Focused Ag Conference in TX

Bookmark and Share

Kathy Harris, Holistic Management Certified Educaor, TexasHolistic Management Certified Educator in Training, Kathy Harris will be participating in the Focused Agriculture Conference in Mt Pleasant, TX on October 17. She’ll be joining speakers and sponsors which include:
Texas Farm Bureau, Sheri Salatin – Polyface Farms, Carrie Mess aka “Dairy Carrie”, Lone Star Ag Credit, Axium Solar Solutions,  and many more.  Topics including: solar energy for farm and home, direct marketing ag products, pest management-3 CEU’s, and establishing winter grass pastures. A total of 16 sessions will offer up a wide variety of relevant topics to improve your operation’s profitability. Featured events at the conference such as the Farmer’s Market/Farm Show and farm tours at Efurd’s Orchard and Los Pinos Ranch Winery ensure that this will be an event to remember!

You can register for the conference and get more information by contacting Rene’ McCracken, rmccracken@ntcc.edu

Canadian Holistic Management practitioners in the news

Bookmark and Share

I just came across this nice little article about Holistic Management practitioners Connie Smith and  The Western Producer LogoBrian Chrisp in Alberta Canada. Here’s an excerpt from article, written by Karen Morrison and published in the Western Producer

This warm day, Chrisp shows off animals grazing belly deep in grass and pastures with a dense trash cover.

“When looking at the grasses in pastures, it goes without saying it’s working,” said Smith, who was raised on a grain farm near Govan, Sask.

Chrisp owns eight quarters and rents another seven quarters of pasture for the 150 purebred cows he keeps on abundant stands of grass. He winters about 350, buying most of his feed, and sells purebred bulls at a sale in April each year.

“There’s no crop farmer in me. I love grass and cattle,” said Chrisp, who has also taught farm management and cow-calf production at nearby Lakeland College.

“I like cows rather than tractor operations.”

He adopted holistic management practices, including shorter grazing periods and longer rest periods, to better manage grass and extend the grazing season.

“I have grass stands that were seeded in 1983 still productive,” said Chrisp.

Read the full article on the Western Producer website.

Open Gate: Bar Lazy S Ranch Day Recap

Bookmark and Share

maejim2sm

 

HMI was excited to offer an Open Gate almost in our backyard (1/2 hour away) in collaboration with the Bar Lazy S Ranch. The focus on this Open Gate was determining an effective product mix for the economic and quality of life needs determined by each individual small producer. Virginia Smith, owner and manager of the Bar Lazy S Ranch was on hand to share to share her experiences with Holistic Management and exploring a number of different enterprises and the pros and cons of each for her.

The 20 participants also took a tour of the 10-acre ranch located near the town of Los Lunas, to see what the landscape on the ranch was and listen to Virginia’s desired outcomes for her ranch as well as the 125 square miles of the San Clemente Land Grant. Virginia talked about how she saw her small property integrating into an effort to revitalize the opportunity for local food production in this area. To that end she has been involved in developing the Rio Puerco Rangeland Trust and is president of the La Asociacion De La Comunidad De San Clemente.
enterprisesmIn the afternoon, it was time for some enterprise analysis. Ann Adams led the participants through an example of how to determine profitability of a milk goat enterprise. From there participants broke into teams focused on a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) venture, a cow/calf enterprise, and an egg layer enterprise, to work through the numbers and explore the profitability of each enterprise.

robinsmThis exercise was followed by a marketing discussion led by Robin Seydel of La Montanita Coop in Albuquerque. She talked about the key marketing issues that she has seen producers face as well as the opportunities available through the Coop as a distributor and as a microloan entity. She also mentioned that the Coop was looking for a meat poultry producer to supply LaMontanita, much as they have created a partnership with Sweetgrass Coop that supplies La Montanita with beef for all their stores.

