Mangarara Station Day a Success

May 16th and 17th, 34 participants gathered at The Ecolodge at Mangarara Station at Hawkes Bay in New Zealand.  Titled Amazing Grazing, this two-day event focused on how to never run out of gChecking litter 1rass. The Ecolodge overlooks Horseshoe Lake, a natural landscape feature and is another enterprise to a diverse operation. Key learning objectives of this two-day event included:

  • Plant recovery and its relationship to livestock performance and soil health
  • Rainfall infiltration rates, how they vary, and what that could mean for production
  • Creating sample/demonstration area
  • Signs when grazing is not enhancing the landscape
  • Experimenting with longer rotations
  • Diversity of pasture species
  • Roll of litter in pasture production

Speakers built on these topics, with Steve Haswell from BioAg explaining relationships between organic matter and humus, and connection to litter. Gavin Clements from Wesco Seeds focused on the benefits of diverse pastures, exploring the roles of a number of traditional and non-traditional pasture species.  Bruce Wills told of his farming operation which involves many complimentary practices to managing holistically including higher grazing residuals, planting trees in paddocks, and fencing off native bush.   Greg Hart spoke on the history of Mangarara Station and the increasing number of enterprises including pigs, dairy, beef, sheep, chickens, and the Ecolodge.

Holistic Management Associate Certified Educator John King took the opportunity to demonstrate the decision testing process by exploring whether lengthening recovery periods benefited a generic holistic goal so all participants could see how managing holistically involves much more that grazing.  Malcolm White assisted with practical examples from his situation to illustrate points John raised.   There was a long discussion about recovery periods, overgrazed plants and bare soil.

An outdoor session allowed the group to visit Greg Hart’s grazing operation where Steve Haswell explored the soil profile and an infiltration test was conducted – an inch of water disappeared in 40 seconds on the slope whereas it took 8 minutes at the top of the ridge where livestock tend to camp.  Much was made of the standing litter and how that might be recycled better. The following day the group visited Glenlands operated by Dean and Antoinette Martin and explored the reality of cocktail crops and livestock performance.

Here are some of the results of this two-day event:


Knowledge, Behavior, and Confidence Increase %
Intend to change any management practices/apply ideas  learned in this event? 100%
Expand your network today by meeting new people or learning about resources available? 100%
Would recommend this event to others 100%
Overall Satisfaction of the event 97%
Facilitator’s Effectiveness 97%
Presenters’ Effectiveness 97%
Increased ability to monitor ecosystem health 91%
Increased ability to determine land health 91%
Increased ability to determine appropriate grazing strategies 91%
Intend to conduct biological monitoring as a result of today’s event 90%
Ability to determine plant recovery 76%

NewZealandchecking cows 1
HMI would like to thank Mangarara Station and the Ecolodge, The Association of Biological Farmers, Hawkes Bay Regional Council, Wesco Seeds and Bio Ag for their support of this event.


WANTED: Director of Development


HMI is looking for a new Development Director. If you know someone who is passionate about HMI’s mission and programs and who has a background in development, please send this blog link to them. Here’s some information about the position.


Founded in 1984, Holistic Management International’s mission is to “educate people to manage land for a sustainable future.”  We do this by motivating, connecting, supporting and training farmers, ranchers, and land stewards through the practice of Holistic Management, a Whole Farm/Ranch Planning System that addresses and improves environmental health, land productivity, profitability, and the quality of life of farm and ranch communities.  HMI is located in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Position Summary

The Development Director reports directly to the Executive Director and is directly responsible for all fundraising efforts with a concentrated focus on donor acquisition, large gifts, corporate partnerships/sponsorships and legacy gifts.  This position is also responsible for Board training and engagement in fundraising efforts and staffing the Development Committee. The Development Director will serve as supervisor for the Development Manager who oversees organizational grant making activities and small and medium donor activities.

Primary Duties and Responsibilities

Fundraising & Development planning responsibilities

  • Create and implement a multi-year Development Plan with a clear focus on raising donation revenue in order to support the organization’s strategic plan
  • Monitor and evaluate all fundraising activities to ensure fundraising targets are met and develop alternate strategies as necessary to consistently meet goals
  • Create annual fundraising budget, monitor expenses monthly and recommend changes as necessary. The Development Director should always be prepared to demonstrate the ROI for all planned expenses and activities.

