rapid improvement of soil quality and short-term climate mitigation through soil C-accumulation."
  • Ferguson 2013 - Compared the sustainability of 18 conventional and 7 holistic, dual-purpose ranches in Mexico, finding that the ranches managing holistically had greater yield ratios, higher soil respiration, deeper topsoil, and increased earthworm presence. The authors conclude that "Holistic Management strategies are leading to greater ecological and economic sustainability."
  • Weber 2011 – Paper discussing grazing systems utilized by pastoralist societies, the resulting desertification, and the need for these grazing systems to supplanted by more inclusive planning processes that better manage the spatio-temporal aspects of grazing.
  • Stinner 1997 - Interviewed ranchers using Holistic Management. Ninety-five percent reported an increase in biodiversity, 80 percent reported an increase in profits, and 91 percent reported improvements in quality of life. All reported that biodiversity is now an important consideration in managing their land, whereas only 9 percent felt so prior to exposure to Holistic Management.