Program Results from New York

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We’ve just tabulated more results of our Beginning Farmers & Ranchers: Women in the Northeast & Texas program. These are from the 2013-2014 season in New York. This program, funded by a grant from the NY Beginning women farmer, HOlistic management practitionerUSDA/NIFA Beginning Farmer/Rancher Development Program, was coordinated by Sarah Williford of Central New York RC&D. This group finished their Holistic Management learning sessions in April and their final farm mentor visits in July. Lead instructors were Holistic Management Certified Educators Phil Metzger, Erica Frenay, and Elizabeth Marks. Additional instructors included Crystal Stewart. Mentors for the program were Tricia Park, Kylie Spooner, Rebeca Torres Rose, and Amie Collins

Testimonials

“Meeting and talking with other farmers has allowed me to improve my understanding of what is involved in small scale farming.”
“I find that the mix of women in the class I attended to be smart, savvy and determined this positive chemistry can only be of benefit to others whether it be for moral support, help with testing questions or giving an issue a different perspective.”
“The program has given me ideas and motivation and helped me become more involved in my community.”
“I got connections with local farmers to help me continue to practice Holistic Management.”
“The farmer network and experienced resources are invaluable.”

Demographic Information

Beginning Women Farmer graduates Holistic ManagementOf the 9 participants who completed the final survey:

  • 8 are currently farming
  • The average years of farming was 4 years
  • The average acres under production was 55 acres under production
  • The average age was 47 years old
  • The types of farm operations were as follows: Cattle/Cow/Calf (2), Vegetable/Fruit/Produce (3), Poultry (1), Pigs (1), Sheep (1), Dairy (1), Honey (1), Hay (2), Education (1), Hops (1).
  • The total customers of all participants: 107
  • 100% of participants intend to keep farming

If you are a beginning women farmer in the Northeast, or know someone that is, be sure to check out our 2014-2015 enrollment page  as we are now accepting applications for the upcoming season.

You can find out statistical details from the program  here.

Getting Started Holistic Grazing Planning Course Results

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Bishopp Farm

HMI’s Online Learning Series Getting Started Holistic Grazing Planning course began in May 2014 with 22 participants from all around the world. This course focused on key grazing planning principles and practices. The participants were excited to improve their ability to observe and understand critical grazing considerations, determining forage inventory, animal needs, along with grazing and recovery periods before putting all these calculations into a written grazing plan.

After surveying the participants who completed the Getting Started Holistic Grazing Planning course, all of the participants experienced knowledge and behavior changes with:

Getting Started Holistic Grazing Planning Evaluation Results
Knowledge/Behavior and Confidence Increase % Increase
The value of grazing planning 100%
How to assess recovery periods 100%
How to improve land health with livestock 100%
How to determine the number of paddocks 100%
How to determine grazing periods 100%
Assessing quantity of forage in a pasture 100%
Determining the number of animals your land can support for grazing 100%
% of Participants
Do you intend to complete or modify a written grazing plan as a result of today’s session? 100%
Do you intend to change any management practices as a result of this session? 100%
Overall Satisfaction of the course 100%

 

 

 

WSARE Grazing Planning Course a Success

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77-Ranch-cows-in-bluebonnetsSMALL

HMI completed our third online course as part of our Whole Farm/Ranch Planning Program for Agricultural Educators funded by The Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (WSARE) Professional Development Program. The Holistic Grazing Planning course began in April 2014 with 26 participants from 10 different states. This course provides key grazing planning principles and practices to help participants facilitate conversations with producers about grazing planning and implementation. This simple approach to grazing planning helps agricultural educators and producers hone in on critical grazing considerations, determine forage inventory, animal needs, and grazing and recovery periods. After gathering all of the information and putting together their calculations, participants created a written grazing plan.

After surveying the participants in the WSARE Grazing Planning course, a high number of participants experienced knowledge and behavior changes as noted below.

HMI thanks WSARE for their funding of this program.

WSARE Land Planning Evaluation Results
Knowledge/Confidence Increase % Increase
How to assess recovery periods 80%
How to assess quantity of forage in a pasture 80%
How to determine grazing periods 87%
How to determine the number of animals your pasture can support 93%
How to determine the number of paddocks 93%
Behavior Change         % of Participants
Increased confidence in assessing quantity of forage in a pasture 80%
Increased confidence in determining the number of animals your land can support for grazing 80%
Increased confidence in determining how long animals will stay in each paddock 80%
Do you intend to complete or modify a written grazing plan as a result of today’s session? 87%
Do you intend to change any management practices as a result of this session? 92%
Overall Satisfaction of the course 100%

 

What the Participants Said:

“Getting your ‘system’ down on paper helps immensely in understanding a complex grazing plan.”

