Healthy Land meets Healthy People at Triple Cross Farm – Open Gate Learning Day Results

Triple Cross Farm, Texas holistic management practitioner
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An interested and interesting group of people came through the open gate to hear how CD and Bobby Pounds are healing their soil and growing their business. This HMI Open Gate event was held June 6, 2015 at Triple Cross Farm in Fruitvale, TX.

C Pounds, Holsitic management practitioner in texasThe 50 participants, who collectively influence 10, 571 acres,  learned the mistakes as well as the successes as CD walked them through the kitchen garden, the composting area and the compost tea brewing area. She explained how her involvement in Holistic Management has made a huge difference in how the farm is managed. Decisions are now made toward a clearly defined goal that includes both current and future enterprises.

Through the Beginning Farmers and Ranchers: Women in Texas program, CD met Betsy Ross and other dynamic women doing amazing things with the land. She became a Holistic Management® Certified Educator in Training and spent a second year in the Beginning Women Farmers, mentoring other women, learning to teach Holistic Management and learning all she could from Betsy Ross about healing the land through native plants, compost tea and a general understanding of what the land is saying with the plants it hosts.

Betsy was right there to offer deeper explanations and answer the trickier questions as the Open Gate participants walked or rode through the landscape on a flatbed pulled by Bobby Pounds on his tractor. As usual, Betsy walks with a shovel to monitor the roots and the soil food web, as well as the soil surface and the above-ground life.

triple cross farm, texas, holistic management practitonersTracy Litle taught the group a simple land monitoring method and sent them into the field to practice in small groups. Tracy is also a Holistic Management® Certified Educator in Training, a student of Betsy Ross and operator, with husband Bill, of Faith Hollow Farm near Corpus Christi.

Lunch was a wonderful homemade assortment of salads and chicken tortilla soup with brownies for dessert. After lunch, HMI Program Manager Peggy Cole gave an overview of Holistic Management while the group enjoyed a little air conditioning and a second glass of lemonade. Tracy Litle had a great presentation on soil health and the ways she is using Holistic Management to transform her south Texas thorn forest into thriving grassland for horses, cows, and goats.

Betsy Ross, in her usual passionate style, convinced us that we can use native plants to restore sluggish soils to thriving communities of plants and soil organisms. She explained the crucial relationship between fungal and bacterial residents of the soil food web and how to attract each to your soil.

Triple Cross Farm, Texas holistic management practitionerDietitian Jerri Berry connected those dots to the role of the flora and fauna of trillions of microbes in your own body doing the work of digestion. She explained how to care for these essential creatures without which we’d be quite dead.

CD Pounds described a part of the vision in her holistic goal: her desire for a food forest to nourish and enchant her guests. Each table considered the food forest relative to CD’s land and came up with a little land plan for such an endeavor. All the land plans were left with CD to mull over before she creates the final version.

Thanks to the Cynthia & George Mitchell Foundation for their support of this program.

Participant Comments

“All people, Peggy Cole, Betsy Ross, Tracy Litle, Jerri Berry, and CD Pounds did an excellent job in presentation of material. For us it was excellent open gate. My knowledge and understanding was enhanced. I was excited to hear Jerri Berry’s topic on nutrition.”
“Loved the material and info. “
“Of course, I loved it! It served to further solidify my knowledge.”
“Loved meeting a local community of people that are like-minded.”
“I intend to continue contact to improve land through soil management, as well as meeting like-minded ranchers.”
“I intend less mowing of pastures – ‘let it grow’.  “
“Hopefully my husband was inspired so we can write a management plan together.”\


Outcome% Participants
Overall Satisfaction of this event (Rated good to excellent)97%
Confident in your ability to incorporate new management strategies to build resilience in soils plants & animals91%
Confident in your ability to improve land health91%
Increased knowledge of how to observe and assess ecosystem processes85%
Intend to change any management practices/apply ideas you learned as a result of this event?93%
Recommend the event to others97%
Expand your network today by meeting new people or learning about resources available to you97%


Regenerating Landscape Function with Livestock Video

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Holistic Management Certified Educator John King has produced a video featuring fellow educator, Graeme Hand discussing how to improve land health through Holistic Grazing Planning. With an engaging style, Graeme, explains key concepts like recovery of plants and determining animal performance. Here are two excerpts from the video.

Grass Recovery


Importance of trial sites to better understand how the tools ou are applying are affecting your farm/ranch

You can order copies of the video at the Succcession website.


