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 workshops 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, with 52 percent cattle raisers, followed by chickens (38%), pigs (24%) sheep (34%) and goats (34%) rounding out the livestock. 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 Planned 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. Some of the HMI worksheets were emphasized as a way to help develop an ideal land plan. The importance and techniques of brainstorming possibilities for the ideal land plan was 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.
Outcome: % of Respondents
Session 1 – Holistic Biological Monitoring
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 integratesocial, economic, and environmental factors into decisions – 92%
Session 2 – Holistic Land Planning
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
Ability to assess recovery periods – 100%
Ability to determine grazing periods – 100%
Overall excellent rating of course & instructor – 98%
Ability to assess quantity of forage in a pasture – 96%
Ability to to determine the number of paddocks -91%