What’s in it for You?

 

A blogMassachusetts Beginning Women Farmer field day at Natick Farm, written by Scott Morrison from The Nature Conservancy addresses a very important question that we deal  with every day: ‘What’s in it for me?’  At HMI, our programs help communities grow and thrive by educating family farmers and ranchers in regenerative agricultural practices that empower them.  As a farmer or a rancher, that premise may intrigue you.  But as a consumer, you may be asking why you should care. ‘What’s in it for me?’ 

The quick answer is healthier food, improved wildlife habitats, and a cleaner, more sustainable environment. The much longer answer is that Holistic Management® helps farmers and ranchers produce fresher, healthier foods with fewer preservatives.  Holistic Management also helps heal soil that has been damaged from overuse and pesticides.  In turn, that healed soil helps in removing more CO2 from the environment, increases water absorption, (key in drought-stricken areas), and helps to create more sustainable communities.

Like it or not, if you eat food, you’re part of the agricultural ecosystem.

Why not help to make it a better one?

For more information on HMI’s programs, or to make a donation, please visit our website today.

 

 

Carbon Farming To the Rescue of a Hot Planet

org.5Modern Farmer had a recent article about how regenerative agriculture that sequesters carbon in the soil, also known as carbon farming, is becoming more widely known as a tool to address climate change. Holistic Management practitioners like Gabe Brown and Joel Salatin were specifically noted as practicing carbon farming techniques. While other countries are offering carbon credits to farmers who can prove they have sequestered carbon, for many farmers, the reward for increased carbon is improved soil productivity and resilience to drought.

The 5 tenets of carbon farming were listed as:

  1. No-till
  2. Organic Mulch
  3. Compost
  4. Livestock Rotation
  5. Cover Crops

To learn more about how to practice Holistic Planned Grazing, download for free our Holistic Planned Grazing e-book.

California Whole Ranch Planning Program Results

group photoOn March 30-31st, HMI collaborated with the Alameda County Conservation Partnership and UC Cooperative Extension to offer a Holistic Management Whole Ranch Planning workshop in Livermore, California.

This introductory course was geared towards beginning ranchers looking to learn key whole ranch planning concepts and principles to help them manage their ranch for the triple bottom line (social, environmental, and financial sustainability), alongside more effectively managing their human, financial, and natural resources. Instructors included Certified Educator Rob Rutherford, Doniga Markegard of Markegard Family Grassfed, and Sheila Barry, a University of California Extension Livestock Advisor. The focus of this program was predominantly on learning the four ecosystem processes, management inventory development, sustainable decision making, grazing management strategies and tools associated with wildlife habitat.

The 11 participants that completed post-program surveys managed 13, 960 acres combined. There was a 100% satisfaction rating with the course and there was interest expressed in learning more about Holistic Management.

Here are some of the key outcomes from the day:

Knowledge/Behavior Change % of participants
Ability to develop a whole farm/ranch goal 82%
Ability to integrate social, economic, and environmental factors into your decisions 82%
Ability to make complex on-farm/ranch decisions 73%
How different tools effect ecosystem processes on your farm/ranch 82%
Have or intend to use decision testing techniques to inform ranch operations 100%
Have or intend to create plan for grazing and implement plan 100%

 

California Farmers and Ranchers Learn Holistic Management

HMI’s Whole Farm/Ranch Land Management Course took place in Willits, CA in February and March of 2016.

The series of three 2-day workshopWillitsMonitorings took place at the Grange Farm School in cooperation with the Ridgewood Ranch in Willits, California. Long-time Holistic Management Certified Educator Richard King was the instructor. The classes were attended by a diverse group of land managers. 52 percent of participants were cattle raisers, followed by chickens (38%), pigs (24%) sheep (34%) and goats (34%).  38 percent of class participants grew vegetables, 21 percent fruit, and 10 percent flowers.

The series of workshops included an Introduction to the Holistic Management framework for decision-making, Biological Monitoring, Planned Grazing, and Land Planning.

In the Biological Monitoring class, participants learned a variety of monitoring techniques to determine whether planning decisions were moving them toward the future landscape described in their holistic goal.

