We’ve revised our Holistic Goal

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An important part of practicing Holistic Management, is creating a Holistic Goal. We’ve just updated ours. Holistic Goals Holistically Managed Land, Mark Gordanare useful because they simplify decision making and act as a written reference point to which you can refer when making decisions. From time-to-time, it’s a good idea to take out your goal and review it, and if necessary, make adjustments.  Our management team, has done just that.

HMI Holistic Goal

Book Review of Let the Water Do the Work

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Let the Water Do the Work:

Induced Meandering, an Evolving Method for Restoring Incised Channels

By Bill Zeedyk and Van Clothier

Why a book on induced meandering? So Let the Water Do the Work begins. The simple answer is, Because it works. Specifically, it is a practical, affordable, and simple method that allows the creek, stream, or arroyo to do the work for you. In other words, you partner with Nature. By “thinking like a creek,” you can harness the regenerative power of floods to reshape stream banks and rebuild floodplains along gullied stream channels.

This approach runs counter to the conventional approach to stream restoration because it looks at intentionally eroding selected banks while encouraging the deposit of sediment on evolving floodplains.

Let the Water do the Work book coverThe authors of this book, Bill Zeedyk and Van Clothier, bring years of experience in this art of riparian restoration. They have worked on projects and taught many workshops and prepared training materials for professionals, laypersons, and volunteers. Moreover, these techniques have now been adopted by federal, state, and tribal agencies, as well as landowners and conservation organizations.

How is this information helpful to Holistic Management practitioners? It’s a valuable tool to consider for your toolbox if you own land on which water runs (which includes everyone from Sidney to Seattle).  I was lucky enough to attend an Induced Meandering workshop nearby a couple of years and can still remember the light bulb that went off for me when Bill Zeedyk talked about looking at the land around the stream or creek to see what the water was doing underneath the land, and how the water channel influenced the water table. As a stream bed continues to dig deeper into the land, the lower the water table drops. If you can induce meandering and let sediment build that streambed up, you actually raise the water table and restore floodplains.

Induced meandering reminds me of planned grazing (a technique often used in conjunction) because you are working with Nature to improve the function of the land and water. Planned grazing can really address ineffective water cycle “uphill” of the riparian area. Likewise, in can improve riparian function. But, if you’ve got a severely incised channel with years of damage, induced meandering will create amazing results in a relatively short amount of time—some of the examples in the book show a dramatic difference of restored floodplains in six years.

This book is chockfull of photos of various induced meandering projects with clear delineation of before and after and what was done to create the change. The design, layout, and illustrations are courtesy of Tamara Gadzia, making this book very user friendly.  Whether you want to know how to trim pickets or build a one rock dam, there are lots of photos to help you as well as clear instruction. Moreover, there are plenty of forms to help with design, implementation, and monitoring.

Anyone interested in natural resource management will find this book helpful and thought-provoking. To order, go to http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/let_the_water_do_the_work:paperback.

We’ve got new case studies!

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We’ve just published four new case studies featuring Holistic Management practitioners. It’s inspiring to hear the results these folks have achieved with their ranches. If you ranch in a brittle Ranney Ranch Fenceline Comparisonenvironment and your dealing with the effects of drought, be sure to read what these folks have done.

If you are interested in learning techniques to maximize your ranch naturally, start learning Holistic Management today. Check out our Training and Resources pages and get started today.

Whole Farm Marketing and Business Planning in Mora, New Mexico

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HMI completed the 3rd and final module of our Whole Farm Business Planning Series with 25 participants involved with the Los de Mora Local Growers Cooperative near Whole Farm Business Planning, Mora, HMIMora, New Mexico at the end of March.  The focus of this session was on marketing and business planning including how to do market survey, determine market demographics, complete a competition analysis, determine appropriate markets, develop SMART goals, and develop the outline of a business plan within the context of whole farm planning.

Cindy D, Holistic Management Certified EducatorHolistic Management Certified Educator, Cindy Dvergsten was the instructor for this module. Evaluation of this session showed that participants experienced a significant knowledge increase in identifying logjams and how to create a profit, as well as how to prioritize and cut expenses.

Our thanks to the Thornburg Foundation for their grant in support of this series.


“The one-on-one help was great!”

 “I learned that numbers make a big difference once in   place and to always ask why.”

“Key learnings were the significance of planning for profit, cooperation, clarity, wise mentoring, and professionalism.”

 “I learned key pricing guidelines and the relationship to  competition.”

“I better understand customers and competition.”

“I learned how to reach a breakeven point.”

Whole Farm Marketing and Business Planning Results

Knowledge/Confidence Increase

% Increase

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


Your knowledge about where to turn for resources to assist in developing a business/strategic plan   for your farm


Your ability to develop a business plan for your farm


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


Your ability to use your financial plan to determine viable markets for your farm


Your ability to implement systems and projects to move you toward your whole farm goal


Developing a business/strategic plan


Identifying resources to assist you in developing a business/strategic plan


Implementing important strategic systems and projects on your farm


Pricing your products


Promoting your farm products


Your attitude towards the value of having a business/strategic plan to guide your farm


Understanding your competition


How your marketing outreach reflects your whole farm goal


How to develop a Marketing Plan


Developing a marketing plan that meets your farm needs and goals


How to use your financial plan to profitably price your products/services


How to effectively promote your products/services


Assessing your competition to understand your farm strengths


Intended Behavior Change

% of Participants

Intend to complete or modify a marketing plan for your farm


Intend to complete or modify a business plan for your farm


Do you intend to change management practices as a result of this session?


Do you intend to change any marketing practices as a result of this session?