 

“I am finding I am better able to communicate with my clients greater purpose in grazing management planning and further subdividing current management units in such a way that provides a space and place for curiosity from my client and allows for even broader conversations than prior to this class; I’ve been witnessing a change in some of my somewhat resistant clients. It seems I have made a change in the way I present myself or a concept that allows them to dig deeper into being more vulnerable around their management strategies and investigating, in conversation, changes that they would be willing to explore.”

 

“I’m more comfortable with the numbers and the math via the spreadsheet and interpreting it with “on-the” ground management”

 

“I learned how to assess forage quality and quantity, animal performance and how to calculate paddock size and ADA.”

 

“I really enjoyed the resources and was able to share many of them with co-workers and clients.”

Featured Participant

Maggie Matoba

Maggie Matoba “I have nothing but praises for HMI’s Grazing Planning class that I just  completed this past spring.  If there was any fault, I wish the course was a little  longer, because there was so much to absorb and learn.  We were given the  tools to improve our skills (and to help other ranchers and farmers) to more  effectively manage grazing resources and increase the ability to make more  informed decisions utilizing HMI’s whole farm/ranch goal-setting and  ecosystem processes.  With these tools and through observation and better  understanding of these type of grazing practices, I am better equipped to  advise my clients and students (as an agriculture educator) as to how to  improve their grazing management skills and enable them to increase their  productivity.  I feel more knowledgeable about how to work with nature and to maintain environmental sustainability, while being able to focus also on how to effectively make decisions to maximize positive financial gains.

 

With this course, as with the other courses in the HMI Program, real-time application will be the next step, in order to synthesize these concepts that I have learned and put them into practice.  I look forward to be working with farmers and ranchers in the area and introduce them to these exciting approaches in agriculture! “

 

Agriculture Business Management Advisor & Horticultural Therapist– Eugene, Oregon

 

 

Want to improve your land, animal & water health?

Holistic Managment Rendezvous 2014, Texas, HMI
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If you do, you’ll want to attend our next Open Gate day. This one will be in Marfa, Texas. Open Gates are on-farm/ranch learning days  that are held on the land throughout the U.S. Each day is hosted by an experienced Holistic Management practitioner and features numerous innovative and sustainable agricultural topics and practices.  We’ve had a few our Open Gates sell out this year, so be sure to register soon for this important event.

Dixon Mimms Unit Open Gate HOlistic ManagementSeptember 13, 2014
Dixon Ranches Mimms Unit
Marfa, Texas
 

Whether you are an agricultural producer, wildlife manager, local agency representative, or just interested in sustainability, drought mitigation and biological research findings, this is a day for you. Sul Ross State University students will also find this well worth their time.

  • Learn effective ranching techniques to improve rangeland productivity, water holding capacity, soil health, and wildlife habitat
  • Improve land monitoring skills
  • Connect with folks from the local sustainable ag and ranching communities
  • Understand key soil health indicators and ways to improve soil
  • Shorten your learning curve by talking to producers who have improved stocking rates by implementing grazing strategies to improve water infiltration and land productivity.
  • Better understand the effects of wildfire on soil health and how to mitigate its effects
  • Hear how Holistic Management enables producers to better manage risk, make better decisions and enjoy the benefits of sustainable agriculture

Learn More and Register Now

Holistic Grazing Planning Course in OK

Kim Barker talks about land management practices at the Cornelsen Ranch
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The Oklahoma Farmers & Ranchers Association is hosting a 2-Day Introduction to Holistic Management Grazing Planning course later in August.

August 22-23, 2014
Spring Forest Farm
Hulbert, OK

Registration: juliegahn@yahoo.com

Cost: $20 OFRA Members
$55 Non Members

Instructor: Holistic Management Certified Educator Peggy Sechrist

The 2-Day Introduction to Holistic Management Grazing Planning course focuses on key whole farm/ranch goal setting and ecosystem processes to help producers manage their farm/ranch for the triple bottom line (social, environmental, and financial sustainability) and more effectively manage their grazing resources. They will learn how to improve their ability to observe, understand, and make decisions, based on what they can control. Through these new skills they improve their ability to work with nature and to increase the productivity of their farm or ranch.