In the PlanneWillitsLandPlanningClassd Grazing workshop, everyone learned comprehensive grazing planning and how to use the planning chart.  Animal days per acre was taught outdoors in a rainstorm, but everyone seemed to enjoy the experience.

The Land Planning workshop focused on covering the processes described in the Holistic Management Handbook.  Holistic Management worksheets were emphasized as a way to help develop an ideal land plan.  The importance and techniques of brainstorming when creating the ideal land plan were covered as well.

In the end, the participants learned a great deal about managing their own unique situations with more ease, so that they could become more successful.

Here are some of the participant comments:

  • I will finally have a way to measure our progress in improving the land.
  • I learned the difference between annuals & perennials and the importance of monitoring. Also I learned that monitoring soil carbon is very important.
  • I liked the outdoor activities and small group work. Videos are a great tool.
  • I am very happy with this course.
  • It was really very good.
  • Most useful training in assessing amount of forage in a pasture, quality of feed and type of feed, what to look for in manure piles, how to create a plan and monitor that plan.
  • The whole discussion of rotation, timing, assessment and management was pertinent and very useful.
  • The financial considerations were good & the brainstorming was enlightening.

Here are some of the results of the training:

Session 1 – Holistic Biological Monitoring – Results

%

Your ability to monitor your farm’s/ranch’s ecosystem health

100%

Understanding the indicators of a healthy farm/ranch ecosystem

96%

Ability to develop a whole farm/ranch goal

96%

Ability to identify needed systems and protocols to create a successful farm

92%

Ability to integrate social, economic, and environmental factors into decisions

92%

Session 2 – Holistic Land Planning – Results

%

Ability to prioritize land or infrastructure improvements on your farm

100%

Intend to complete or modify a written land plan

100%

Understanding design strategies that can build resilient, diversified farm

87%

How to incorporate natural resources issues into your land planning

87%

Ability to incorporate farm natural resources issues into your land planning

87%

Session 3 – Holistic Grazing Planning – Results

%

Ability to assess recovery periods

100%

Ability to determine grazing periods

100%

Overall excellent rating of course & instructor

98%

Ability to determine the number of animals your land can support for grazing

96%

Ability to assess quantity of forage in a pasture

96%

A special thank you to Sallie Calhoun and The Christiano Family Fund and The 11th Hour Project for their generous contributions which made this training possible.  We’d also like to thank our collaborator – The Grange Farm School, as well as The Farmers Guild, and the Mendocino County Resource Conservation District, who helped with outreach and promotion.

 

 

 

Wanted: Holistic Mentors

mentorIf you are an established rancher or farmer with at least five years of experience in regenerative agriculture, and you love teaching others about your work, consider applying to become a mentor for the New Agrarian Program! The Quivira Coalition is expanding their mentoring program, and they have just a couple new mentor slots left. They are especially interested in ranching operations that practice Holistic Management or similar land management practices in New Mexico, Colorado, or Arizona. For more information about becoming a mentor, visit the mentor page on the Quivira website, or contact Virginie . Application deadline is May 15th.

Oregon Whole Farm/Ranch Land Management Series Results

Oregon WFRLM 201624 farmers and ranchers participated in HMI’s Improving Land Productivity series, which ran through March and early April at the Jackson Soil & Water Conservation District in Central Point, Oregon. Instructors were Certified Educator Rob Rutherford and Certified Educator trainee, Angela Boudro.

These participants, who manage 3546 acres of land, engaged in HMI’s experiential curriculum to learn and experience holistic goal setting, on-farm decision testing, ecosystem analysis, biological monitoring, grazing planning, and land planning. Participants noted 92% satisfaction in the course and instructors.

Oregon WFRLM 2016 classHere’s what some of the participants had to say about the course:

“I plan to utilize the testing framework to avoid costly mistakes.”

“I came for the fish – I learned to fish.”

“I gained increased knowledge of how to complete a correct grazing plan.”

“The most important thing I learned was estimating grazing & recovery periods for multiple herds.”