HMI at the AGA Conference

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The American Grassfed Association 2015 Conference was held in Denver, Colorado on June 7-9, 2015. As part of the events, Dr. Ann Adams, Executive Director for HMI, presented on Healthy Farm Economics.

Byron Shelton (in center facing camera) and Dan Nosal (to left) led a pasture walk at the Flying B Bar Ranch as part of the AGA 2015 Conference.

Byron Shelton (in center facing camera) and Dan Nosal (to left) led a pasture walk at the Flying B Bar Ranch as part of the AGA 2015 Conference.

After her presentation, Byron Shelton, Senior Program Director from the Savory Institute and Dan Nosal from the NRCS led a pasture walk at the Flying B Bar Ranch to discuss key grazing planning principles and practices. Other presentations included a presentation on Animal Health by Dr. Meg Cattell and Dr. Arden Nelson and a presentation on Soil Health by Molly Haviland. Participants for the day were very engaged with all presentations, asking many thoughtful questions. Thanks to the American Grassfed Association for inviting HMI to present! They will be putting the powerpoint presentations from the conference up on their website at:

HMI Announces New Executive Director

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We are very pleased to announce that the HMI Board of Directors has voted to appoint long-time HMI employee, Holistic Management Certified Educator and practitioner, Dr. Ann Adams  to  Executive Director effective immediately.

“The board is excited to have Ann Adams as Executive Director of HMI. Ann has a long association with the organization and is passionate about both teaching and practicing Holistic Management. It’s been a joy to see her leadership skills and respect among our community broaden and deepen over the years.  We feel now  is the right time to appoint a proven leader with experience in creating and measuring the impact of effective non-profit programs. Ann is that leader.”

-Kelly Sidoryk, HMI Board Chair & Director

Ann Adams, Executive Director

Ann Adams, Executive Director

A Holistic Management Certified Educator since 1998, Ann was instrumental in designing and implementing the USDA funded Beginning Women Farmers & Ranchers Program, our Open Gate On-Farm program and our Ag Educators Professional Development Program.  Ann regularly teaches both onsite and distance learning classes and offers consulting in Holistic Management for family farms and ranchers with a particular focus on goal setting facilitation and financial planning. Ann has also written countless articles on Holistic Management, and has helped to develop agriculture-based software for financial planning and grazing planning for farmers and ranchers. Ann is the author of “At Home with Holistic Management” and is the Managing Editor of HMI’s “In PRACTICE” journal. Ann also served as interim CEO in 2013-2014. Ann replaces outgoing Executive Director Bryan Weech.

Please join us in congratulating Ann on her appointment!

All in the Family

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Managing Multiple Generations & Enterprises in Family Agriculture


Land conservation, soil health, quality food and family synergy are at the heart of James Ranch. Over the years, The James Ranch crew has developed many different, yet connected, enterprises that serve the families that live and work there, the community and beyond.

Please join us for our Open Gate: James Ranch Day for peer-to-peer action-based learning with short presentations and small group exercises geared for participants to share discoveries and management techniques with guidance from experienced facilitators and producers.

Whether you are an agricultural producer, a consumer interested in nutrient-dense food, conservationist, local agency representative or just interested in ranching, land stewardship, family succession of land or the health of land, animals or humans, this day is for you.

Open Gate: James Ranch Day
Monday, July 20, 2015
James Ranch, Durango, Colorado

Click here for details and information on how to register. 



This event is made possible by a generous contribution from the Thornburg Foundation.

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Sponsorship Opportunities Available

The James Ranch Day offers organizations, agencies and businesses a great opportunity to network with farmers and ranchers interested in sustainable agricultural ideas, products and services. We offer a variety of Sponsorship Opportunities to connect you with our community. Please contact Carrie Stearns, our Communications & Outreach Manager for more information.

We still need to manage for drought — even when it’s raining

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Here in New Mexico, we have been blessed with with more rain then we usually get in the spring. While we enjoy greener views all around us, agricultural producers still need to be aware we live in a brittle environment and drought conditions can creep up on us at anytime.  These conditions call for ranchers and land stewards to apply land management practices that improve water holding capacity and maximize forage production.  Holistic Management practitioners Nancy Ranney and Melvin Johnson of the Ranney Ranch in Corona New Mexico are opening the gate to their ranch to allow fellow ranchers and land managers to come together for a day of learning at HMI’s Open Gate: Ranney Ranch Day. At this Open Gate learning day, we’ll be addressing both grazing practices as well as marketing grassfed beef for profit.

