What am I talking about? Something like this:
What would it take to make this happen in a high profile place, in amongst people who are running cattle the old fashioned way?
I'm not sure. That's why I'm starting this discussion. I don't know, for example, what a reasonable acreage is required for such a project to succeed. But let's forge ahead, and think about what we need. . . .
. I don't think we have to buy the land. I think it would be preferable to obtain a lease. I'm not sure of the duration - long enough to be confident that an obvious significant change has been made --> 10 years? 5 years? To me, the ideal situation would be to lease a long strip of land directly adjacent to the freeway from one of the cattle ranches already present. Some of the necessary infrastructure is already present.
I think with ranchers it is far better to show them what can be done versus try to explain and instruct. If the rancher starts out thinking "Sure, you can lease some of my worst land for your hippy-dippy experiment - give me the money, goofballs" I feel like after a year or two he'll be glancing over and eventually he may want to learn how to do this thing himself.
I think when established cattle ranchers hear about moving cattle frequently, they think "Shit, that sounds like a lot of work. No way!" They think about how hard it is to move a herd of cattle, in their experience. They don't realize that when you are giving a herd access to wonderful fresh forage, all you gotta do is open the gate. The cattle move themselves. And, they are so happy about it! It's a thing you kinda have to experience, but the happiness of the cattle at fresh pasture is contagious. It makes you happy, to make them happy.
I remember reading a study of dairy farmers in Wisconsin who switched to managed grazing from confinement feeding. They reported that they worked about the same number of hours, but the tasks were much more enjoyable and involved a lot more walking around outside, which led to happier and healthier farmers.
. This will be the hardest thing. We need somebody who already knows all about regenerative grazing, be it from holistic management training/experience, or interning with Greg Judy (he's where I got the idea about leasing land instead of buying it). We need more than somebody, we need enough people to form a small successful community to make this thing work. Being just off interstate 5 between San Francisco and Portland would be a plus in terms of recruiting people for on-site courses, or WWOOFing. The thing with people is that nothing succeeds like success. If we can put together an awesome situation, we can find good people, but it's easier to get funding after you have a reputable team in place.
This encompasses a lot of things. Moveable fencing, watering equipment, manager and intern habitat.
Duh. I'm not going to be picky about the breed, although I'll note that successful grass feeding genetics are not the same as successful feedlot genetics. Good beef cattle. I envision branded beef, something direct like "Regenerative Beef," sold to the best restaurants in San Francisco (Portland, Sacramento) because it's super high quality and it has the best story. Customers love food with a story. (I know I do!)