Service Opportunity: Minister of Cow Protection and Agriculture
ISKCON Ministry of Cow Protection and Agriculture
1) Service Title: Minister of Cow Protection and Agriculture (all crops)
2) Department: Cow Protection and Agriculture
3) Immediate Authority: GBC Body and GBC EC
4) Accountability to you: Secretary, Farm & Goshalla Representatives
5) Location of service: Internet, Farm & related projects
6) Interactions with other persons: GBC members with goshallas/farms or who are considering goshallas/farms; Devotees and persons related to the service
7) Purpose of service: To assist and consult the GBC in matters of cow Protection and Agriculture; To develop and maintain cow protection and Agriculture within ISKCON
8) Key responsibilities – make a detailed list:
– continue with the work done by Balabhadra Prabhu
– Represent ISKCON in matters of agriculture and cow protection to other bodies/organisations
– Establish regional secretaries of the Ministry of Cow Protection and Agriculture
– Work with regional bodies to organise regional annual conferences/meetings to support and develop CP and A
– Give regular reports to the GBC and other relevant bodies
– Maintain and Promote best practices in CP and A relevant to local conditions
– Promote CP and A to the GBC body and other ISKCON bodies as required
– Promote working examples for the rest of the ISKCON society
– Promote establishment of cow protection projects as solution to problems with modern dairy milk production
– Establish Global competition in working oxen
– Visit regions regularly (annually, Biannually)
- North America
- South America
– Encourage, promote, maintain and assist with the following areas of rural production interests
- Cow Protection
- Caring for cows
- Milk and milk products Production
- Working Oxen
- Arable crops
- Horticultural crops (vegetables and flowers)
- Rural crafts
- Similarly related areas
– Work with projects to establish sustainable livelihood based farming systems
– Develop guide books to inform how to take care of cows/oxen
– Produce position papers on current topics
- Milk and Veganism
- What is a cow
- Ox training and working methods
– Develop Strategies to address needs of Ministry. Such as
- Promotion of monthly donorship scheme for Cow Protection
- Using all available ISKCON land
- Promoting the use of own produce
- Understanding challenges and helping temples work with them
- Pests living in crops
- Soil on crops
- Irregular size and shape and condition of crops
- Nibbling crops by pests
- Price required to support natural home grown crops
- Understanding challenges and helping temples work with them
– Make Proposals to establish laws and guides to improve take up of ISKCON produce within ISKCON
– Establish website for Ministry
- Information about farm projects in ISKCON
- Place to find Cow Protection Standards
- Information about what is Cow Protection
- Standards for ISKCON farming practices
– Liaising with other affiliated ahimsa/cow protection projects
– Other related ministerial services
9) Equipment and/or resources: Computer, Phone, Budget $10,000
10) To carry out main responsibilities:
- Knowledge of the things you use to do your service:
(what knowledge is required to do your service effectively?)
– Srila Prabhupadas books on Krishna conscious cow Protection
– How to Grow crops and plan rotations
– How to manage money and time
– GBC laws on Cow Protection
- ISKCON Law 507
- Other relevant laws
– Government laws regarding keeping cows and farming
– How to manage and motivate people
– Animal Husbandry
- How to train and work oxen
- Be competent in one method
- Have understanding of other methods
- How to milk cows and care for them
- Hand milking and machine milking
- Birthing procedures
- Cow calf relationship
- Different phases of calf with mother. Milk for calf and milk for people
- Handling Stock bulls
- Feeding. Grazing based systems
- Sick Cows
- Working with local veterinarians and other experts in alternative medicines
- Different types of treatments. Allopathic, homeopathic, herbal, ayurvedic
- Government legislation
- Caring for hospice/downer cows
- Retired cows/oxen
– How to create vision for a project
– Budgeting and forward planning
– How to make a business plan
– Basic Health and Safety
– How to work cooperatively
– Conflict resolution
– Basic human behaviour
– Basic DIY
– Resource acquisition (human, animal and materials)
– How to fill out government agricultural forms
- Skills are required to carry out responsibilities
– Handling animals and farming
– Handling people and resources
– Making/resourcing money
– Bring vision into reality
11) Minimum Performance Standards for Key responsibilities and how they will be measured:
– Report and Address GBC annually at Mayapura
– Visit Each Regional farm conference every two years
– Within one year of taking office to have attended an ox-training workshop and be competent to yoke, work and train oxen (unless already trained)
– Within year two to have attended an alternative ox training workshop (nasal harnessing or voice) (unless already has expertise)
– Within year one to have fully attended the pillars of sustainability workshop as conducted at new vrajadhama Hungary
– Have cow care guidebooks ready in ISKCON cow care within first term
– Visit ISKCON farms
ISKCON Minister of Cow Protection and Agricultural Development
The applicant should have experience working with cows/bulls/oxen/calves either in a commercial setting and/or preferably in a devotee setting.
Experience should include:
A) Different milking procedures… machine milking and hand milking.
B) Birthing procedures and how to handle difficult births.
C) Calf care from birth till time of weaning.
D) Calf care from time of weaning till calf is mature.
E) Cow care of female cows who will become milking cows.
F) Cow care of male cows (bulls-oxen) who will either be kept as bulls or trained as oxen.
In Vedic times cows were not bred to produce milk. Cows were bred to produce bulls for agricultural service, transportation and to pass along good blood lines for future generations. In any cow protection program if the bullocks are not trained and given service, the success of the program, at best, will only be 50% successful. It is imperative that the applicant be knowledgeable in training bullocks and how to engage them in practical agricultural service.