Throughout the day there was much discussion of the various USDA tools and programs helpful to small, diversified farmers including Farm Service Agency microloans, NRCS EQIP hoophouse and organic transition help, and the NRCS soil survey maps. When the participants broke into groups to discuss some land planning ideas for the Bar Lazy S concepts like soil water holding capacity and land productivity became critical pieces of information. Participants looked a water harvesting ideas to reduce water run off as well as look at optimal enterprise mix to stack functions and how to maximize the tool of animal impact for land reclamation.

virginiasmHMI would like to thank Virginia Smith for sharing her ranch for the Day and the Thornburg Foundation for its support of this event. We would also like to thank our sponsors: Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, Valencia Soil and Water Conservation District, New Mexico State University, and La Montanita Coop.

Evaluations for the program showed that participants found the program rewarding and educational.

Participants had this to say about the program:

A great help and lots of resources.

More than I expected.

Very well presented and organized.

Well done! Very informative.

Informed by well qualified leaders.

I really enjoyed the entire event and feel more hopeful that I’ll be able to do something like this in the future.

 

hover over the photo to see the caption.
  1. San Clemente Land Grant provided opportunities for rangeland health discussion
  2. Small group work on developing a CSA budget
  3. Cattle were selected for gentleness and good foraging capabilities
  4. The Bar Lazy S now has 3 generations of Highland Cattle
  5. Trail riding was one enterprise explored at the Bar Lazy S
  6. Participants discussed pros and cons of Highland Cattle
  7. Participants came from diverse entreprises including poultry, produce, and cattle
  8. Holistic Management Certified Educator Ann Adams shares the key steps to enterprise analysis
  9. Participants learn about the key biological monitoring criteria
  10. Participants enjoyed a day out on the land
  11. Goats and sheep were part of a petting zoo
  12. Participants discussing land planning options for the Bar Lazy S
  13. Participants learned from each other

 

Results

Question% Participants
Determine plant health & recovery92%
Improve Wildlife/pollinator habitat92%
The value of enterprise analysis85%
Improve Ranch Profitability77%
Effective Marketing Strategies77%
Intend to complete or modify an enterprise analysis as a result of today's event?91%
Intend to complete a biological monitoring on your land as a result of today's event91%
Intend to change any management practices/apply ideas you learned at this event82%
Expand your network today be meeting new people or learning about resources available to you?100%
Overall Satisfaction (Rated good to excellent)100%

2014 Beginning Women Farmers – Final Report

Bookmark and Share

 

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe’re excited to release our final report for Growing Successful Transitions with Beginning Women Farmer Programs in the Northeast and Texas 2014. This year, 127 women participated in the program, which teaches Holistic Management® Whole Farm/Ranch Planning; with 98 participants graduating.  The program impacted 43,403 acres of land, and HMI is happy to report that we received a 98 percent program satisfaction rate from our participants.   We also accepted nine women into the Beginning Women Whole Farm Planning Trainer Program, and hope to train more this upcoming year.

The program is primarily funded by a grant from USDA/NIFA (Award #2012-49400-19673) with additional funding provided by Farm Aid and The Clif Bar Family Foundation.

 

 

Open Gate: Mimms Ranch Day Highlights

Bookmark and Share

HMI Program Manager Peggy Cole, filed this report…

Mimms Open Gate. Cows Holistic Management practitioners in TExas, hmiMarfa, Texas welcomed autumn with its first chilly winds on September 13, 2014. 39 people gathered at Dixon Ranches Mimms Unit for an Open Gate learning day. While the warmth inside the house kept everyone comfortable, a set of short talks gave everyone the background they needed for the afternoon’s lessons.

Peggy Cole oriented folks to the mission and programs of  Holistic Management International and introduced the day’s speakers and agenda. Dixon Water Foundation president Robert Potts gave a little history of Dixon Water Foundation and its acquisition of Mimm’s Ranch so that they could ranch in a dry, brittle environment and thus prove the effectiveness of the Holistic Management Whole Farm/Ranch planning system they utilize on their Texas ranches.