Ranney-Ranch-Cows-&-PeopleMarketing and Grazing Practices to Survive Drought
Tuesday, August 4, 2015
Ranney Ranch
Corona, New Mexico

Get details and Register >>

(this event was originally scheduled for May 29 and is now being offered on August 4)

Home on the desert suits these cattle fine

Holistic Management in desert conditions
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Holistic Management Certified Educator and Director of Programs for HMI, Ann Adams, is quoted in this article written by Lauren Villegran and published in the Albuquerque Journal.  It’s a fascinating look at criollo cattle — believed to be particularly well suited for desert grazing. Holistic Management practitioner Dennis Moroney is also mentioned…

Dennis Moroney of the 47 Ranch in southeast Arizona buys criollo cattle from the Jornada Experimental Range for slaughter about twice a year. He also raises them. He is transitioning his ranch from traditional cattle to exclusively criollo and is about halfway there with a herd of about 200, he said.

“The economics are working for us,” he said. “We’re a profitable ranch with no debt. That is very unusual in our business.”

You can read the entire article on the ABQ Journal website >>>

Results of our first Holistic Land Management workshop series

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Holistic Land Planning Helps Design Drought Mitigation Strategies

What’s land planning got to do with drought? Plenty. Land planning is the land use plan for your operation. How you use and position water, roads, pens, fences, structures, etc. can mean the difference between an effective water cycle and workflow and wasted efforts/resources.

HMI Holistic Management Land Management course, mitigating drought, texas

Chris Williams works on his map with the help of his small group

The third and final Mitigating Drought with Holistic Management  2-day workshop in HMI’s Whole Farm/Ranch Land Management program was held May 29 & 30, 2015 at the Kerr Wildlife Management Area in Hunt, Texas. Holistic Management Certified Educator Peggy Sechrist and consultant/rancher/author Walt Davis presented Holistic Land Planning to 19 eager students.  Katherine Napper Ottmers, a permaculture instructor and Holistic Management Certified Educator trainee joined them for a guest presentation on the blending on these sister concepts.

When class members were asked what they expected from the class, they responded:

  • “Efficient use of resources”
  • “Sequence, priorities and schedule for my infrastructure build-out”
  • “Work Flow”
  • “Reduce erosion”
  • “Security and emergency management, an escape hatch”

These and many other topics were covered during this workshop.

Peggy Sechrist began with an overview of Holistic Land Planning with emphasis on the relationships within the whole of the land/animals, finances and people under management. She laid out the steps: gather the information, creative planning with others, selecting the best plan, implementing your vision and finally monitoring and revising as needed.

Chris Williams works on his map with the help of his small group

Stepahnie May brainstorms with Judy Hundley and Doug Havemann

Each of the participants brought a map of their land. After looking as a group at the types of issues that might be considered as we plan, the group broke into sets of 3 or 4 to create lists of issues in the categories of natural, social and management (including financial). There were other experiential sessions throughout the workshop.

Katherine Napper Ottmers presented a hummingbird flyover urging the students to look at their map as though they were a bird flying over looking for shelter, open water, wind/sun/shade/runoff/fire -flow patterns, etc. She presented an exercise of analyzing elements in the plan by listing behaviors and characteristics, inputs and outputs. Finally she explained planning land use with zones of frequent use near the house and the all important use of contours in managing how the water lingers or flows.

Katherine Napper Ottmers leads the group in assessing roads

Katherine Napper Ottmers leads the group in assessing roads

Walt Davis began with various considerations in planning paddock locations to best manage land health and animal performance. Tricks of the trade about drought, flood, fire, water, weaning, multi-species management, chutes and pens, portable feeders, water and minerals were handed out like candy to a most satisfied group.

Thanks to the Cynthia & George Mitchell Foundation for their generous support of this program.


Here is what participants had to say:

“Walt Davis is a wealth of experience and practical information that makes this course come alive. He is open, approachable, and always helpful. He is your greatest asset. He and his writings will be a permanent source of help for me as I move down this road toward my holistic goal. Overall, Peggy and Katherine have put together a highly professional training package that is rarely seen outside of industry and would normally cost $2000-3000 to attend. I cannot recommend this enough. They have been superb. Many thanks!”
“Sheep & goat/water point strategies were especially useful.”
“The best parts were Walt’s practical experience, Peggy’s connecting goal to land plan, Katherine’s activity in evaluating a component on input, output, behavior.”
“All my expectations were met. What I need now is to work on my plans, on implementation, observation and adjustment. Then I would consider going to some additional open gate sessions and perhaps the longer HMI session.”
“I intend to do high stock density on just part of the ranch. Complete a plan w/new perspective & knowledge learned. Previously, I was stuck in moving forward.”
“I intend to acquire and utilize herd animals to improve soil structure and forage.”