Day to day responsibilities

  • Create, maintain and consistently work to grow a portfolio of 75-100 major donor prospects by building trust and relationships with key donors.
  • Consistently work to identify prospective donors and coordinate solicitations
  • Complete an average of 20 personal visits each month. This position will likely involve extensive travel at and will require a flexible schedule, including nights and weekends, at times
  • Effectively research and prepare background information prior to personal visits
  • Raise an additional $100K in donations and sponsorships the first year above current donation levels and $150-200K the second year with an ultimate objective of building a sustainable donation revenue stream with reasonable, consistent growth
  • Work with staff to develop funding opportunities for projects and programs
  • Creatively leverage outreach and programs opportunities to develop new donor prospects
  • Always prepared to provide reporting and results of cultivation and solicitation activities
  • Maintain effective contact and relationships with key donors
  • Develop and implement process to recognize key donors
  • Oversight of Development Manager which includes oversight of grant making process and small and medium sized donor efforts
  • Collaborate with key staff to create and develop successful donor messaging strategies. In particular, providing input or consultation to the Director of Communications & Outreach on the development of donor related campaigns, materials, and messaging.
  • Develop and implement, in collaboration with the Development Manager, direct mail and e-mail solicitation strategies
  • Respond quickly and effectively to all inquiries and opportunities
  • Performs other duties assigned by the Executive Director

Board and Staff development activities

  • Foster an understanding of philanthropy within the organization
  • Collaborate with the Board of Directors to develop an effective Development Committee. Must be able to consistently and successfully educate and engage BOD to support fundraising efforts including facilitating networking and contacts, initiating and leading regular meetings of the Development Committee, organizing training and educational activities for board and staff
  • Actively seek out and recommend prospective board members that will successfully support Board and organizational fundraising efforts

Minimum Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s Degree
  • Must have at least two years of frontline, face-to-face ask experience with major donors
  • A verifiable track record of sales or fundraising success
  • Experience, knowledge and, most importantly, a passion for issues pertaining to sustainable agriculture and/or the local/healthy food movement. This can be flexible, but it is important that the person in this position is able to sincerely connect with and understand the constituency of the organization.
  • Able to clearly articulate organization’s mission, programs, needs, priorities and impact to donor prospects
  • Excellent interpersonal skills with the ability to initiate conversations and build a rapport with donor prospects
  • A minimum of three excellent professional references, two of which must be able to speak to sales or fundraising experience
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Highly organized and able to work in a high paced, dynamic atmosphere
  • Experienced with tracking sales or giving in a dedicated database

Preferred Qualifications

  • A demonstrated knowledge of development and fundraising principles, practices and ethics
  • Ability to convey to donor prospects the impact of funding education, conservation and/or land stewardship
  • Experience with planned giving solicitation
  • Experience and knowledge of nonprofit operations
  • Experience with Board training and engagement in fundraising
  • Experience managing programs and special events
  • Experience with development and implementation of attractive and successful donor messaging

 Personal Characteristics

  • Must be very motivated by quantitative success. This position is very much “all about the numbers”
  • Must be comfortable being accountable for revenue generation
  • Must demonstrate a very positive attitude, resiliency and being comfortable with being told “no”
  • Must enjoy connecting with people, hearing stories and having serious conversations and turning these into quantifiable results
  • Must be very comfortable with asking for money

Salary and Benefits

This is a full-time position with a starting salary range between $75,000 and $85,000 with opportunities for salary increases.  HMI offers a very competitive benefits package including an excellent employer-paid health care and dental plan as well as LT/ST disability insurance, life insurance and a 403B plan with an employer match.   HMI also offers an excellent PTO package with paid holidays including paid two-weeks off for the Christmas holiday.  Flextime and telecommuting are available at the discretion of the Executive Director.

For more information about our organization and programs please visit our website at

To Apply:  Please send a cover letter, resume, examples of development materials and information for three professional references to [email protected].





