Oregon Whole Farm/Ranch Land Management Series Results

Oregon WFRLM 201624 farmers and ranchers participated in HMI’s Improving Land Productivity series, which ran through March and early April at the Jackson Soil & Water Conservation District in Central Point, Oregon. Instructors were Certified Educator Rob Rutherford and Certified Educator trainee, Angela Boudro.

These participants, who manage 3546 acres of land, engaged in HMI’s experiential curriculum to learn and experience holistic goal setting, on-farm decision testing, ecosystem analysis, biological monitoring, grazing planning, and land planning. Participants noted 92% satisfaction in the course and instructors.

Oregon WFRLM 2016 classHere’s what some of the participants had to say about the course:

“I plan to utilize the testing framework to avoid costly mistakes.”

“I came for the fish – I learned to fish.”

“I gained increased knowledge of how to complete a correct grazing plan.”

“The most important thing I learned was estimating grazing & recovery periods for multiple herds.”

Here’s what the evaluations showed:

Outcomes % of participants
Increased ability in creating a whole farm/ranch goal 100%
Increased ability to make complex decisions on your farm as a result of today’s class 91%
Increased ability to monitor your farm’s/ranch’s ecosystem health 100%
Increased knowledge in assessing recovery periods 88%
Increased knowledge of how to assess quantity of forage in a pasture 81%
Increased knowledge of how to improve land health with livestock 81%
Increased knowledge of how to determine the number of animals your pasture can support 88%
Intend to change any management practices as a result of this session? 93%
Increased knowledge of how to prioritize land/infrastructure development/investments 94%
Increased knowledge of design strategies that can build resilient, diversified farms 85%

Thanks to our collaborators, Jackson Soil and Water Conservation District and Oregon State University Extension Services.

Whole Farm Ranch Business Planning Course a Success in Colorado

HMI’s Whole Farm/Ranch Business Planning Training course wrapped up in March of 2016.  WFBOMONFinancialPlanningSession1Classes took place in Montrose, Colorado. The training classes were taught by Holistic Management Certified Educator Cindy Dvergston.

According to Cindy, the class was diversified, with both beginning farmers and 5th generation ranchers attending. Operations were diversified as well, with cow-calf operations, a goat dairy, a quail farm, and a dude ranch just some of the enterprises run by class participants.

The first class covered the basics of Holistic Management, including Defining the Whole, Creating the Holistic Goal, Testing Decisions, Ecosystem Process, Management Tools, Time Management, Leadership and Communication.

In the second session, the Marketing and Business Planning module was presented.

The final session was Financial Planning, with students using a number of worksheets to gain clarity about the contribution of each of their enterprises to the whole and to create a complete financial plan for their own operation.

Here are some participant comments:

“Every day I appreciate this course even more.  I really benefited from learning about budgeting and making financial decisions that honor my values.”

 “I spent an evening with my 7 and 9 year old sons talking about cows and hay. This is the first time I ever included them in discussions about what is important to them and their perspective of the ranch.  We were having so much fun that we went past their bedtime and my wife made us quit.”

“My God, what have I been doing all these years? I was just winging it with the marketing. Now I have a business modelthat will focus on what really works for us and we can let go of marketing that does not provide results.”

“This course has helped me put all to pieces together.  I realize now that I have more than one market in my business model (as a ranch manager) in that my landlord needs to be considered as a customer”.

“Setting the holistic goal and learning how to work with my family will make a big difference in helping me figure out how to keep our ranch in the family.”

 “Learning about the tools of management and making my tool box inventory is helping me focus on putting time and money into the right places.”

“I appreciate the in-depth knowledge and experiences you have to share with us about land management, agricultural businesses and holistic management.”WFBOMONFinancialPlanning2


Outcomes                                                                                     % of respondents

Session 1  – Introduction to Holistic Management

Assessing how time is spent on your farm – 100%

Increased ability to use the whole farm goal to guide communication on your farm – 100%

Increased ability to develop a written whole farm/ranch goal – 100%

More confidence in delineating farm resources for management – 100%
Increased ability to define your management team for effective management – 94%

More confidence in communicating with decision makers – 94%
Session 2- Marketing and Business Planning

Your ability to develop a business model for your farm/ranch – 100%

Intention to complete or modify a marketing and business plan as a result of today’s session – 100%