Outcome% Participants
Are you more confident in your ability to gather critical information for land planning as a result of this course?100%
Are you more confident in your ability to complete a land plan as a result of this course? 93%
Increased knowledge of benefits of land planning as a strategy to mitigate drought impacts 93%
Do you intend to change any management practices/apply ideas you learned as a result of this event?93%
Do you intend to complete or modify a land plan as a result of this session? 80%
Increased knowledge of how to increase animal performance through land planning93%
Increased knowledge of how to develop water infrastructure to achieve goals while mitigating drought93%
Increased knowledge of the value of building biological wealth during drought 93%

Overcoming Drought in Australian Grasslands

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Drought Management & Improving Land with Livestock

Judi Earl, a Holistic Management Certified Educator, former HMI board member and the owner/operator of Glen Orton Farm, believes grazing livestock are the most powerful tools we have available to regenerate land. Please join HMI and Judi as she shares her challenges and experiences using grazing planning to restore the grasslands of Glen Orton Farm during a 4-year drought.

Our Open Gate on-farm learning days consist of farm/ranch days that are held on the land. Each day is hosted by an experienced Holistic Management practitioner and features numerous innovative and sustainable agricultural topics and practices. Whether you are an agricultural producer, local agency representative, or just interested in farming or land stewardship, this is a day for you.

Open Gate: Glen Orton Farm Day
Friday, July 17, 2015
Glen Orton Farm, 3843 Warialda Rd, Coolatai,  2402, NSW, Australia

Click here for details and information on how to register.

Open Gate Learning Days in Canada

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We are very excited to announce our first Open Gate days in Canada! HMI is partnering Canada Flagwith Holistic Management Canada to offer learning days across western Canada. Farmers, ranchers, and land stewards will learn how to better manage  animals, land, finances, and people through the practice of Holistic Management.

Read more about Open Gates and see the entire global calendar for 2015

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Advanced registration is CAD $35 per person. You can register for all the events listed below on the Canadian Holistic Management website.   Walk in registration is CAD $40 per person.


Here are just a few of the expert presenters that will participating in the series

  • Blaine Hjertaas, Holistic Management Certified Educator
  • Kelly Sidoryk, Holistic Management Certified Educator
  • Ralph and Linda Corcoran, Holistic Management Certified Educators
  • Don Campbell, Holistic Management Certified Educator


DATE:  June 29, 2015
EVENT: Day Spring Farms Day
TOPIC: Planned Grazing Using High Stock Density to Improve Profit
LOCATION: Frontier, Saskatchewan, Canada

DATE:  July 3, 2015
EVENT: Ruzicka Sunrise Farm Day
TOPIC: Nurturing Healthy Land, Growing Wholesome Food and Practicing Enduring Stewardship
LOCATION: Killam, Alberta, Canada

DATE:  July 7, 2015
EVENT: Tamara Farm Day
TOPIC: Passing the Farm to the Next Generation
LOCATION: Red Deer, Alberta, Canada

DATE:  July 22, 2015
EVENT: Sunnybrae  Farm Day
TOPIC: Regenerating Land Through Livestock and Improved Soil Fertility
LOCATION: Wawoda, Saskatchewan, Canada

Gail-Fuller-chickenSMALLDATE:  July 28, 2015
EVENT: Lucends Ranch Day
TOPIC: Holistic Planned Grazing Using High Stock Density to Improve Profit
LOCATION: Ponoka, Alberta, Canada

DATE:  August 4, 2015
EVENT: Pogson Ranch Day
TOPIC: Educating Young People about Soil health and Regenerating Land with a pasture PLan and Cover Cropping
LOCATION: Clearwater, Manitoba, Canada

DATE:  August 26, 2015
EVENT: Breault Ranch Day
TOPIC: Regenerating Land through Livestock and Improved Fertility
LOCATION: Toutes Aides, Manitoba, Canada

DATE:  September 1, 2015
EVENT: SG&R Farms Day
TOPIC: Capturing Carbon Through Cover Cropping
LOCATION: Rapid City, Manitoba, Canada

DATE:  October 9, 2015
EVENT: Richards Family Farm & Livestock Day
TOPIC: Profitable Small Farms-Ranches while making Healthy Soils
LOCATION: Bangor, Saskatchewan, Canada


Canadian Forage & Grassland Association

Ducks Unlimited Canada

Kane Veterinary Supplies

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