Grazing for Long-Term Resilience and Sustainable Profit

Croome Court - bldg in background

cattle grazing at Croome Park









Open Gate: Croome Court Day

Date: Wednesday, June 29, 2016
Location: Croome D’Abitot, Worcester, UK

Are you interested in grass-fed beef for you and your family?
Do you want to learn how we can heal our land and improve the entire watershed while building a healthier food system?  
Are you a farmer or rancher interested in learning how to use livestock to regenerate the land?
Croome Court Day is brought to you by RegenAG UK, sponsored by HMI and is part of HMI’s Open Gate Learning Series. Open Gates are peer-to-peer action-based learning days with short presentations and small group exercises geared for participants to share discoveries and management techniques with guidance from experienced facilitators and producers.
This is a unique opportunity to dip your toes into the world of Holistic Management and Planned Grazing, and explore it’s potential to enhance your farming/land management practice. There will be a selection of high calibre presenters from varying backgrounds, who will discuss and demonstrate the benefits of a Holistic approach to farming and land management and how it can return benefits at a farm as well as catchment scale – and within management structures, too. A broad spectrum of experienced attendees is expected, so this will be an integrated learning experience that allows for networking and community-building.

Provisional Schedule:

9:00 Arrival
9:30 Welcome – Natasha
9:40 Introduction to self and background to HM @ Croome – Rob
10:00 Tour – Rob
11:15 Exercise: Winter Stocking Rate Exercise – Rob
11:45 Exercise: Compare and Contrast suckler calf operation conventional vs HPG – Rob
12:15 Lunch
1:15 Benefits for organisations of working with HM practitioners – Katherine Alker (Garden and Park Manager, Croome Park)
1:30 Introduction to the PFLA (Pasture-Fed Livestock Association), and benefits of/for raising premium meats, and how to get involved – Russ
1:45 Holistic Goal Formation (including testing a few questions based on Rob Havard’s case study) – Philip
2:45 Potential Benefits of a Holistic approach for farm and catchment water management – Matt
3:15 Exercise: Holistic Land Planning for Sustainable Water Management – Matt
3:45 Final Questions, Evaluation Forms and Closing
4:00 Session Ends


Farmers and Full-time students: £25

Other interested individuals: £45
Representatives of organisations: £65
Booking is essential. Fee includes a light lunch and soft-drinks. Due to the nature of the day, if you would like tea/coffee please bring your own in a flask – although there will also be some opportunities to purchase refreshments at the venue.
Booking: email Natasha or call 07866 674 205.

Health Benefits of Grass Fed vs Grain Fed Beef

 Note: This is a guest blog from HMI Board of Director’s member and grassfed producer, Kirrily Blomfield of Quirindi, New South Wales, Australia.


If you’ve ever tasted the difference of beef fed on diverse pastures, there’s an inherent knowing that it must be better for you, because it tastes so good. I am a grass fed beef producer in Australia – and I’d like to share with you why my husband and I choose to produce grass fed beef in our business. We want to produce something that nourishes the body, not just fills the stomach.

Many people already know that grass fed beef is better for them because of its healthier fat profile, but there are some other differences that you may not be aware of, like its ability to satiate, its superior mineral content and its role in preventing modern, western society diseases.  Let me start by explaining why the fat profile of grass fed beef is healthier.

Good Fats

There has been much recognition of the importance of fats in our diets in recent years. And they do form a very important part of our diet but it’s essential that we eat the right ones – or more importantly, that we eat the right balance to help ensure great health, longevity and freedom from modern day diseases.

Essential fatty acids are named so as they are required in biological processes in our bodies, as opposed to fats that are for storing and providing energy.  Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids are such fats, and it is the balance of these essential fatty acids that is important.

There is much evidence to suggest that the diet on which we evolved consisted of a ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids of around 1:1. Modern day western diets however, have much higher relative levels of omega 6 fatty acids, which has been found to promote diseases like heart disease and cancer, as well as inflammatory and autoimmune diseases (1). Shockingly, most current western diets consist of ratios of around 16:1 and even higher!

Choosing grass fed beef over grain fed beef assures you a healthy balance of fats from your beef.  Grass fed beef has an omega-6 to omega-3 ratio of around 1.5 : 1 – a level consistent with wild game – because, like wild game, grass fed animals are eating what nature intended!  This is compared with grain fed animals – the meat of which has a ratio of up to 7:1 and even as high as 16:1(2) – much higher in its relative quantity of the less desirable omega-6 fatty acids.

