Getting Started Online Learning Series


Create the Farm or Ranch of Your Dreams with our Getting Started Online Learning Series

Why online learning from HMI?

HMI has been helping farmers, ranchers and land stewards develop and manage sustainable, profitable enterprises for thirty years. We accomplish Register Button Green Largethis by teaching Holistic Management Whole Farm /Ranch Planning, which addresses the environmental, economic, and social issues farmers and ranchers face today.

Whether you are a beginning farmer or a rancher with years of conventional agricultural experience, you’ll benefit from this series. Holistic Management is an effective, adaptive system built upon a value-based decision making process that has proven to be effective regardless of production focus or geography. Graziers with thousands of acres, as well as vegetable farmers with less than an acre, have all reaped the benefits of practicing Holistic Management. You can too.

"I am so glad to have done this course. My wife and I are planning to go farming very soon and it has helped us articulate and consider our resources and ideas in a really clear and structured way. We also really like how the processes encourage creativity, and respect for our ecosystem and our community." - Neil Johnson, Great Britain

“I am so glad to have done this course. My wife and I are planning to go farming very soon and it has helped us articulate and consider our resources and ideas in a really clear and structured way. We also really like how the processes encourage creativity, and respect for our ecosystem and our community.” – Neil Johnson, Great Britain

Now you can learn Holistic Management from anywhere in the world. Our innovative Getting Started Online Series will teach you the skills you need to build the farm or ranch of your dreams.  The series consists of five individual courses.

If you’re interested in a more comprehensive learning experience, you might consider our Individualized Distance Learning program. It offers more intensive personalized experience.

How Online Education Works

You’ll learn from the most qualified instructors in Holistic Management without having to drive for hours to take a workshop. Our course takes place over the span of several weeks, allowing you to apply what you’ve learned and receive feedback and support from your instructor and fellow students.

“This course answered my questions perfectly and I’m confident that I now have the knowledge to start a sustainable cow/calf operation on my small acreage.”- John Mayer, USA

Each course in the series is seven weeks. You should plan on about 2 – 4 hours each week participating in the webinars and completing the assignments. While the webinars are scheduled at a particular time, you’ll be able to complete the assignments at any time during the week. Don’t worry if you miss a webinar, we’ll be recording them and you can view it before the next scheduled webinar. Assignments may include watching videos, reading, and written exercises.

Ease of communication between your instructors and the rest of your class will give you a sense of camaraderie. You are encouraged to contribute to class discussions (either on the webinar or online forum). You can build relationships with other students from across the country, and maybe even the world.

With real-time audio, video and whiteboard capabilities our learning environment allows you to stay connected for a more engaging learning experience. You’ll also receive a FREE one-year introductory electronic subscription to IN PRACTICE and a certificate upon completion of the course.

Technology /Language Requirements

  • Computer (PC or Mac are fine)
  • Reliable high-speed internet access
  • Internet browser (Explorer, Chrome, Firefox, or Safari will do)
  • Microsoft Word and Excel
  • Telephone (cell or land line) OR Microphone
  • E-mail address
  • All classes are taught in English

Financial Assistance

HMI is pleased to announce that our Holistic Grazing Planning and Holistic Financial Planning courses, as well as a number of our other courses qualify for FSA Borrower Training Credit. Find out More.
All our Getting Started courses are eligible for the  HMI Terry Gompert Memorial Scholarship. Find Out More.
If you are a qualified beginning farmer/rancher and a Nebraska resident, you may receive a one-time Nebraska state income tax credit (up to $500) for completing Getting Started  Introduction to Holistic Management Whole Farm/Ranch Planning AND Getting Stared Holistic Financial Planning  See the Next Gen website for details and an application.

Our Five Getting Started Courses


Introduction to Holistic Management® Whole Farm/Ranch Planning

This course focuses on key Holistic Management planning concepts and principles to help you manage your farm/ranch for the triple bottom line (social, environmental, and financial sustainability) and more effectively manage resources. Learn how to improve your ability to observe, understand, and make decisions, based on what you can control. Through these new skills you can improve your ability to work with nature and to increase your productivity

Fee: $199, Register Now 
Scholarship Deadline: September 26, 2016
Registration Deadline: October 5, 2016
Instructor: Holistic Management Certified Educator, Phil Metzger

Eight principles and practices for effective resource management You’ll develop a whole farm (Holistic) Goal which clearly articulates the vision for your farm/ranch, the organizational structure, and the resources available.October 5, 2016
Goal Setting for effective decision-making, planning, and managementIncorporate a triple bottom line analysis filter to help you make decisions more effectively (particularly in a group setting or where there are conflicts around key issues)October 12, 2016
Management InventoryOctober 19, 2016
Four ecosystem processes & how to work with themOctober 26, 2016
Seven testing questions for prioritizing actionsNovember 2, 2016
Tool basics & their influence on ecosystem processesNovember 9, 2016
1:00 - 2:00 pm mountain time


Holistic Grazing Planning

This course provides key grazing planning principles and practices. This simple approach to grazing planning will help you hone in on critical grazing considerations, determine forage inventory, animal needs, and grazing and recovery periods before putting all these calculations into a written grazing plan.

