Holistic Livestock Husbandry & Grazing
Holistic Livestock Husbandry highlights tried and true management techniques and explores new directions for managing the small diversified livestock farm for healthy, contented livestock. The course looks at how farm infrastructure, feeding regimens, animal handling, and management decisions impact the health of the whole system—livestock, landscape, people, markets, and community. We will study different types of animals and observe how they interact with the landscape and facilities, using the Sterling Farm and livestock systems as a case study. Faculty will walk students through hands-on exercises, observations, and discussions, toward an in-depth understanding of how to build an effective and caring livestock health management system. There will be a special focus in this class on grass-based livestock production, with the goal of simultaneously healing landscapes, sequestering carbon in our soils, creating ecologically sound, humane farming systems, and feeding ourselves quality food. Students learn to farm resiliently and develop efficient on-farm grazing systems by mimicking natural patterns, measuring and maintaining biodiversity, and setting appropriate animal numbers for the landscape and season.