Ranch manager Casey Wade talked about the goals of the ranch and the objectives of the grazing program in improving the soil and forage. He showed a large map of the ranch with the perimeter and the permanent fencing marked. Each of those 30 paddocks can be strip grazed with temporary electric fence to provide the cattle daily moves to fresh pasture. In response to a question about the time all that moving takes, Casey said he merely has to stand at the gate, blow a whistle and get out of their way.

Moving cattle with sound - participants enjoy watching the cows and calves move to fresh pasture with no more effort than blowing a whistle and opening a gate

Moving cattle with sound – participants enjoy watching the cows and calves move to fresh pasture with no more effort than blowing a whistle and opening a gate

Casey also explained that the cattle need to be trained to an electric fence. He does this by putting a strip of hot wire near the water so cows and calves need to walk around it to get to water. The cows know but the calves need to be in there a few days to be sure all have tested the wire and received their training.

Dr. Bonnie Warnock from Sul Ross had a fascinating report on the research done before and after the big “Rock House” fire that hit in the midst of 2011’s drought. Results show recovery is just now where it was before the fire.

Holistic Management Certified Educator, Dr. Lisa Bellows talked about Holistic Management practices on the Dixon Ranches.

After lunch by local eatery Food Shark, everyone loaded into pickups and went out on the land. Casey proved his whistle story by opening a gate to a large pasture of calving cows. He blew the whistle. Cows and calves loped in from every direction to go through the gate into fresh pasture. Everyone enjoyed watching the move with the curious calves and the sleek, healthy adults.

Dixon Water Foundation president Robert Potts, right, helps participants see what the dart landed on in a pasture monitoring exercise.

Dixon Water Foundation president Robert Potts, right, helps participants see what the dart landed on in a pasture monitoring exercise.

Lisa Bellows and Dixon Program Director, Melissa Bookhout showed the group how biological monitoring is done on the Dixon Ranches. Bonnie Warnock demonstrated some additional techniques for monitoring along a measuring tape transect and with a pvc square within which percentages of cover and bare ground are noted. Photo points were also discussed. Participants tried out the Holistic Management dart throwing method.

Assessing forage was discussed, with several ways to judge how long the available forage might support an animal unit. The Dixon method was briefly described and demonstrated. The group went back to the house for discussion, networking, and evaluation. Here’s what folks had to say about the day.

What a great educational opportunity and a worthy way to spend a Saturday.

Very well organized and informative

I learned more at this one-day event than I had any expectation of learning.

Enjoyed meeting other ranchers and learning more.

Great event and I learned a lot about how to manage ranch land. Never heard about this program before. Wish I would have known before now, however, plan to try to attend additional events.

 

hover over the photo to see the caption

  1. Blustery weather blows in at Mimms Unit
  2. Ranch manager Casey Wade ties all decisions, plans and actions back to the Holistic Goal
  3. Dixon Water Foundation president Robert Potts, Holistic Management Certified Educator Dr. Lisa Bellows and DWF education program director Melissa Bookhout enjoy watching Open Gate participants enjoy watching the cattle move to fresh pasture.
  4. Cows bring their calves through the gate in answer to a whistle by ranch manager Casey Wade
  5. Fresh pasture is always a welcome place to be from a cow\'s point of view
  6. Holistic Management Certified Educator Dr. Lisa Bellows explains the forms on which Dixon Ranches keeps track of monitoring information
  7. Dr. Bonnie Warnock explains more ways to monitor the land for the direction of change
  8. Open Gate participants lean in close to see the measurement of bare ground
  9. A baby tumbleweed generates discussion

 

Results

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 management practices as a result of this training92%
Do you intend to pursue biological monitoring on your land as a result of today's event?77%
Overall Satisfaction of the Event (Rated Good to Excellent)100%
Increased Knowledge Experienced% Participants
How to estimate forage in Animal says/Acre90%
Critical monitoring criteria to build biological wealth and mitigate drought95%
Techniques for monitoring your land95%
Understanding the Principles of Holistic Management76%
Understanding how the use of grazing can influence animal health76%
The role of biodiversity in managing livestock with wildlife67%
Increased Confidence in Ability to...% Participants
Assess forage needs and availability81%
Analyze (monitor) ecosystem health90%
Improve land health with biodiversity76%

 

We’d like to extend our thanks to the following organizations for their support:

Dixon Water Foundation

Marfa National Bank/Big Bend Banks, N.A.