High concentrations of Omega 6 in the diet have been linked to memory problems, confused behaviour and Alzheimer’s disease, as well as weight gain, allergies and depression.

Research shows that choosing grass fed beef helps put you in a position of preventing or fighting these diseases. Virtually all cattle in Australia are born into a grass fed environment.  Many of these however are then sent to feedlots (CAFO’s) as yearlings (at a certain weight and age), where they are fed and finished on grain.  Research shows that the fat profile of the animal changes very quickly, (to an undesirable level) once the animal’s feed is switched to grain. Grain fed beef then takes to the consumer the potential health problems associated with this higher omega-6 to omega-3 ratio – and in most cases to an unknowing consumer.  This is one of the reasons why I choose to eat and produce beef that is not only fed on pasture, but is also finished on pasture – completely 100% grass fed.

Grass fed beef is one of the best ways to source healthy omega 3 fats, along with other grass fed & free range meats, coconut oil, olive oil, butter from grass fed dairy cows and eggs from pasture fed chooks. Avoiding commonly used vegetable and cooking oils (which are high in omega 6’s), will also help keep your omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio healthy – things like canola, sunflower, soybean and cottonseed oil.  I avoid these whenever possible (and it’s not so easy to do if you eat anything remotely processed – they are in so many things, including most sweet and savory biscuits and crackers and even sultanas – listed as vegetable oils!).  Many of these oils themselves are highly processed.

Stick with whole foods, stick with what nature intended.

Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)

It is not only the greater proportion of the desirable omega-3 fats that makes grass fed beef a healthier option.  Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) is another substance found predominantly in ruminants animals (cows and sheep) fed on grass pastures.  These CLA’s have great health attributes, such as aiding in the prevention of:

  • cancer
  • heart disease
  • osteoporosis
  • high blood pressure
  • inflammation

Bodybuilders also love it for reducing body fat and increasing lean body mass.

diverse pastureSecondary Compounds

Another reason why you may like to choose grass fed beef over grain fed is due to the secondary compounds or phytochemicals (naturally contained in plants) that grass fed animals access when grazing – things like tannins, flavanoids, aromatic oils and alkaloids. These are rarely talked about with relation to food.  We regularly hear about the primary compounds – protein, carbohydrates, energy, and the mineral content of food, but rarely do we hear about these secondary compounds.  This is possibly understandable, because there are thousands of different compounds – but don’t let this have you underestimate their importance!  The combination of a variety of these different compounds contributes to overall wellbeing – in this case, of our cows.  It also however, has a positive knock on effect to our health – the ones consuming the grass fed beef!

These secondary compounds are like nature’s medicines.  They are the things responsible for why red wine is said to be good for your heart and why certain herbs can aid health.  Secondary plant compounds have many roles in your body including appetizing, digestive or therapeutic purposes.(3)

What cows need then, to access the necessary variety of these compounds, is a diverse pasture on which to feed.  The access to this diversity of plants means that the animals maintain good health and the need for chemically treating sickness is avoided. Animals that feed on a single species crop (like an oat crop) however, simply don’t have access to this plant diversity. You and I (as humans) have mostly lost the intuition for knowing what we need to eat to ensure good health or to mend illnesses.  Cows however, have not.  Giving them a diversity of plants on which to feed will provide them the choice required that they may ‘self-medicate’ and ensure their own well-being.

This is great because it means that the cows are healthy and farmers can then avoid pesticides and undesirable chemicals that may otherwise be needed to treat health problems in their cows.

Secondary plant compounds are responsible for a huge range of positive impacts on cows (and then you, as you consume the beef). Here are some examples of the positive effects that plant secondary compounds can have on animals. They can:

  • Be antibacterial or anti-parasitic in the digestive tract
  • Provide antioxidant protection
  • Inhibit cancer growth
  • Stimulate circulation
  • Prevent diarrhoea
  • Offer pain relief
  • Boost immunity
  • Provide satiety (feeling satisfied or full)
  • Influence feed intake
  • Improve fertility
  • Provide flavour and colour to foods

One cow will have different needs to the next (just like we have different nutritional needs to our friends), so a diverse pasture gives cows the ability to select for what they need. A standard grain mix, rationed every day to animals, as with grain feeding does not account for individual animal requirements.

