Nov 29, 2022 • 48M

MCJ Skilled Labor Series: Ranching with Alejandro Carrillo

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A growing body of knowledge about climate change and potential solutions. This series traverses disciplines, industries, and opinions with hundreds of deep-dive conversations with science, technology, and climate leaders.
Episode details

This episode is part of our Skilled Labor Series hosted by MCJ partner, Yin Lu. This series is focused on amplifying the voices of folks from the skilled labor workforce, including electricians, farmers, ranchers, HVAC installers, and others who are on the front lines of rewiring our infrastructure.

Today's guest is Alejandro Carrillo, a rancher who lives in El Paso, Texas and stewards his family's ranch in Mexico's Chihuahuan Desert. 

Maintaining grasslands is important for preserving biodiversity, ensuring clean rivers, and storing carbon. In fact, since grasslands store carbon underground in their roots and soil, some would argue that they are better carbon sinks than forests. As stewards of these habitats, ranchers like Alejandro who focus on regenerative practices play an important role raising livestock and maintaining carbon sinks. After a successful career as an IT consultant, Alejandra joined his family ranch in 2004. Tired of the constant drought and suffering that came with traditional ranching in a desert climate, he'd been searching for ways to adapt and rehabilitate his family's land. Since 2006, Alejandro has adapted the principles of holistic grazing or regenerative ranching as we'll learn about in this episode. He’s also the president of Pare Del, a nonprofit organization that provides ongoing education for cattle ranchers as well as promotes holistic plant grazing across the world's deserts. 

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In this fascinating and meandering conversation, Yin and Alejandro discuss regenerative ranching, why dung beetles are so important, the epigenetics of cows, the differences between Mexican and American agriculture policies, their effects on ranching and a whole lot more. Enjoy! 

In this episode, we cover: 

  • [2:23] Alejandro's background and ranching experience 

  • [5:47] An overview of his family's ranch in Chihuahua, Mexico

  • [8:24] Differences between farming and ranching

  • [16:28] Symbiotic relationship between grasslands and cattle grazing 

  • [19:47] An overview of the water cycle, issues with management today and impacts on soil

  • [25:45] Regenerative ranching principles 

  • [32:24] How ranchers make a living

  • [39:45] Policy differences for ranching between the U.S. and Mexico 

  • [43:18] What keeps Alejandro optimistic about the future of ranching practices

Visit our website for a full transcript of this episode.

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Episode recorded on September 1, 2022.