Do you know the joke that starts, 'You have two cows...'? The one about bureaucracy: 'You have two cows. The government takes both of them, shoots one, milks the other, pays you for the milk, then pours the milk down the drain'.
Well, Ramat Hanadiv has its own 'cow theory' model: You have no cows. You ask a local rancher to lend you 200 cows for three months. The cows will provide you with grazing services, and the rancher will save the cost of the hay that he would have had to buy if he hadn't found natural pastures for his herd. The final score: No wildfires in the Nature Park, and significant savings for the rancher. This model has been working at Ramat Hanadiv for more than a few years, and contrary to the joke about bureaucracy, it actually works fairly well.
Like every year at this time, the Altschuler family in Binyamina is busy organizing its cattle for the grazing season at Ramat Hanadiv. Around the start of February, the herd will be brought to graze in the Hotam Hacarmel Nature Reserve, west of Ramat Hanadiv. From there it will migrate to the northern part of the Nature Park (south of Zichron Ya'akov), continuing down to the Ein Tzur complex and then westward towards Horvat Aqev and Nahal Timseh.
Besides minimizing the threat of wildfires, the herd's grazing helps open up the Mediterranean vegetation and supports the diversity of its flora and fauna. Certain areas in the Nature Park remain off limits for grazing in order to maintain a varied landscape and to facilitate comparisons with the grazed areas, a control tool that helps measure the long-term effects of grazing.
The Altschuler herd is expected to remain at Ramat Hanadiv more or less till the end of May (depending on the amount of herbaceous vegetation left on the ground). At the end of this year's grazing season, the cattle will return home to Binyamina, while Ramat Hanadiv's Nature Park and its surroundings safely enter the summer season.