Understanding of how your whole farm goal and financial plan help you develop a marketing

plan that fits your farm – 93%

How to effectively promote your products/services – 87%

How to use your financial plan to profitably price your products/services – 83%

How to define your target market – 80%

Session 3 – Financial Planning

Improved skills in developing a whole farm financial plan – 100%

Increased ability to asses the cash flow of your plan – 100%

Intention to complete or modify a financial plan for your farm – 100%

Considered the course to be good or excellent – 100%

Increased ability to increase your farm’s rough net worth (balance sheet) – 93%

Increased ability to prioritize and cut expenses on your farm – 93%

Increased ability to get the profit you need from your farm – 87%




‘Get Down to Business’ in Oklahoma Wraps Up

‘Get Down to Business in Oklahoma,’ part of HMI’s Whole Farm/Ranch Business Planning Series wrapped up this past February.  The three 2-day workshops took place at the John E. Kirkpatrick Horticulture Center at OSU – Oklahoma City.  Designed to focus on the business side of farming and ranching, students were introduced to a variety of topics, including goal setting, decision testing, time management, leadership and communication, financial planning, marketing and business plan creation.

About 80% of the class were already farming or ranching, with the majority raising cattle.

CeWFRBPOK16-FinancialPlanningKatrtified Educator Tracy Ltile was the lead instructor, with assistance provided by Julie Gahn.  Other Certified Educators-in-Training also participated in the workshops, and included Lauri Celella, Katherine Ottmers, and CD Pounds.

Each of the sessions were designed for both small and large group discussions, so participants were able to benefit from the experiences of their fellow participants.

The first session provided participants with an introduction to the Holistic Management framework, as well as how to create a holistic goal.  They were also introduceWFRBPOK16-SortingExpensesd to time management tools that were designed to improve farm/ranch efficiency.

The second session focused on Holistic Financial Planning, with participants learning the importance of using gross profit analysis to evaluate each enterprise.  They were shown how planning for profit will allow them to put a cap on expenses, while providing more opportunities to invest back into their farm or ranch business.

The last session focused on marketing, production, and management, with participants attending a Farmers Market in order to analyze marketing and promotion.  Participants were also able to develop SMART goals regarding their business and marketing planning. 

Here are some participant comments:

  • The most useful part of the first class was linking values to the holistic goal, and the importance of including personal and family time in time management.
  • I intend to move all our practices toward supporting our holistic goal.
  • We will incorporate more planning and forethought.
  • My favorite parts were the stories to bring life to the organizational components.
  • These two days were very helpful. I feel that I learned the system and I’m ready to go home, pull our information together, set up this year, and have a system that we use from here out.
  • I thought it was a good mix of lecture, student work & interaction one-one with instructors as needed.
  • I intend to change my process to determining profit upfront and capping expenses
  • We are going to develop intentional practices of planning and monitoring our actions related to our business.


Outcomes:                                           % of respondents with knowledge increase

The basics:                                         

More confidence in developing written whole farm goal – 90%

More confidence in communicating with decision makers – 76%

Increased understanding of the ways to effectively manage time on your farm – 76%

Increased ability to define your management team for effective management – 75%

Better processes to assess how your time is spent on your farm – 76%

More confidence in identifying systems and protocols for your farm -76%

Financial Planning

Increased ability to determine your farm’s rough net worth – 10%

Skill in determining viable profitable enterprises for your farm – 100%

Skill in determining your farm’s projected revenue – 100%

Skill in developing a whole farm financial plan – 100%

Getting the profit you need from your farm – 100%

Skill in prioritizing and cutting farm expenses to guide reinvestment in your farm – 95%

Marketing/Business Planning

How to write a SWOT analysis for your farm/ranch – 100%

Your ability to use your holistic goal to guide your business/strategic plan – 100%

Developing a marketing plan that meets your farm needs and goals – 100%

Promoting your farm products – 93%

Increased ability to develop a business plan for your farm/ranch – 93%

How to use your financial plan to profitably price your products/services – 93%



Whole Farm/Ranch Business Planning a Success in Texas

WFRBPNT2016-2A diverse group of participants attended Holistic Management International’s Whole Farm/Ranch Business Planning Series, which took place January – March 2016.   This Whole/Farm Ranch Business Planning course took place in Henrietta, Texas with classes taught by Holistic Management Certified Educator Peggy Sechrist and Certified Educator Trainee Deborah Clark.

Participants were running a diverse selection of enterprises, including cattle, vegetables/produce, sheep, poultry, with a few enjoying bees, goats and fruit as well.  Most of the participants had limited exposure to Holistic Business Planning and said they were there to create a working plan for their farm or ranch business.

The first workshop began with participants creating a whole farm inventory.  Defining this inventory helped them create their Holistic Goal.  A decision-making matrix was introduced, along with steps toward a time management plan.