Here’s what the evaluations showed:

Outcomes % of participants
Increased ability in creating a whole farm/ranch goal 100%
Increased ability to make complex decisions on your farm as a result of today’s class 91%
Increased ability to monitor your farm’s/ranch’s ecosystem health 100%
Increased knowledge in assessing recovery periods 88%
Increased knowledge of how to assess quantity of forage in a pasture 81%
Increased knowledge of how to improve land health with livestock 81%
Increased knowledge of how to determine the number of animals your pasture can support 88%
Intend to change any management practices as a result of this session? 93%
Increased knowledge of how to prioritize land/infrastructure development/investments 94%
Increased knowledge of design strategies that can build resilient, diversified farms 85%

Thanks to our collaborators, Jackson Soil and Water Conservation District and Oregon State University Extension Services.

Whole Farm Ranch Business Planning Course a Success in Colorado

HMI’s Whole Farm/Ranch Business Planning Training course wrapped up in March of 2016.  WFBOMONFinancialPlanningSession1Classes took place in Montrose, Colorado. The training classes were taught by Holistic Management Certified Educator Cindy Dvergsten.

According to Cindy, the class was diversified, with both beginning farmers and 5th generation ranchers attending. Operations were diversified as well, with cow-calf operations, a goat dairy, a quail farm, and a dude ranch just some of the enterprises run by class participants.

The first class covered the basics of Holistic Management, including Defining the Whole, Creating the Holistic Goal, Testing Decisions, Ecosystem Processes, Management Tools, Time Management and Leadership and Communication.

In the second session, the Marketing and Business Planning module was presented.

The final session was Financial Planning, with students using a number of worksheets to gain clarity about the contribution of each of their enterprises to the whole and to create a complete financial plan for their own operation.

Here are some participant comments:

“Every day I appreciate this course even more.  I really benefited from learning about budgeting and making financial decisions that honor my values.”

 “I spent an evening with my 7 and 9 year old sons talking about cows and hay. This is the first time I ever included them in discussions about what is important to them and their perspective of the ranch.  We were having so much fun that we went past their bedtime and my wife made us quit.”

“My God, what have I been doing all these years? I was just winging it with the marketing. Now I have a business modelthat will focus on what really works for us and we can let go of marketing that does not provide results.”

“This course has helped me put all to pieces together.  I realize now that I have more than one market in my business model (as a ranch manager) in that my landlord needs to be considered as a customer”.

“Setting the holistic goal and learning how to work with my family will make a big difference in helping me figure out how to keep our ranch in the family.”

 “Learning about the tools of management and making my tool box inventory is helping me focus on putting time and money into the right places.”

“I appreciate the in-depth knowledge and experiences you have to share with us about land management, agricultural businesses and holistic management.”WFBOMONFinancialPlanning2

 

Here are some of the results:

Session 1 – Introduction to Holistic Management – Results

%

Assessing how time is spent on your farm

 100%

Increased ability to use the whole farm goal to guide communication on your farm

 100%

Increased ability to develop a written whole farm/ranch goal

 100%

More confidence in delineating farm resources for management

 100%

Increased ability to define your management team for effective management

 94%

More confidence in communicating with decision makers

 94%

 

Session 2- Marketing and Business Planning – Results

%

Your ability to develop a business model for your farm/ranch

 100%

Intention to complete or modify a marketing and business plan as a result of today’s session

 100%

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

 93%

How to effectively promote your products/services

 87%

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

 83%

How to define your target market

 80%

 

Session 3 – Financial Planning – Results

%

Improved skills in developing a whole farm financial plan

 100%

Increased ability to assess the cash flow of your plan

 100%

Intention to complete or modify a financial plan for your farm

 100%

Considered the course to be good or excellent

 100%

Increased ability to increase your farm’s rough net worth (balance sheet)

 93%

Increased ability to prioritize and cut expenses on your farm

 93%

Increased ability to get the profit you need from your farm

 87%

HMI would like to thank Valley Food Partnership for their support of this program, as well as Mountain Roots Food Project. Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, National Young Farmers Coalition, and Indian Ridge Farm and Bakery for their assistance in outreach and promotion of this training.

