Controversy rages these days over the role of agriculture in the apparent increase in environmental problems such as red tide, blue green algae and others. I don’t think there is any doubt that there has been a massive increase in the use of various chemical concoctions over the past few decades to both combat unwanted plants and insects and also to augment the growth of desired plants. It seems logical to assume that at least some of those chemicals find their way off the land where they were applied and into the water, both underground aquifers and surface runoff.
On the Blue Head we don’t use herbicides…period. With some 90+ years collectively of managing holistically among the Blue Head crew we have seen it proven again and again that that the benefits of maximum diversity in the plant community far outweigh any slight detriment from the presence of “weeds” that might be viewed as undesirable. Instead, we concentrate on encouraging the plants we really like and, over time, again and again, we find those plants increasing and the “burs and brambles” decreasing.
We don’t use insecticide sprays, back rubs, fly tags or any other chemicals on our cattle (I confess to a little sparing use of insect repellents on ourselves and the horses we ride when the flies and mosquitos just become unbearable). We can’t control what’s happening upstream from us but we can insure that any water that flows off the Blue Head is as clean and pure as possible. The story goes that back in the day some Cracker cowboys carried a can with a string that they would lower into a pond from the back of their horse to get a drink from down deep where the water is cooler. We haven’t become quite thirsty enough yet to do that but I’d like to know that if I needed a drink that desperately it would be safe to get one.