Over the past years, herdsman Ting Bartel has managed to turn the severely degraded grasslands of his family into oases and came up with the idea of increasing the number of cattle and reducing that of sheep, which has benefited numerous herdsmen in north China’s Inner Mongolia autonomous region.
“He is already 65 years old, yet he works like a young man,” remarked Erdenqiqige, referring to her husband Ting, who got busy working at the crack of dawn and intended to get the work of his own family done before other herdsmen came to learn from his experience in animal husbandry.
Ting is a member of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) National Committee. He has been a representative to the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), a deputy to the National People’s Congress, and has been honored with the titles of national model worker and national outstanding CPC member.
Ting’s idea of increasing the number of cattle while reducing that of sheep is as widely known as his name.
In 2009 alone, he received more than 10,000 person-times of herdsmen who came to learn from his experience in raising livestock.
Dahubayar, a major cattle raiser in Abaga banner, Xilingol league of Inner Mongolia, is one of the top students of Ting.
Six years ago, Dahubayar sold all the 1,000 sheep for which his father has worked his whole life and bought 60 head of cattle, which made his father so angry that he couldn’t sleep well for days.
However, Dahubayar knew it was a right decision based on careful calculations after he learned from Ting’s experience.
“Thanks to Uncle Ting’s method, we are leading a life so much easier than before,” said Dahubayar, explaining that after he changed the sheep for cattle, the income of his family hasn’t diminished and their grasslands have recovered significantly.
The method Dahubayar referred to is the conclusion Ting drew from practice that the economic value of one head of cattle is equivalent to that of five sheep. However, sheep like to dig for grass roots, which means destructive effects to grasslands, while cattle only eat grass tips and that doesn’t affect the growth of grass.
Since cattle bring far less damage to grasslands than sheep, plus it costs much more efforts to raise five sheep than to rear a head of cattle, the method of “increasing the number of cattle while reducing that of sheep” has become an important development strategy in Xilingol league.
The strategy has not only made herdsmen richer but grasslands greener. Dahubayar is one of the new-generation herdsmen who have benefited from the idea of Ting.
Promoting the idea so as to help improve the ecological environment of grasslands and increase the income of herdsmen is Ting’s most glorious task as a member of the National Committee of the CPPCC.
Last year, Ting elaborated on his ideas about raising livestock at the CPPCC “members’ passage” at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing during the second session of the 13th CPPCC National Committee.
After returning home from the session, Ting decided to work harder and serve as an example for fellow herdsmen. “It’s better to get things done than to talk one’s head off about them,” Ting says frequently.
“I’ll feel satisfied as long as our fellow herdsmen can benefit from my efforts,” said Ting, revealing the reason why he never rejects herdsmen coming to learn from his experience no matter how busy he is.
Ting also listens to and takes advice from other herdsmen. He has prepared his proposals targeting specific issues based on advice of his fellow herdsmen and problems he has encountered in work and life.
Ting thinks it is a significant job to listen to the voices of local herdsmen and help make their needs heard at the annual sessions of China’s national legislature and political advisory body, so he has made efforts to get in-depth knowledge of local people’s opinions about infrastructure construction regarding such aspects as roads, information networks, and power grids.
To Ting, well protected grasslands, improved infrastructure of the locality, and a new life for herdsmen where everyone enjoys electric appliances and the Internet will be the ideal life.
To help bring this ideal life to more herdsmen as soon as possible, Ting figured out further that local people must work out a way to secure the apex of earning in production and operation and the minimum amount of expenditure while maintain ecological balance to the fullest extent with the least labor.
“I think the thinking is applicable to all the herdsmen across the country. I will give further exposition of relevant ideas during this year’s annual session of the CPPCC National Committee so as to help more people understand the issue,” Ting noted.