The second workshop focused on Holistic Financial Planning, teaching the participants how to plan for profit, how to assess net worth and increWFRBPNT2016ase it, how to assess the financial value of each enterprise, how to locate the weakest link in every enterprise and reinvest in the business by addressing any logjams, adverse factors and those weak links.  Participants also created a gross profit analysis for each enterprise, as well as a complete financial plan.

The final workshop allowed participants to explore all the aspects of creating a marketing plan, including products, pricing, and placement. Participants were also tasked with creating both a marketing plan and a business plan.


Here is what some of the participants had to say about the the Whole Farm/Ranch Business Planning Series:

  • The instructors were terrific! Their discussions and experiences are invaluable tools for me as I plan my farm. Thank you!
  • I enjoyed learning to identify the major top priority investments that will lead to resolving logjams, increasing net worth, and move toward my holistic goal.
  • I intend to become more organized and act with more intent on a more long-term vision.
  • I intend to use better communication to effect change.
  • The most useful thing I learned is how to write a holistic goal and methods for more effective time management.

Outcomes                                                                                                                      % of respondents

Session 1
Increased ability to integrate social, economic, and environmental factors into your decision making – 100%

Increased conflict resolution skills on the farm/ranch – 100%

Increased ability to use your whole farm/ranch goal to guide communication on your farm/ranch – 100%

Increased understanding of the seasonal time flow/demands for your far – 89%

Increased ability to develop a whole farm/ranch goal – 89%

Session 2

Increased ability to determine your farm’s rough net worth (balance sheet) – 100%

Improved skills in developing a whole farm financial plan – 100%

Increased ability to asses the cash flow of your plan – 100%

Increased ability to determine viable profitable enterprises for your farm – 91%

Increased ability to get the profit you need from your farm – 91%

Session 3

Your ability to develop a business plan for your farm/ranch – 100%

How to use your financial plan to profitably price your products/services – 100%

Intention to complete or modify a marketing and business plan – 100%

Overall Satisfaction of the course and the instructors (good to excellent) – 100%

How to define your target market – 82%




Soil Samples Are Dirt Cheap

ImageWorld-renowned soil consultant Neal Kinsey of Kinsey Ag Services has just agreed to offer 10% off all his soil sample services for a limited time to the Holistic Management network.

If you’re wondering if soil samples are really worth the investment, take a look at these testimonials:

“Neal, your program has not only made me tens of thousands of dollars; it has saved me tens of thousands of dollars. ….It’s not just the tonnage; it’s the quality of the almond. The kernel is huge, plump and solid (a tenth of a gram per kernel more in weight is money in the bank). Here are the figures:

  • 2004…..782lbs/acre (First year soil test with all recommendations applied in November after harvest)
  • 2005…..2034
  • 2006…..2442
  • 2007……3887
–Mike Ebert, California

“Neal, my wheat and canola crops this year are the best I’ve ever grown. By following and implementing your recommendations, I feel my yields have increased by 50% for wheat and 25% for canola. A great achievement. Many thanks.”

Paul Mason, Australia

“We applied all the recommended trace elements… Had extremely good results. Best grass ever… in spite of a lousy growing season – very hot and extended drought. We were the only people in the area who didn’t have to feed hay in July / August.”

Frank Bostwick, Arkansas

The standard analysis, which includes B, Fe, Mn, Cu, & Zn), is $50/sample. For a complete soil analysis, which includes the standard analysis plus salts, chlorides, cobalt and molybdenum, the cost is $90/sample.   To download the Soil Worksheet to accompany samples, click here.

To receive the discounted soil samples, send an email to [email protected] with the subject heading: 10% off soil sample IP 2016 offer. This offer is only good through July 15, 2016.

You Have a Stake in your Steak


Chef Tobias Soto, Humo of San Antonio

Healthy Soil for Healthy Food

June 11, 2016
Hickory Lake Beef
Zuehl and La Vernia, TX

Are you interested in local food and a healthier community?  

A mom trying to find nutrient-dense foods for her family? 

A farmer or rancher interested in learning how to produce and market grass-fed meat?  

Just wanting to know more about healthy soil and how it relates to a healthy food system?

Our Hickory Lake Beef Day is part of HMI’s Open Gate Learning Series. Open Gates are on-the-ground learning days for producers and consumers who care about land health and creating nutritious food systems to come together and discover their role in regenerative agriculture.

Come and be a part of this on-the-ground learning day, enjoy nutritious, fresh food and help strengthen local foodsheds. Because we all have a stake in the way our food is grown. 