Outcomes:

Participants will be able to:

  • Get their livestock to the right place at the right time and for the right reasons
  • Determine appropriate stocking rate
  • Plan grazing to increase profits from meat, milk, or fiber
  • Utilize the “tools” of grazing and animal impact to create the future landscape in a whole farm goal
  • Effectively plan and utilize stock density, and herd effect
  • Maximize production (and profitability) from both land and animals
  • Maximize forage production in the growing season and ration it out in the non-growing season without animal performance drops
  • Plan for and survive a drought with minimal financial losses
  • Integrate all other activities on the property with the grazing plan to avoid stress, surprises, and to lower costs

Topics

  • Define key management considerations
  • Identify and map grazing areas
  • Key regenerative grazing principles
  • Determine the number of animals that can be carried and herd makeup
  • Define plant recovery periods and grazing periods
  • Develop a written plan to maximize productivity and profitability
  • Address issues around implementing and monitoring a grazing plan
  • Identify feed needs for grazing and non-grazing periods
  • Build a grazing plan that works with Nature

Be sure to register soon.

NY Senator meets with women farmers

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Senator Tkaczyk, Senator Gillibrand, and HMI’s New York Beginning Women Farmer Coordinator, Sarah Williford.

Senator Tkaczyk, Senator Gillibrand, and
HMI’s New York Beginning Women Farmer
Coordinator, Sarah Williford.

On Sunday July 20th graduates of the HMI’s Beginning Farmers & Ranchers: Women in the Northeast  program as well as a wider group of NY women farmers gathered for a roundtable event with U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and New York State Senator Cecilia Tkaczyk. Twenty-five women farmers of all ages, stages and production, plus fifteen or so agency folks and local politicians were there to represent a diversity of experience at the Crossroads Brewery in Athens NY. They discussed affordable and secure access to land including wanting land held by non-profits to ensure that farmland will be farmed in perpetuity, access to capital for women farmers, migrant labor ,and  excessive regulations creating obstacles and high costs for slaughterhouses to exist. Senator Tkaczyk, a NY woman farmer herself, offered that access to capital is a major  obstacle for women farmers, and suggested looking for alternative lending institutions outside of banks. Senator Gillibrand noted that women have the gift of collaboration and can use it to support one another. Both Senator Tkaczyk and Senator Gillibrand will be following up with the group through an Agriculture working group

Major Gathering of Holistic Management Folks

Running.DSC_0155.small
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We are extremely excited to announce that last week we opened registration for the Holistic Management Rendezvous 2014.  This is expected to be the largest gathering of Holistic Management Practitioners and Educators this year.   HMI is proud to co-host this event with the Dixon Water Foundation.  While there will be plenty of time to network with your peers,  enjoy fine dining and live entertainment, we’ve also got a number of in-depth learning opportunities for you to expand your skills and knowledge of Holistic Management.  Holistic Management practitioners, educators, organic ranchers, and anyone interested in sustainable land management and local food will want to attend.

 

Rendevouz Graphic.3

All events are located in and near Decatur, Texas

Learn More and Register NOW

Ross Farm Day Recap

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It is no wonder the Open Gate: Ross Farm sold out so quickly. Dynamic siblings Betsy, Kathryn and Joe David Ross have earned a reputation for deep knowledge gained through 7 decades of passionate curiosity and for sharing that knowledge freely while they rub off a little of that passion.

Ross Farm Day Open GatePeggy Cole welcomed the group on behalf of HMI and asked how many were familiar with Holistic Management. About 50 hands went up—The large majority of the 70 attendees. Many were here to see old friends in addition to learning more from the Rosses.

Holistic Management  Certified Educator Peggy Sechrist was on hand to talk about the many ways the day’s teachings can help with mitigating drought – before, during and after the droughts that are a past and future fact in our climate.

Betsy took half the group of 70 into the field with their shovels. Along they way she stopped to pick various weeds and explain they are there for a purpose – to help the soil make its elements more available to plants. Johnson grass adds calcium; silver-leaf nightshade adds phosphorus, etc. The group visited a pasture the cattle had just left to have a look at the grass, the litter and the soil with a lesson from JR Builta on the rotation and recovery of their pastures and from Betsy on what to look for under the surface and on the roots.

OPen GAte Ross FArm Day Results, Holisic ManagementMeanwhile Joe David had the other half of the group judging cattle for grass finishing. He pulled two at a time into the pen with the group. He suggested we look for two positive and two negative traits in each animal, weighting the pros and cons.

Joe David talked about the importance of BRAC—a word that has not yet been taken from us. The letters stand for:
Balance – taking care of the land, the animals, the people and the finances
Responsibility/Respect to and from each other and the land/animals,
Action! You have to lose your own money and make mistakes to learn – not just read and study a method
Character/Communication – ethics and honest interaction

When the bell rang – or sometime after the bell rang – The Rosses swapped groups and continued teaching. All enjoyed sitting in the shade with an excellent box lunch. Julie Morrison took those interested in the beef cuts into the room with the freezers so she could explain why the various Betsy Ross Grass-Fed Beef cuts are used.

