I was reared professionally in the food industry … as a young biologist/production manager for a large food processing cooperative many years ago now. Here we were ruthlessly trained in the ʻmanagement artsʼ by learning the finer points of management: Planning, Organizing, Leading, and Controlling.
Therefore, I wouldn‘t know how to do anything without a plan – a roadmap that defines where we want to end up on our journey, what routes we want to take to get there, where the landslides/potholes/dead-end roads are to be avoided, etc., etc. I like to draw plans up backwards … starting with ‘The Destination’ first.
So, ‘The Destination’ here at our little Enumclaw Heritage Hog Farm is to raise healthy, happy heritage Berkshire hogs entirely outside, on pasture and in the woods, to provide quality meat products and breeding stock for folks in the Great Pacific Northwest. We want to, as much as possible, integrate this operation with landscape values/wildlife habitats here on our little hog farm, and perform all facets of this business as environmentally sustainable as we can.
This approach really isn’t at all different from the crusade I‘ve marched along with throughout my career as a wildlife biologist – which is basically this: we have an economic priority in this country. This is just the way it is. We need to find ways to integrate what we do to support ourselves with our vastly impacted landscape if we want to continue to enjoy landscape values in this country outside of public lands.
When you look at all the economic entities out there, agriculture arguably has the greatest potential to integrate what it does with the landscape (but when mismanaged, can really screw things up). So, my career crusade has revolved around exemplifying the environmental potential of agriculture. And now we get to do it for ourselves!!
You have to be able to take some arrows as a crusader, and I certainly have my scars. In the middle of our crusade within the California food processing industry an Executive VP said to me, during a meeting involving a large group of colleagues, that all this environmental mambo jambo “was just a bunch of bunk” … among the milder forms of ordinance Iʼve taken.
Back then it was difficult to find room within the big business mindset for anything other than the bottom line … and anything ‘environmental‘ conjured up only visions of regulatory agents with badges who were ‘out to change your business, cost you money, or worse’. It‘s very heart warming today to see so many folks/businesses really place a priority on such critical aspects as environmental sustainability, landscape values, and the like. And there are many, many of these people here in the Pacific Northwest.
Part Two of ‘The Enumclaw Plan’ will start mapping out the journey our little Heritage Hog Farm will take to reach ‘Our Destination’ and will be coming soon …
Randy – January, 2014