If you choose to consume beef fed on diverse pastures – it’s better for you. We choose diverse pastures for our cows to graze on so that we can avoid the need for ‘chemical bandaids’ for our cows.  This means that our customers get the knock on effects of clean food and of the associated advantages of the plant secondary compounds when they consume our beef.

Mineral Content

Grass fed beef contains more vitamins, minerals and antioxidants than grain fed beef.  Research has shown grass fed beef has increased levels of beta-carotene, which is a precursor to vitamin A.  Higher levels of cancer fighting antioxidants (vitamin E, glutathione and superoxide dismutase) have also been attributed to grass fed beef.(4)

Grass fed beef has also been shown to have higher levels of zinc, iron and vitamin B12 (5), all of which form important functions in our bodies.

Organic and Grassfed

I fully support organic production of produce – and that’s how we choose to produce, free of pesticides, heavy metal residues and all the things that could otherwise accumulate in our food. You may like to know though, that just because some beef may be organically certified doesn’t mean it is grass fed. Organic meat can still be fed on grains – it’s just organic grains. This is great because you will avoid pesticides, but there will still be the issues associated with grain fed meats. Certified organic is also no guarantee of diversity in the pasture.

It Tastes Great!

It’s great to have healthy food to eat, but, we all also just want to have something that we enjoy the taste of, and this is what grass fed beef does.

I especially love that thin layer of fat on the outside of a sirloin steak, or the divine taste of a scotch fillet (my favourite). You will also notice the taste come out in a slow cooked beef stew, when you use a collagen rich cut like chuck steak.

The French refer to ‘terroir’, a set of environmental factors that affects the qualities and character of produce – like climate, soils, aspect etc. This is often referred to in relation to wine, but is increasingly being used when referring to other produce.  In the case of grass fed beef – the feed that the animal consumes has a big influence on taste.  This is why we graze our cows on diverse pastures and we say ‘you’ll love the taste difference’.

Conscious Choices means Better Health 

Red meat has gotten some amount of bad press recently when related to human health.  It’s a shame that things are simplified to this ‘black or white degree’ and there is no differentiation between whole red meat versus processed preservative containing meats, or how the animal was raised (grass fed versus grain fed), the style of cooking or the cuts of meats.  More of you are realising that we need to be more conscious in our choice of foods and we need to learn how to be more proactive about our own health. When I refer to the health benefits of grass fed beef – it’s obviously only useful when accompanied by other conscious eating. These choices, I know, will serve us well.

Aside from the health aspects there are lots of other wonderful benefits of grass feeding animals, when they are managed well.  They are a tool to heal and repair landscapes – something which can’t be done with animals in a pen.  Holistic Management International (HMI) educates people to be able to manage animals for these outcomes. These positive land outcomes are another reason we produce the way we do – but that’s a whole other story and HMI can teach you that story! Sign up for their newsletter today!



Fresh Local Food – in a Vending Machine

One of the challenges that farmers and ranchers continually face is making their food available to SLO_1205_221_LondieGPadelskycommunity residents.  To make things more convenient for their customers, Joshua Applestone and his wife Jessica, owners of Fleisher’s Organic and Grassfed Meats in Kingston, NY, installed two meat vending machines that dispense fresh, locally sourced burger patties, a variety of sausage, steaks and other beef cuts, and even pet food. The Applestones feel that this is the perfect way to make healthy, sustainable, local food available to more people at a reasonable price.  Check out the April issue of Modern Farmer to read more about the Applestones.

For those interested in providing their community with fresh, locally sourced, nutrient-dense food, be sure to check out HMI’s training programs, including our Getting Started Online Learning classes.

Getting Started Holistic Grazing Planning Course Results

HMI’s Online Learning Series Getting Started Holistic Grazing Planning course began in March 2016 with 33 participants from the United States, Canada, Iceland, Belgium, Ireland, Chile and New Zealand. This course focused on the key grazing planning principles and practices. Participants practiced the tools to hone in on such as critical grazing considerations, determining forage inventory, animal needs, and grazing and recovery periods before putting all these calculations into a written grazing plan.