 

 

 

‘Get Down to Business’ in Oklahoma Wraps Up

‘Get Down to Business in Oklahoma,’ part of HMI’s Whole Farm/Ranch Business Planning Series wrapped up this past February.  The three 2-day workshops took place at the John E. Kirkpatrick Horticulture Center at OSU – Oklahoma City.  Designed to focus on the business side of farming and ranching, students were introduced to a variety of topics, including goal setting, decision testing, time management, leadership and communication, financial planning, marketing and business plan creation.

About 80% of the class were already farming or ranching, with the majority raising cattle.

CeWFRBPOK16-FinancialPlanningKatrtified Educator Tracy Ltile was the lead instructor, with assistance provided by Julie Gahn.  Other Certified Educators-in-Training also participated in the workshops, and included Lauri Celella, Katherine Ottmers, and CD Pounds.

Each of the sessions were designed for both small and large group discussions, so participants were able to benefit from the experiences of their fellow participants.

The first session provided participants with an introduction to the Holistic Management framework, as well as how to create a holistic goal.  They were also introduceWFRBPOK16-SortingExpensesd to time management tools that were designed to improve farm/ranch efficiency.

The second session focused on Holistic Financial Planning, with participants learning the importance of using gross profit analysis to evaluate each enterprise.  They were shown how planning for profit will allow them to put a cap on expenses, while providing more opportunities to invest back into their farm or ranch business.

The last session focused on marketing, production, and management, with participants attending a Farmers Market in order to analyze marketing and promotion.  Participants were also able to develop SMART goals regarding their business and marketing planning. 

Here are some participant comments:

  • The most useful part of the first class was linking values to the holistic goal, and the importance of including personal and family time in time management.
  • I intend to move all our practices toward supporting our holistic goal.
  • We will incorporate more planning and forethought.
  • These two days were very helpful. I feel that I learned the system and I’m ready to go home, pull our information together, set up this year, and have a system that we use from here out.
  • I thought it was a good mix of lecture, student work & interaction, plus one-on-one with instructors as needed.
  • I intend to change my process to determining profit upfront and capping expenses
  • We are going to develop intentional practices of planning and monitoring our actions related to our business.

Here are some of the results:

Introduction to Holistic Management

%

More confidence in developing written whole farm goal

 90%

More confidence in communicating with decision makers

 76%

Increased understanding of the ways to effectively manage time on your farm

 76%

Increased ability to define your management team for effective management

 75%

Better processes to assess how your time is spent on your farm

 76%

More confidence in identifying systems and protocols for your farm

76%

 

Financial Planning

%

Increased ability to determine your farm’s rough net worth

 100%

Skill in determining viable profitable enterprises for your farm

 100%

Skill in determining your farm’s projected revenue

 100%

Skill in developing a whole farm financial plan

 100%

Getting the profit you need from your farm

 100%

Skill in prioritizing and cutting farm expenses to guide reinvestment in your farm

 95%

 

Marketing/Business Planning

%

How to write a SWOT analysis for your farm/ranch

 100%

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

 100%

Developing a marketing plan that meets your farm needs and goals

 100%

Promoting your farm products

 93%

Increased ability to develop a business plan for your farm/ranch

 93%

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

 93%

A special thanks goes out to our program collaborator: Oklahoma Farmers and Ranchers Association.

Whole Farm/Ranch Business Planning a Success in Texas

WFRBPNT2016-2A diverse group of participants attended Holistic Management International’s Whole Farm/Ranch Business Planning Series, which took place January – March 2016.   This Whole/Farm Ranch Business Planning course took place in Henrietta, Texas with classes taught by Holistic Management Certified Educator Peggy Sechrist and Certified Educator Trainee Deborah Clark.

Participants were running a diverse selection of enterprises, including cattle, vegetables/produce, sheep, poultry, with a few enjoying bees, goats and fruit as well.  Most of the participants had limited exposure to Holistic Business Planning and said they were there to create a working plan for their farm or ranch business.

