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Presented By: Ben and Denise Bartlett

Event: 2nd ECHO East Africa Pastoralist Symposium (2016-03-03)

Session: This session shares about soil health and grazing based on some recent research done on our farm. While the Michigan environment is very different than East Africa, like comparing oceans and deserts, the idea that plants get energy from the sun, share that bounty with the microbes in the soil, and then the microbes provide nutrients to increase plant growth is the same everywhere. Given how important water/rain is, what can we do with our grazing to catch and hold more water? The talk will also feature the Holistic Management organization and its programs in the US. This is relevant because a lot of people like Holistic Management ideas / grazing but the uptake by people on the land has lagged. How can we take the principles of Holistic Management and package the principles unchanged in ways that people can see the benefits and then make changes in what may be centuries old ways of doing things? Change is never easy.

Biographical information: Ben and Denise Bartlett live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and have a grazing-based farm running about 200 stocker cattle and 350 ewes and their lambs on 680 acres. Before retirement, Ben worked as an Extension educator for Michigan State University with specialties in animal behavior and grazing. Denise was the librarian and middle-school English teacher at our local K-12 school. Ben is on the board of Holistic Management International based out of Albuquerque, NM.