It is with great sadness that I learned of the passing of Guillermo Osuna, a long-time personal friend and one who contributed so much to the advancement of Holistic Management in North America, and especially Mexico.
Many are the happy hours spent in Guillermo’s home or camping on his ranch in the Burro Mountains of northern Coahuila, and travelling throughout Mexico as he sought to introduce Holistic Management to his vast network of friends and associates.
When no publisher stepped forward to translate Holistic Management into Spanish back in the early 1990s he called on those same people to fund the translation and publication of the second edition of the book, getting it into the hands of hundreds of ranchers, farmers, and government extension agents, and for the first time also into universities in Mexico and a whole new generation of potential practitioners.
I met Guillermo at the first set of lectures I ever gave in the USA in 1978 at the International Stockmen’s School in Arizona. He was one of six people who showed up at the first one, and one of about 50 who sat through the second one, and finally one of hundreds who came to the last one. He engaged me as a consultant soon after and attended the first course I gave in the U.S. in 1980. He never looked back.
The transformation of the land on his beloved Las Pilas Ranch was so dramatic that when I used his before and after photos in my TED Talk in 2013 I had to draw arrows to show they were indeed taken at the same spot. But his concern was for all of Mexico and he was tireless in making sure that anyone with an interest had a chance to learn more about Holistic Management and what it could do for them. There is probably no success in Mexico today that doesn’t tie back to Guillermo’s efforts or his generosity.
The transformation of the land on his beloved Las Pilas Ranch was so dramatic that when I used his before and after photos in my TED Talk in 2013 I had to draw arrows to show they were indeed taken at the same spot
I’ve had few friends as gracious or who I cared for as deeply. I will miss him greatly.
Celebrating Guillermo’s Work
“These pictures were taken in 1953 and 2007. The drought of the 1950s was certainly a factor, but the dramatic change you can see in the pictures was due to improving the ground cover. The changes began when I first realized that, as cattlemen, our first objective should be to grow grass, which we could then harvest with livestock. Real progress in this direction really began in 1980, though, when we first started practicing what we now know as holistic planned grazing. It is interesting to note that the average rainfall for the last six decades here at Las Pilas [Ranch] has really not changed very much, although the year-to-year fluctuations can be very big. In 2010 we had the biggest rainfall of record, 64 inches, and in 2011 we got less than 4 inches.” – Guillermo Osuna