Featured Participant:

Randy PistacchioRandy Pistacchio

“Holistic Grazing Planning was an excellent stepping stone off of the Whole Farm/Ranch Planning course I recently completed. The challenges of grazing on a small urban property are unique and the tools I gained will allow me to maximize the output of our land while increasing soil health and maintaining a happy healthy herd.  Also, as if I needed another excuse, monitoring paddock quality throughout the season will get me out on the land with my hands to the earth.”

Here’s the best things participant’s learned/experienced:

“I’m glad that the course explained the grazing chart to me. I’d tackled it a few years in a row, not knowing what parts of it meant.”

“I learned how to use the grazing planning sheets, how to plan for a time based drought reserve, how to plan based on most limiting and latest constraints and plan in time backwards.”

“The best things I learned were how to move the animals and not over work the land, to not create bare spots and keep the grasses at least 3 inches long, then 3 new leaves before returning.

“I learned about competitive grazing and leaving litter on the ground, I used to try to get rid of all of it and now I’m trying to save it.”

“The calculations were very helpful. Switching focus from grazing to recovery is very useful as well.”

“The most useful thing I learned was calculating and using ADA.”

“I learned to increase stocking density and utilize bale grazing more.”

Based on the survey responses, here are the changes that occurred:

Getting Started Holistic Grazing Planning Survey Results

Knowledge/Behavior and Confidence Increase            % Increase
Ability as a grazier 91%
Assessing recovery periods 97%
Assessing quantity of forage in a pasture 93%
Determining the number of animals your land can support for grazing 100%
Calculating the number of paddocks for your system 93%
Determining how long animals will stay in each paddock (residency rates/grazing periods) 89%
Intend to complete or modify a written grazing plan as a result of this course 100%

Getting Started Holistic Land Planning Course Results

HMI’s Online Learning Series Getting Started Holistic Land Planning course began in March 2016 with 14 participants from the United States, Guatemala, Ireland, Belgium, Finland and Iceland. This course focused on the key holistic land planning design principles and practices to allow participants to more effectively manage all their resources. This simple approach to land planning helped the participants explore key infrastructure/land improvement projects in the context of their whole farm/ranch goal to better analyze design possibilities for improved return on investment. Participants developed management consideration lists, land plan options and explored tool options and the return on investment of the different land planning options using the Holistic Management decision making framework and considering how such options will affect land productivity.

Featured Participant:

Holly DolderHolly Dolder

“The Holistic Management International Courses have opened my eyes to a new world of animal, land and business management.  Before HMI, I was a total novice to farming, farm animals and land management.  The once thought of short golf course beautiful pastures now bring a totally different feeling.  No longer is overworked, undernourished lands my envy.  Transforming our own little 10-acre paradise into a healthy well managed and planned out piece of heaven on earth has been made so much easier by the knowledge we have gained from these courses.  The instructors are fantastic and so helpful with excellent advice for each person either in class or one on one.  I believe anyone who wants to find a different way to see the business of farming, novice or expert, will find HMI is well worth the time spent to participate.”

Here’s the best things participant’s learned/experienced:

“I feel more confident evaluating animal rotational structures and their frequencies, as well as charging the land prior to planting. I plan to teach others the benefits, and aside from my own small demo plot, assist others in developing project proposals.”

“We now have a better understanding of the land and how to manage it.”

“The most useful thing I learned was communications with the planning team’s, alternative fencing and water layouts.”

“I would like to continue working with the processes for introducing HMI practices to the country in which I live.”

“The most useful thing I learned was looking at the land on map, then in written diagram then with overlays for changes.”

“I liked the holistic design principles and land testing exercises. Those will certainly be part of our planning system / thinking, because provide a very practical analysis.”

“The most useful thing I learned was concrete numbers and vocabulary for project proposals.”