  • Meet the Rackleys who are creatively growing high-quality beef
  • Discover how to hold more water and carbon in the soil
  • Enjoy a meal by Chef Tobias Soto featuring Hickory Lake Beef
  • Identify indicators of good soil health
  • Learn about grass-fed meat production and marketing
  • Discuss practical grazing and handling strategies to improve the land and the cattle
  • Hear how Holistic Management enables producers to better manage risk, make better decisions and enjoy the benefits of regenerative agriculture

Advanced registration is $25 per person (includes lunch) and closes on June 6, 2016. Space is limited.


Special thanks to our Collaborators

Hickory Lake Beef logo


Sustainable Growth Texas Logo

Chef Cooperativelogo

Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance logo









chef toby


Sustainable Ag Network

Council For Healthy Food Systems

HMI’s 2016 Gathering is Open for Registration

HMI-CultivatingCommunity Logo FINAL+Border 2016

Cultivating Community: Land, Food, HealthHMI-CultivatingCommunity Logo FINAL+Border 2016

Paicines Ranch of Paicines, California
October 14-16, 2016

Are you a farmer or rancher seeking regenerative practices to make your operation more successful and eco-friendly?

A thoughtful parent who is becoming increasingly concerned about the quality of food in your child’s lunchbox?

A kombucha-drinking student interested in keeping bees or a permaculture garden?

Are you overworked, overstressed and want to learn how to properly feed your body and reach your maximum potential for a more fulfilling life?

Cultivating Community: Land, Food, Health has something for everyone!

edit.11This is no ordinary conference. HMI invites you to beautiful Paicines Ranch in Paicines, California for our 2016 Gathering. Let’s grow together through a field day at the innovative ranch, fine dining, farm-fresh local foods and sessions on numerous sustainable topics that matter to you, making this an event you won’t forget. Throughout these 3 days we’ll feed your senses with rich conversation, nutritious and delicious food, beautiful landscapes, entertainment and a silent auction. And “America’s Most Famous Farmer”, Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms, will be sure to inspire us all as our special keynote speaker.

Learn how Holistic Management practices and principles can:

  • help us heal the earth
  • grow nutrient-dense food
  • improve wildlife habitat
  • improve profitability and quality of life for the entire community
  • cultivate more effective human relationships

October 14, 20162014 rendezvous table setting
Paicines Ranch Field Day with Lunch,
Friday Evening Wine & Cheese Fundraiser

October 15-16, 2016
Conference Sessions with Lunch,
Saturday Evening Fine Dining,
Saturday Evening Silent Auction and Live Entertainment

October 17-18, 2016
Advanced Holistic Grazing Planning Workshop

Find details on our workshops, presenters, location, lodging, registration and sponsorship opportunities HERE.


Special Thanks to our Sponsors





Grassfed Exchange Conference

GabeBrownSunflowerThe Grassfed Exchange Conference is just around the corner on April 27-29, 2016 in Perry, Georgia.

There will be a lot of great speakers, including Holistic Management practitioners like Gabe Brown, Doug Peterson, Josh Dukart, Wayne Rasmussen, and Will Harris, as well as folks like Ray Archuleta, Fred Provenza, Burke Teichert, and Joseph Mercola.

To learn more and register, click here.

“I’ll Have an Order of Crickets, Please”

While crickets (and other edible insects) may not be the first thing that pops into your head whendung-beetles craving a snack, according to the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), over two billion people annually feast on insects.  Touted as an important source of protein, insects such as crickets are also a good source of vitamins, minerals, and amino acids.

Even Dung Beetles are on the menu, and are considered a delicacy in Laos and Thailand.

If you suddenly have a craving for a cricket, take a look at Food Tank’s list of companies and organizations that offer insect-related products.

Bon appétit!

New Study Finds Organic Meat and Milk Higher in Omega-3 Fatty Acids

A recent blog  in the New York Times reports that organic meat and milk are vastly different than their conventionally produced counterparts when it comes to nutrient density.  This conclusion was reached after a review of several scientific studies,published in The British Journal of Nutrition, that state that levels of omega-3 fatty acids were found to be 50 percent higher in the organic meat and milk products.

It’s well known that organic milk and beef come from grass-fed cattle, while conventional milk and beef products are produced from grain-fed cattle.

“It’s about what the animals are fed,” said Charles M. Benbrook, one of the study authors. To learn more about grazing techniques, be sure to visit our Free Downloads page on our website.  Happy cows moving into new cover crop salad bar at SG&R Farms.