Participant Satisfaction

Satisfaction with Session


Satisfaction with Instructor


Healthy soil makes for healthy humans

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Holistic Management Certified Educator,

“The more diverse an agricultural system, the more stable it be-comes. Diversity is always the norm in a natural system, but our modern farming systems have come to value the opposite “monoculture,” which is inherently unstable. As a result, we have a crop protection industry that supplies products to prop up this unnatural system.

Production tends to go up and pests become less of a problem if we design systems that are more diverse.”

HMI Healthly Land, Sustainable FutureRead then entire article here.


Integrating Livestock & Biodynamics in Farming Systems in CA

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We’ve just opened registration for another Open Gate Learning Series day. This one is the Tablas Creek Vineyard Day in Paso Roble, CA.  It’s pretty exciting to see vineyards benefiting from Holistic Management practices. Whether you are an agricultural producer, a gardener, Tablas Creek animals verticalwildlife manager, local agency representative, or just interested in organic wine production and sustainability, this is a day for you.

At the Open Gate: Tablas Creek Vineyard day, you’ll…

  • See what fellow land managers are doing to maintain land health and profitability in a changing environment
  • Learn about how to integrate livestock and biodynamics in farming systems
  • Learn indicators of good soil health
  • Practice making decisions about common land management dilemmas
  • Discuss practical grazing strategies to improve water use and land production
  • Hear how Holistic Management enables producers to better manage risk, make better decisions and enjoy the benefits of sustainable agriculture.

It’s only $20 per person (advance registration) and includes lunch. Get more information & register now.

Holistic grazing management is wholly different approach

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Holistic Management Certified Educator and practitioner, Ralph Tate is in the news.  Ralph recently partnered with the Practical Farmers of Iowa and the Land Stewardship Alliance to give Ralph-Tate.crop;jpga well received course in Holistic Grazing Planning.  Here’s an excerpt from the article…

There are a lot of complexities around grazing; some are controllable, like not allowing overgrazing, and others, like weather events, are not. Holistic Management aims to reduce the complexity with a step-by-step approach to grazing planning with the understanding that in working with a biological system, things may not work out exactly as expected.

“No plan survives contact with reality,” Tate said.

The nitty gritty of holistic grazing management revolves around a grazing chart that Holistic Management International offers in paper or software form at holisticmanagement.org. Tate developed the software on his own and HMI offered to sell it to practitioners. The chart includes seven month portions, each divided into 31 day sections.

Be sure to read the entire article written by Lisa Young  in AgriNews.

HMI and our Holistic Management Certified Educators offer numerous classes for producers interested in decision making that enables them to meet their goals in a sustainable manner. Check out our event calendar to see what’s going on.

The Kids are Alright

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Meet the newest additions to the HMI family!  HMI Interim CEO and Holistic Management Anns Goats 5practitioner, Ann Adams’ farm is having productive spring. These four kids were born yesterday.


Mom and kids are all doing well!



Anns Goats 2

Women Leaders in the Field

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Our Beginning Farmers & Ranchers: Women in the Northeast & Texas program continues to get national recognition from the press.  Kelly Eisenbarger just wrote an article published in the April 2014 issue of Acres USA.  Kelly writes…

Connecticut, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, Massachusetts, Maine and Texas participate in the program. The wide demographics are a tool to reach the goal of 14,400 more customers having access to a sustainable food system as the women increase their knowledge, continue to plan more effectively, and implement those plans so that they improve their ability to manage all resources whether human, financial or natural.

Kelly goes on to highlight some of the amazing women who are successfully building farms and ranches with the knowledge and support they’ve received from HMI.

Read the entire article >> Women Leaders in the Field, Acres USA article

Beginning Women Farmers, Texas Group, HMIIf you are a beginning women farmer or rancher with less than 10 years experience are you are interested in applying for the program, we will begin accepting applications for the 2014/2015 season starting late spring or summer. Contact HMI to be added to our interest list.

We also can’t thank the USDA NIFA BFRD organization enough for their grant, (#2012-49400-19673) , which allows HMI to run the program.

USDA Logo Horz.

Whole Farm Business Planning Program Continues in Mora, New Mexico

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HMI completed the 2nd module of our Whole Farm Business Planning Series with 25 participants involved with the Los de Mora Local Growers Cooperative near Mora, New Mexico in the middle of March.  The focus of this session was on financial planning—particularly gross profit analysis, enterprise investment analysis, determining net worth, and mapping out a cash forecast.

Holistic Management Certified Educators, Ann Adams and Cindy Dvergsten were the instructors for this module. Evaluation of this session showed that participants experienced a significant knowledge increase in identifying logjams and how to create a profit, as well as how to prioritize and cut expenses.

Certified Educator Cindy Dvergsten explaining financial management to Mora Co-op growers.

Our thanks to the Thornburg Foundation for their grant in support of this series and to Farm Credit and Rocky Mountain Farmers Union for their support of the Financial Planning Module.

Introduction to Whole Farm Planning Results

Knowledge/Confidence Increase % Increase
Identifying logjams and adverse factors on your farm 97%
Getting the profit you need from your farm 85%
Prioritizing and cutting farm expenses to guide reinvestment in your farm 84%
Monitoring Financial Plan 76%
Determining your farm’s projected revenue 75%
Developing a whole farm financial plan 73%
Assessing the cash flow of your plan 67%
How to increase farm net worth 55%
Determining viable profitable enterprises for your farm 53%
Intended Behavior Change % of Participants
Intend to complete or modify a financial plan for your farm


Record keeping


Determining profit upfront and capping expenses


Using the annual income and expense template


Involving decision makers in financial planning


Strategically reinvesting in your farm


Entering financial data regularly


Prioritizing and cutting expenses


Monitoring the annual income and expense template


Enterprise assessment


Participant Satisfaction  
Satisfaction with Session 90%
Satisfaction with Instructor 90%