Eastern Coyote by Jacques Tournel
The importance of the actions and perspectives of those who came before us cannot be overstated. We live in, and view the world with a perspective that was created by them. Then again, our actions and perspectives are creating a world for those who come after us.
In my previous blogs I wrote about these historical perspectives, and how deeply they have influenced our farming. But we are in our own time now, and we are creating the future as we speak. We are re-creating farming from the ground up, as we leave behind old perspectives regarding our relationship with the land, and the intelligent species we share it with.
As a member of my community, I support sustainable farming in all its many facets — from enriching our soils and pastures, protecting clean water sources, supporting healthy forests, impacting global warming, and keeping successful and happy farming families on the land, and much, much more.
As a biologist, I support these farmers who are seeking to create a farming for the future; one that we are creating today. And that is why I have collaborated with leading farmers, experts on guardian animals and fencing, and fellow biologists to create the new educational and supportive website, Farming With Carnivores Network.
I encourage all farmers and community members to visit this site. Its purpose is to create a central meeting place where farmers who wish to protect their farm animals from predation by the use of non-lethal means, can learn and share with others. Included in this educational site are a number of ever growing farmers who share about their farm, and how they successfully live with carnivores. These farmers welcome your questions, and are happy to share their own learning experiences.
After much research and collaboration with a number of very knowledgeable experts on guardian animals, this site shares many opportunities for you to learn about animal husbandry practices that include the use of guardian dogs, Llamas and donkeys. We want you to be successful, and so there is much available guidance for those who are new to the concept of guardian animals.
But there is much more, for there are numerous animal husbandry practices that can keep you animals safe. They are all discussed there for you. Oftentimes just understanding the uniqueness of your farm, and simple changes you make, are what is needed.
However, as one of our fencing experts has stated, fencing is the first line of defense. Whether your fencing is moving wherever your animals go, or it stays in place, appropriate, well-maintained fencing that is electrified is a powerful deterrent to predation by wild carnivores. So take a look at what we have shared with you regarding fencing, and expect to see more and more new information regarding it as time goes by.
Avian Predator, Great Horned Owl photo by David Illig
Unique to this site is information on carnivores who share your farm with you, whether they are flying overhead or on the land. The successful farmer knows the carnivores on his/her farm. And by the word “know” is meant understanding of who they are, and their needs.
The carnivores of our country are returning after several centuries of relentless slaughter. We are beginning to understand their invaluable role in keeping our landscapes healthy and balanced by hunting their wild prey — not our farm animals. Our goal is to welcome them back and know how to live with them!
Avian Predator, Red Tail Hawk photo by David Illig
Finally, a most important part of this site is the Sharing Forum. It is here that we all share our questions, experiences, photos, and receive valuable guidance from very knowledgeable and experienced persons. So come join us. All are Welcome!
Geri Vistein is a conservation biologist whose work focuses on carnivores and our human relationships with them. In addition to research and collaboration with fellow biologists in Maine, she educates communities about carnivores and how we can coexist with them. You can find her at Coyote Lives in Maine, and read all of Geri's MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.
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