 

Workshops center around helping ranchers

Open Gate Mimms Unit, HMI, Holistic Management, new mexico
Bookmark and Share

Deborah Fox from the The Valencia County News-Bulletin attended HMI’s Open Gate: Bar Lazy S Ranch Day and just published  an article.  Here’s and excerpt

Most people picture a little farm with a few cows, chickens and a couple of crop fields when they think of where food comes from.  The reality is that most food comes from large, one-crop agricultural businesses that may be miles away from their dinner table. In New Mexico, the farm-to-plate and buy-local initiatives seem to be gaining momentum, and local farmers and ranchers are rising to the demand.
The Bar Lazy S Ranch in San Clemente held a day of workshops Friday centered around small farm profitability. The workshops focused on how diversification and farming cooperatives can provide some stability in the risky business of food production, and increase local profits…
Read the entire article on the News-Bulletin website>>>

Holistic Grazing Tour for Organic Denmark

Bookmark and Share

 

Dr. Susan Beal (closest to camera) was the tour guide for this 5-day tour of 11 holistically managed, organic dairies in the Northeast.

Dr. Susan Beal (closest to camera) was the tour guide for this 5-day tour of 11 holistically managed, organic dairies in the Northeast.

 

In collaboration with Northeast Organic Dairy Producers Association (NODPA), HMI provided a tour of holistically-managed organic dairies in the Northeast for Organic Denmark, a non-profit association which has taken the lead within the European organic movement to bring together the entire organic sector in Denmark comprising of more than 145 companies.

The idea for this tour originated from HMI’s Getting Started Online Grazing Planning course. Two participants from that course, Carsten Markussen and Thorkild Nissen, who are members of Organic Denmark, requested a tour of holistically-managed, organic dairies in the northeast U.S. because the landscape was similar to Denmark.

HMI contacted Pam Moore, a Holistic Management practitioner and member of NODPA, to get her help in organizing the tour. Dr. Susan Beal was selected as tour guide for this 5-day tour. Dr. Beal is an Agricultural Science Advisor for PASA (Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture). She has studied veterinary acupuncture, animal chiropractic, and is well-versed in a variety of alternative health treatments and Holistic Management.

The tour was from September 8-12th and the 5 participants visited 11 different dairies in New York and Pennsylvania including Bendy Brook Farm, Springwood Farm, Hamilton Heights Dairy, Emerald Valley Dairy, Spring Creek Farm, Moore Farms, Brothers Ridge Farm, Bloodnick Family Farm, Engelbert Farms, Raindance Farm, and Dharma Lea Farm. All parties agreed the tour was a great success in exchanging ideas about holistic planned grazing, organic production, animal performance, and a host of other topics.

After the tour, Carsten wrote: “I want to express my deep joy and satisfaction about the trip that Ann, Pam, Susan, and Maggie [tour organizers and guides], and all the other farmers we met made for us. The enthusiasm and knowledge that came flooding towards us was amazing.” HMI would also like to thank Pam, Susan, Maggie, and the host farmers for their efforts in making this tour a success.

Josey Institute of Agroecology in Texas

Bookmark and Share

 

From left to right: Dr. Brent Wallace, president of NCTC; Clint Josey; Dr. Lisa Bellows; and Dixon Water Foundation President and CEO Robert Potts.