Based on the survey responses, here are the changes that occurred:

Getting Started Holistic Land Planning Survey Results

Knowledge/Behavior and Confidence Increase            % Increase
Prioritizing land/infrastructure development/investments 91%
Assessing management considerations to guide land planning 97%
Incorporating natural resources issues on your farm into land planning 93%
How permaculture methods fit into Holistic Land Planning 100%
Complete or modify a written land plan as a result of the course 93%
To change management practices as a result of this course 100%




Improving Land Productivity in New Mexico

on the landsm 30 participants managing 14,030 acres participated in HMI’s Improving Land Productivity Series in Tucumcari, New Mexico. This 6-day series was taught by Holistic Management Certified Educator Kirk Gadzia, and holistic rancher Tom Sidwell provided on the ground application and information about how he is managing holistically at the JX Ranch outside of Tucumcari for 35 years. Tom has done a great job documenting his grazing planning and the results he’s achieved including the return of cool-season grasses coming back like western wheat grass.

The series covered holistic goal setting, on-ranch decision making, biological monitoring, grazing planning and land planning.  Participants had the opportunity to learn from each other as well as work individually on their plans, as well as more experiential learning out in the field with plant identification and forage assessment and inventorying.

grazing planningsmThis class was a diverse group of ranchers including members of the Mescalero and Navajo Nations, as well as ranchers who had Bureau of Land Management grazing leases. The operations ran from cow/calf to goats and chickens with a wide range of scale of operation as well as years of experience ranching. Particularly exciting was the inclusion of some younger producers fresh out of high school.

Thanks to the Thornburg Foundation for their generous support of this event. Thanks also to our sponsors the Southwest Quay Soil and Water Conservation District and Rocky Mountain Farmers Union Co-op Development Center. Lastly thanks to the Sidwells and JX Ranch Natural Beef for their support of this event.

Tom Sidwell

Tom Sidwell

Here’s what some of our participants had to say about what they valued most about the program:

  • The benefit of more cattle, less time grazing, smaller pastures.
  • Soil health range condition as it pertains to the whole picture
  • Cattle management and use of animal days of grazing
  • Test decision model, goal setting
  • Coverage of ground
  • Decision matrix
  • What good stewards the Sidwells are!
  • Very satisfied! Good mix of pasture info & cattle management
  • Learning how important roots are.
  • Learning how to have a grazing plan instead of a fly by the seat of your pants plan.
  • I intend to really do planned grazing, solidify holistic goal and go forward!
  • Great class. Loved all the interaction.
  • I learned to prioritize working capital
  • The big eye opener to me is how much can be accomplished with proper planning.
  • I learned a lot from all of the training! Very informative and can’t wait to apply these practices!
Outcomes % of participants
Your ability to identify needed systems and protocols to create a successful farm 82%
Increased ability in creating a whole farm/ranch goal 86%
More confident in your ability to make complex decisions on your farm as a result of today’s class 100%
Increased ability to monitor your farm’s/ranch’s ecosystem health 91%
Intend to change management practices as a result of the program 95%
Intend to complete biological monitoring as a result of the program 95%
The value of grazing planning 95%
Increased knowledge in assessing recovery periods 95%
Increased knowledge of how to assess quantity of forage in a pasture 81%
Increased knowledge of how to improve land health with livestock 90%
Increased knowledge of how to determine the number of animals your pasture can support 90%
Increased confidence in ability as a grazier 100%
Do you intend to complete or modify a written grazing plan as a result of today’s session? 100%
Increased knowledge of how to prioritize land/infrastructure development/investments 95%
Increased knowledge of design strategies that can build resilient, diversified farms 100%
Do you intend to complete or modify a written land plan as a result of today’s session? 100%


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JX Ranch Logo


RMFU CoopDevelopmentCenterSimple



Silver Screen Farm


by Stephanie von Anckenedit.11

On April 28th, 2016 HMI collaborated with the Albuquerque Academy Desert Oasis Teaching Garden to hold a free screening of Joel Salatin’s inspiring documentary, Polyfaces: A World of Many Choices.  A diverse audience of gardeners, students, agricultural producers, educators, parents and Holistic Management practitioners joined us at the Simms Auditorium to enjoy the film.

‘Polyfaces’ is about connecting land and community and working with nature and not against it.  The farm produces high quality, nutrient-dense products through the use of regenerative agricultural practices and Holistic Management.

The Salatin’s model of farming is being replicated throughout the world proving that we have the potential to provide quality produce without exhausting our natural resources and negatively affecting our environment.

