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Sustainability-What does that really mean?

Sustainability is one of those trendy buzzwords that are thrown around all the time as it relates to our "environmentalness" or the supposed lack thereof. I once was in a meeting where a greenie sheep farmer from the Austin area was chirping about her sustainable operation when a friend of mine sounded off. He said how about 120 years on the same ranch doing the same thing is that sustainable? I laughed and never forgot that statement because I too have family ranch land being operated for that period of time as well.

I suppose I am really not sure what the greenie people mean by sustainable. Even when we are talking about row crops here in the US I don't believe they are an unsustainable farming practice. I mean we grow the seeds, plant the seeds, fertilize the seeds with fertilizer created by our own abundant natural gas, and harvest the crop to feed the world! I understand the need for soil conservation and have had that drilled in my head my entire life. Sheep and Cattle here in the US are certainly a sustainable operation if ever there was one because we utilize land that has no farming value. This is where the moron greenies get totally lost in their arguements. They think cattle are raised on corn their entire lives and that is not the case, not by a long shot. And hey don't get me started on the grass fed thing. If you want to do that go ahead help yourself as for me and my house we shall have a well marbled steak from a grain fed steer!

Now for my final point on sustainability and it relates to trophy hunting. As a Texas game rancher I am also in the hunting business. We along with a few thousand others raise some common and some rare and endangered animals. We raise them because we love them and want to preserve them and only hunt the old trophy males which is where the income is derived to make this sustainable for us and the animals as well. Step back and THINK about this for a minute. We take several million dollars worth of land, build quality improvements on it to care for these wild creatures their entire lives, and only the old males which have gone past their prime breeding years are hunted. Sounds like the perfect conservation plan right? Yes it has been until the Federal Government decided to make stringent regulations on some of these animals reducing their value. Sustainability has STOPPED as it relates to any animal that is considered rare or endangered.

Anyway I encourage everyone to THINK when some discussion comes up like Sustainability. What does it mean to you and what should it mean to us as farmers and ranchers.