There are different techniques in training bullocks. Some methods are quite harsh and should not be allowed to be used. I have seen over the years that these harsh methods actually scare away potential participants in learning how to train and work with the bullocks. For the most part, when these harsh methods have been used in ISKCON farm projects the result is a very low rate of recruitment for future participants in the bullock programs. For the most part the devotees are soft hearted and do not fare well with harsh methods of dealing with other living entities. After all, Bhakti Yoga is a science to develop a personal relationship between the living entity and the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Lord Krsna, based on Love and Devotion.
In programs which employed the more friendly methods of bullock training there was more interest by new participants to carry forward the bullock program.
When a bull is kept for breeding purposes there should be a secure area for him so he can graze and be happy. To keep a bull in just a “Bull PEN” will actually make him aggressive and dangerous.
G) Feeding of cows of all ages in any part of the world. Grazing should be an important part of any feeding program both for nutrition and exercise for the animals.
H) Medical treatment of cows. Allopath, homeopathy, and Ayurvedic styles of medicine should be understood and applied where relevant. The applicant should be able to understand time proven local methods of healing. Applicant should be able to work side by side with local veterinarians.
I) Retirement care of cows/bull/oxen.
When a cow/bull/ox becomes eligible for retirement, he/she should be afforded all comforts of a productive cow/bull/oxen. Cows never stop being productive as their manure/urine are always valuable for medicine, agriculture, fuel or religious purposes.
J) Hospice care
When a cow/bull/ox/calf is in a condition which is referred to as “DOWN”, the animal should be afforded all comforts of any devotee who is finishing up a lifetime of devotional service. Food and water should always be offered to the animal as well as shelter from the elements. The animals will stop taking food and water as the time of death approaches. If food and water is withheld from the animal then this is considered to be a form of murder and should never be entertained as a hospice option. Maha garlands from the Deities should be brought to the “DOWN” animal as well as holy water and dust from the Holy Dham. Transcendental sound vibrations should be made available to the animal either in the form of chanting or reading from Srila Prabhupada’s books.
K) The applicant must be versed in Srila Prabhupada’s teachings regarding Krsna Conscious cow protection.
L) The applicant must be able to travel to different ISKCON Cow Protection facilities and help them develop their cow protection programs. The applicant should be able to organize different regions of the world into viable cow protection programs. The applicant must be able to travel to Mayapur for the annual GBC meetings. The applicant should be conversant with the Minimum ISKCON Cow Protection Standards as it has been voted into ISKCON Law 507.
M) The applicant must be able to visit non ISKCON Cow Protection projects as a liaison for ISKCON.
N) The applicant should be able to train oxen and encourage qualified members of ISKCON to train and show the example of ox power agriculture and other practical uses of ox power in their designated areas.
O) The applicant should be well versed on the whole issue of milk and its values in ISKCON. There is a growing number of devotees who acknowledge themselves as Vaisnavas but who follow a vegan diet because there is little to no milk/dairy available from protected cows. These devotees would like to be able to offer milk/dairy to their home Deities, but due to their understanding of the demoniac nature of the commercial slaughterhouse dairy industry they have opted to follow a vegan diet till they can obtain cruelty free dairy products. They should not be judged as weird and/or rebels. They have very valid reasons which should be addressed with great care and as soon as possible.
This vegan issue is a very important topic and needs to be dealt with in a very sensitive manner. The real solution is to be able to provide milk from cows who are protected on farms or village settings where the cows/bulls/oxen and calves are seen as members of the devotional community who receive all protection from birth till death. The oxen play a large part here and it is imperative that they are trained to work and actually are engaged in devotional service showing how valuable they are in the scheme of Krsna conscious cow protection.
P) The applicant must be able to help develop ISKCON farms and help and inspire devotees living outside the institution to develop their own homesteads/rural communities based on depending on the land/cows/Krsna.
Applicant must have at least several years of experience in organic gardening/farming practices.
Experience should include:
A) At least several years of hands-on organic gardening-farming.
B) Knowledgeable about Permaculture and its application in different geographical settings.
C) Nutritional and medicinal knowledge of crops for the physical, spiritual and mental wellbeing of the devotees.
D) The ability to weave the benefits and gifts of the cows and oxen into practical application for the benefit and health of the land. Without the cows and oxen their gift of manure and urine for the health of the land would not be available.
E) Understanding the carrying capacity of the land.
The applicant should be knowledgeable about the mathematical equation referred to as, “The carrying capacity of the Land.” Every homestead, village or farm has a certain ability to support a certain number of dependents by its productivity. When the carrying capacity of the land is out of balance with too many dependents, then its natural ability to support itself becomes a burden to the gardener/farmer.
In the case of cow protection where none of the animals are ever “culled” from the herd, it is very important to understand the carrying capacity of each project. The biggest problem that has been created by ISKCON Farms is that more cows than the land can support have been bred for the production of milk. Cows will provide milk for many years…not just for one year as the popular misunderstanding created by the commercial dairy industry would have us believe. The cows’ milk production becomes less as her lactation progresses and this has to be included into the mathematical equation of numbers of cows bred in relationship to the carrying capacity of the land.
F) Understanding and practical knowledge of working bullocks/oxen in regards to oxen vs tractor in agriculture.
Another dilemma/problem within ISKCON is the population of idle oxen. This is caused in part by the problematic practice of breeding cows with the production of milk as the main concern. Therefore bull calves are born without a plan or personal to train and work with them. Another factor contributing to this is the use of the tractor. Srila Prabhupada has warned us (in his conversation at New Talavan) about the use of the tractor creating idle oxen who in turn become a burden in the eyes of the devotees. Neglect and plans to give away the oxen etc. hence follow as I have seen as a result. If the tractor is to be used there should be some parallel plan of training oxen and the sharing of farm work between the tractor and oxen. Hence it is important the minister understand the capabilities of the oxen verses the tractor.
For further information, please write to GBC.EC@pamho.net.