The Art & Science of Shepherding: Tapping the Wisdom of French Herders

Edited by Michel Meuret and Fred Provenza

Synopsis: This in-depth, multi-authored work originally published in France takes readers deep into traditional world of shepherds. Far from a nostalgic glimpse into a romanticized lifestyle, this book teaches how this sophisticated art and set of tangible skills has application in modern, North American range/livestock management. Through academic study and analysis and in-depth interviews with master shepherds readers will be amazed by the deep connection between the nutritional need for animals to feed, the powers of observation used by the shepherds to effectively care for and manage large herds, and how the traditional moving of the animals is more fitting to many landscapes than even the most progressive rotational grazing and moveable fencing systems. The compilation carries enough weight to dazzle the most ardent student and enough real-world know-how to equip the 21st-century herdsman with new insights and philosophies.

Published: April 2014 | ISBN-13: 978-1601730695

Fred’s mini-bio: Fred Provenza is originally from Colorado where he worked on a ranch near Salida while earning a B.S. Degree in Wildlife Biology from Colorado State University. He is currently Professor Emeritus in the Department of Wildland Resources at Utah State University. – Adapted from Farming Secrets

“The book shows how expert shepherding is profoundly science-based, but without reference to the language and methods of science. Over three decades, researchers have studied shepherding and found it can often be a more effective use of landscapes than more intentionally science-based forms of agriculture. As the “art” in the title signals, the authors also pay attention to how creative interactions between people, animals and landscapes can deliver much more subtle outcomes than might be possible with the blunt instrument of science. To me, this was a fascinating book that opens up many questions about livestock and landscape management, particularly in the Australian rangelands.” – Matt Cowood from 10 Great Books on Agriculture 

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