After the film, HMI Executive Director, Ann Adams, lead a small Q&A session focusing on the importance of the decision-making process and noting that the entire audience of 49 people made a positive step towards a more sustainable and regenerative agricultural system by simply showing up to see the film and getting informed!

Thank you to everyone who joined us for this event! We look forward to working more with our local community here in Albuquerque and beyond!

Sponsored by:



DOT Garden logo


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Getting Started Introduction to Holistic Management Course Results

HMI’s Online Learning Series Getting Started Introduction to Holistic Management course began in March 2016 with 33 participants from the United States, Canada, Ecuador, Columbia, Iceland, England, Belgium, Ireland, Russia and Australia. This course focused on key Holistic Management planning concepts and principles to help participants manage their farm/ranch for the triple bottom line (social, environmental, and financial sustainability) and more effectively manage resources. Participants were excited to learn how to improve their ability to observe, understand, and make decisions based on what they can control. Through these new skills participants now have the knowledge and tools to improve their ability to work with nature and to increase productivity.


Featured Participants

Joe and Amy Unger

Joe Unger

“We will use the information gained from this course as we look at the whole picture before making decisions. We are more confident that we are making the best decision for our farm by using this framework. Now that we have a holistic goal we are able to keep on track with what we want to accomplish. We are looking forward to taking the additional online courses and believe that this will help us be better stewards of the land.”


Tim Karen

Tim and Karen Stevenson

“We loved taking the “Getting Started to Holistic Management Course”. It has given us tools and refined tools that we already had to make our place more ecology friendly and to help us understand our management system better. “





PatriFullSizeRenderck Jackson

“The introduction to holistic management course provided a method, served as the catalyst, and equipped me with the knowledge to assist my family in starting the long overdue process of holistic goal setting and farm planning.

We have already benefited from the enhanced communication required by the process and I’m confident that if we effectively apply the concepts of Holistic Management, we can ensure healthy land and a sustainable future.

I’ve already enrolled in my next HMI course and plan on participating in many more classes and events.”

Here’s the best things participant’s learned/experienced:

“An excellent course whether for farming, business outside of farming or life in general. A must-have in the tool-belt of life.”

“Very impressed and plan to participate in other courses.”

“I was very satisfied with the course. Larry did an excellent job and Julie was very helpful. Because of my experience with this course, I will enroll in more HMI classes.”

“I loved the course! I would love to take another one!”

“I would recommend it to anyone wanting to approach Holistic Management.”

“Very well organized and makes me want to find out more about HM”

“Very good foundation. Thorough and focused. The webinar and course platform (canvas & adobe) were easy to use and a helpful guide through the modules. Particularly liked that webinar option to speak or message without interruptions there was sense of connection with everyone, Larry was a great facilitator of the material and comments.”

“The most useful things throughout the whole course have been that there is a rational, understandable, logical approach to ranching. Love the concept of “wholes” as it explains a lot of things in life and ranching!”

“Looking at our farm as a whole rather than piecemeal. It seems invaluable to link this in with your holistic goal, therefore making sure we are always travelling in the right direction.”

“ [The]process of creating and documenting a holistic goal. the decision questions and process is also very helpful.”

“The course gave me mission critical questions to ask and a system to house the decision-making processes in which we engage.”

“To be conscious of the mineral cycle and to do formal a formal assessment of the land.”

“I have a better idea how to use the decision making framework.”

“Setting goals and learning a better understanding of the ecosystem!”

“Understanding the ecosystem as a whole!”

Based on the survey responses, here are the changes that occurred:

Getting Started Introduction to Holistic Management Whole Farm/Ranch Planning Course Survey Results

Knowledge/Behavior and Confidence Increase            % Increase
Your ability to define your management team after session 100%
How to inventory your farms resources after session 100%
Your ability to develop a whole farm goal after session 97%
Your ability to identify needed systems and protocols to create a successful farm after session 100%
Ability to integrate social, economic, and environmental factors into your decisions after session 93%
Your ability to make complex on-farm or ranch decisions after session 87%
Your ability to assess ecosystem health after session 90%
Overall satisfaction with the instructor’s effectiveness 100%