Holistic Managmeent Open GAte Ross Farm Day, TexasThe afternoon session divided the group in half again. Betsy gave a slide supported talk on HMI concepts and how they fit into soil health considerations. Joe David had the other group under the big shade trees explaining with photos the finer points of selecting cattle. Once again they swapped groups and repeated their talks. Both groups came together for a final Q&A session with discussion on a number of topics.

Collectively the attendees managed over 96,000 acres and raised primarily cattle, sheep, and crops. Here’s what a few of the folks had to say about the day..

Excellent. So much pertinent information well presented with 100% commitment & enthusiasm.

Great! Great values for the cost.

Great inspiration, priceless knowledge passed on!

Presenters have wealth of information.

Well done! Lots of knowledge in a comfortable atmosphere. These are real people with real experiences.

 

Question% Participants
Would you recommend this event to others?100%
Did you expand your learning network of people and resources100%
Do you intend to change any management practices/apply ideas you learned in this event?91%
Do you intend to pursue biological monitoring on your land as a result of today's event? 85%
Are you more confident in your ability to improve land health?100%
Increased knowledge of Ecosystem Processes observations and assessments85%
Increased knowledge of critical monitoring criteria to build biological wealth and mitigate drought82%

Thanks

This event is made possible by a generous contribution from The Dixon Water Foundation.

Dixon Water Foundation Logo

 

PastureMap Entrepreneurs win CommonBond Social Impact Award

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Friends of HMI,  Christine Sue and Jennifer Tsau of Summer Technologies won won the CommonBond Social Impact Award for the top MBA social entrepreneur of 2014.  Summer Technologies is the first sustainable agriculture startup to ever win a national social impact award, which is great for getting the word out. When Christine and Jennifer spoke to 200+ business leaders at the award event, they explained the need for sustainable grazing and innovation in our food system and how their product, PastureMap will help ranchers.

christineChristine recently completed a joint MBA and Master’s in Land Use and Agriculture at Stanford. She has worked as a ranch hand on a family-owned dairy in Japan, on a hazelnut nursery that is Bhutan’s biggest social venture, and Earthbound Farm in California. To learn more about Summer Technologies and its beta product PastureMap go to: https://angel.co/summer-technologies. If you are interested in providing input or testing a beta version of this product, contact Christine.

Results from Massachusetts

HMI Beginning Farmers & Ranchers, MA
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We’ve just tabulated more results of our Beginning Farmers & Ranchers: Women in the Northeast & Texas program. These are from the 2013-2014 season in Massachusetts. This program, funded by a grant from the USDA/NIFA Beginning Farmer/Rancher Development Program was coordinated Beginning Women FArmers, MA, HMIby Devon Whitney-Deal of Community Involved in Supporting Agriculture. This group finished their Holistic Management learning sessions in May and have final farm mentor visits to complete in July. Lead instructors were Holistic Management Certified Educators Phil Metzger and Calley Hastings. Additional instructors included Missy Bahret, Crystal Stewart and Jessie Schmidt. Mentors for the program were Brittany Sidway, Chanya Sae-Eaw, and Sonya Harms.

Testimonials

“This training has increased my ability to make decisions.”
“It gave me a better network of people!”
“The program gave me a chance to meet other farmers and extension agents who are valuable resources.”
“This training provided a deeper sense of support and sense of possibility. It provided contacts we can use to grow enterprises (like honey/beekeeping)”
“I bought tools from a fellow student and used the expertise of a few other students for advice. I may pasture the livestock of another fellow student.”

Demographic Information

  • The average years of farming was 4 years (range: 1 – 9 years)
  • The average acres under production was 18 acres (range: 0.25 – 205 acres)
  • The average age was 41 years old (range: 26 to 73 years old)
  • The types of farm operations were as follows:
  • Cattle/Cow/Calf (4), Vegetable/Fruit/Produce (12), Pigs/Hogs (2), Sheep (1), Goat (1), Honey (1), Dairy (2), Herbs (4), Cheese (1), Hay (1), Flowers (3), and Agritourism (1).
  • The total customers of all participants: Retail – Average 213 (total 1,915); Wholesale – Average 43 (total 259)
  • 89% of participants intend to continue farming

If you are a beginning women farmer in the Northeast, or know someone that is, be sure to check out our 2014-2015 enrollment page  as we are now accepting applications for the upcoming season.

You can find out statistical details from the program here.