From left to right: Dr. Brent Wallace, president of NCTC; Clint Josey; Dr. Lisa Bellows; and Dixon Water Foundation President and CEO Robert Potts.

 

The Dixon Water Foundation recently funded The Josey Institute for Agroecology at North Central Texas College (NCTC). The Institute will conduct research and offer educational programs on sustainable ranching and farming for NCTC students, as well as land owners and the general public. The Institute is named for Dixon Water Foundation Board Chairman and HMI Board member, Clint Josey.

“This institute will help train a new generation of land stewards to manage economically and ecologically sustainable ranches, which are so important to our state’s future,” said Robert J. Potts, president and CEO of the Dixon Water Foundation.

NCTC Science professor and Holistic Management Certified Educator, Lisa Bellows, will direct the Institute. “This will be an exploratory year for the Josey Institute, so that we can define the needs of our community, organize our approach, and target the position of NCTC as a leader in agricultural ecology,” Bellows said.

The Institute will serve as the new home of the Promoting Agriculture and Conservation Education (PACE) Project, an existing collaboration between the college and the Gainesville Independent School District. PACE students learn about sustainable ranching on a holistically managed property south of the Gainesville High School. Holistic planned grazing and multi-species grazing are demonstrated on the property, which is owned by the school district and leased by the college. Through the Institute, Bellows will be teaching a Sustainable Agriculture course this fall, in which Whole Land Management will be the focus.

Kentucky Holistic Planned Grazing Event

Bookmark and Share

Texas.cows.Droughtsmall

Introduction to Holistic Planned Grazing

If you are near Kentucky, you’ll want to take advantage of this opportunity to learn about Holistic Planned Grazing. Joshua Dukart, a Holistic Management Certified Educator and grazier, will be facilitating this one-day program on October 16th. The program runs from 10 am to 3:30 pm and includes lunch. It will be held at the KYSU Research and Demonstration Farm inFrankfort, KY

This program will cover an introduction to Holistic Planned Grazing and how it can benefit your farm. Participates will receive material to help them plan and manage their grazing in a more sustainable manner while improving productivity of the land and improving soil health.

Directions to KYSU Research and Demonstration Farm:

From Frankfort, travel south on Rt. 127. Cross I-64, then turn left (east) at an intersection with a Chevron gas station, a traffic light, and a “Kentucky State University Research Farm” sign. Follow Mills Lane east for 1.5 miles. The farm is on the right, marked with a green and yellow sign.

No need to register, just get to the event at little earlier. There is no cost for the program.

For more information contact Ken Andries
Office: 502-597-5094
Email: Kenneth.andries@kysu.edu

HMI Welcomes Newest Certified Educator

Bookmark and Share

lisabellows

Lisa Bellows recently completed HMI’s Certified Educator Training Program. Lisa began the program in the spring of 2012, taking Holistic Management courses in Goal Setting, Financial Planning, Grazing Planning, Land Planning, and Biological Monitoring from Holistic Management Certified Educator, Kirk Gadzia, as part of the work to complete HMI’s rigorous Holistic Management Certified Educator Training Program. This program requires that each trainee complete various aspects of the Holistic Management curriculum including financial plans, grazing plans, land plans, biological monitoring, and goal setting and decision analysis. They also have to create a learning portfolio of their experience teaching these modules and the evaluations they received from their clients.

Lisa is a science professor at North Central Texas College (NCTC) in Gainesville, Texas and serves as the director of the Thomsen Foundation in Montague County. The Foundation is the recipient of the Texas Parks and Wildlife 2013 Lone Star Land Steward Award. Lisa is also involved in the PACE Project, a partnership among NCTC, The Noble Foundation, Texas Agrilife Extension and the Gainesville Independent School District using school property to provide a learning environment focusing on ecologically and financially sustainable initiatives to educate others on how to improve land health, social and economic impact. She is also the Director of the recently endowed Josey Institute for Agroecology at NCTC.

Congratulations to Lisa for her completion of this program!