The first workshop began with participants creating a whole farm inventory.  Defining this inventory helped them create their Holistic Goal.  A decision-making matrix was introduced, along with steps toward a time management plan.

The second workshop focused on Holistic Financial Planning, teaching the participants how to plan for profit, how to assess net worth and increWFRBPNT2016ase it, how to assess the financial value of each enterprise, how to locate the weakest link in every enterprise and reinvest in the business by addressing any logjams, adverse factors and those weak links.  Participants also created a gross profit analysis for each enterprise, as well as a complete financial plan.

The final workshop allowed participants to explore all the aspects of creating a marketing plan, including products, pricing, and placement. Participants were also tasked with creating both a marketing plan and a business plan.

Here is what some of the participants had to say about the the Whole Farm/Ranch Business Planning Series:

  • The instructors were terrific! Their discussions and experiences are invaluable tools for me as I plan my farm. Thank you!
  • I enjoyed learning to identify the major top priority investments that will lead to resolving logjams, increasing net worth, and move toward my holistic goal.
  • I intend to become more organized and act with more intent on a more long-term vision.
  • I intend to use better communication to effect change.
  • The most useful thing I learned is how to write a holistic goal and methods for more effective time management.

Here are some of the results:

 Session 1 – Results

%

Increased ability to integrate social, economic, and environmental factors into your decision making

 100%

Increased conflict resolution skills on the farm/ranch

 100%

Increased ability to use your whole farm/ranch goal to guide communication on your farm/ranch

 100%

Increased understanding of the seasonal time flow/demands for your far

 89%

Increased ability to develop a whole farm/ranch goal

 89%

Session 2

%

Increased ability to determine your farm’s rough net worth (balance sheet)

 100%

Improved skills in developing a whole farm financial plan

 100%

Increased ability to assess the cash flow of your plan

 100%

Increased ability to determine viable profitable enterprises for your farm

 91%

Increased ability to get the profit you need from your farm

 91%

 

Session 3

%

Your ability to develop a business plan for your farm/ranch

 100%

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

 100%

Intention to complete or modify a marketing and business plan

 100%

Overall Satisfaction of the course and the instructors (good to excellent)

 100%

How to define your target market

 82%

This training was made possible by a generous contribution from the Henrietta and Clay County Chamber of Commerce.  We’d also like to thank our collaborator; Birdwell & Clark Ranch.

 

 

 

Soil Samples Are Dirt Cheap

ImageWorld-renowned soil consultant Neal Kinsey of Kinsey Ag Services has just agreed to offer 10% off all his soil sample services for a limited time to the Holistic Management network.

If you’re wondering if soil samples are really worth the investment, take a look at these testimonials:

“Neal, your program has not only made me tens of thousands of dollars; it has saved me tens of thousands of dollars. ….It’s not just the tonnage; it’s the quality of the almond. The kernel is huge, plump and solid (a tenth of a gram per kernel more in weight is money in the bank). Here are the figures:

  • 2004…..782lbs/acre (First year soil test with all recommendations applied in November after harvest)
  • 2005…..2034
  • 2006…..2442
  • 2007……3887
–Mike Ebert, California

“Neal, my wheat and canola crops this year are the best I’ve ever grown. By following and implementing your recommendations, I feel my yields have increased by 50% for wheat and 25% for canola. A great achievement. Many thanks.”

Paul Mason, Australia

“We applied all the recommended trace elements… Had extremely good results. Best grass ever… in spite of a lousy growing season – very hot and extended drought. We were the only people in the area who didn’t have to feed hay in July / August.”

Frank Bostwick, Arkansas

The standard analysis, which includes B, Fe, Mn, Cu, & Zn), is $50/sample. For a complete soil analysis, which includes the standard analysis plus salts, chlorides, cobalt and molybdenum, the cost is $90/sample.   To download the Soil Worksheet to accompany samples, click here.

To receive the discounted soil samples, send an email to [email protected] with the subject heading: 10% off soil sample IP 2016 offer. This offer is only good through July 15, 2016.