Fee: $199, CLOSED
Scholarship Deadline: March 4, 2016
Registration Deadline: March 11, 2016
Instructor: Holistic Management Certified Educator, Ralph Tate 

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Key management considerations You’ll develop a grazing plan which will consist of a grazing map and grazing chart that identifies key management issues, estimated forage production, actual forage utilization, and livestock moves to maximize forage production and animal performancetbd
Identification & mapping of grazing areas
Regenerative grazing principles
Animal carrying capacity and herd makeup
Plant recovery periods and grazing periods
Written planning to maximize productivity and profitability
Implementing and monitoring a grazing plan
Feed needs for grazing and non-grazing periods
Grazing plans that work with Nature
Basics of using animal behavior with grazing


Holistic Financial Planning

This course provides key financial principles that help you learn how to work on your business, not just in your business. This simple approach to financial planning will help you understand the big picture view as well as make critical production decisions based on a clear sense of cost of production for different enterprises. You will develop a financial plan and identify ways to implement and monitor that plan. You’ll learn the key economic analysis tools for improved financial decisions for both annual budgets and for long-term investment.

Fee: $199, Register Now
Scholarship Deadline: September 26, 2016
Registration Deadline: October 12, 2016
Instructor: Holistic Management Certified Educator, Larry Dyer

Distinguishing between financial planning, managing, and accountingYou’ll develop a financial plan which will consist of a yearly cash/flow, determination of current net worth and projected net worth at year end, enterprise analysis for one enterprise, expense and investment allocation strategies and a determination of return on investmentOctober 12, 2016
Benefits of a holistic approach to financesOctober 19, 2016
Integrating financial decisions with your whole farm or ranch goalOctober 26, 2016
Prioritizing expenses to achieve your goalNovember 2, 2016
Planning for profitNovember 9, 2016
Improving profitability with enterprise analysisNovember 16, 2016
Analyzing net worth and tracking progress
Writing plans to maximize profitability
Creativity in planning and marketing10:00 - 11:00 am mountain time


Holistic Land Planning

This course provides key holistic land planning design principles and practices to allow you to more effectively manage all your resources. This simple approach to land planning will help you explore key infrastructure/land improvement projects in the context of your whole farm/ranch goal to better analyze design possibilities for improved return on investment. You’ll develop management consideration lists, land plan options and explore 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.

Fee: $199, CLOSED
Scholarship Deadline: March 8, 2016
Registration Deadline: March 8, 2016
Instructor: Holistic Management Certified Educator, Phil Metzger

**sign up for our free e-newsletter for upcoming courses

Mapping a future landscape descriptionYour land planning documents will consist of a land planning map that denotes current key infrastructure, as well as overlays of potential infrastructure/land development to invest in, a completed Key Land Planning Issues Worksheet to help you prioritize options, and a determination of return on investment for one land planning investment option. You’ll hear about a variety of examples and stories of how this process has helped countless farmers and ranchers to create profit through careful investment in their businesses. You’ll also get questions answered about potential land planning investments you are considering.tbd
Defining key natural resource, production and social issues
Designing for resilience and flexibility
Increasing creativity in the design process
Effective producer resource base use in land planning
Holistic and permaculture design principles
Strategizing land planning implementation
Land plan monitoring to overcome roadblocks and achieve the desired results
Financing your land plan
Integrating a whole farm goal and land plan with other farm plans
Preparing maps and overlays


Our Instructors

Our instructors are knowledgeable, accessible, and approachable. Our lead instructors are Holistic Management

Certified Educators. Many of them farm or ranch themselves, and all have a proven track record teaching practical skills you can really use. Holistic Management Certified Educators go through a rigorous training program and are dedicated to maintaining the highest professional standards. You can rest assured knowing your teacher will be there for you.


Ann Adams,  Holistic Management Certified Educator & Director of Programs, HMI

HMI Healthly Land, Sustainable Future, Ann Adams, Director of EducationA Holistic Management Certified Educator since 1998, Ann was instrumental in designing and implementing the USDA funded Beginning Women Farmers & Ranchers Program, our Open Gate On-Farm program and our Ag Educators Professional Development Program. Ann regularly teaches both onsite and distance learning classes and offers consulting in Holistic Management for family farms and ranchers with a particular focus on goal setting facilitation and financial planning. Ann has also written countless articles on Holistic Management, and has helped to develop agriculture-based software for financial planning and grazing planning for farmers and ranchers. Ann is the author of “At Home with Holistic Management” and is the Managing Editor of HMI’s “In PRACTICE” journal.

Larry DyerLarry Dyer, Holistic Management Certified Educator

Larry is interested in Organic Agriculture, four-season farming, hoop house (passive solar greenhouse) management, ecological pest management, whole farm planning, local community-based food systems

Ralph Tate, Holistic Management Certified Educator

RRalph-Tate.crop;jpgalph became a Certified Educator in 2010 and has a passion for teaching Intro, Financial Planning, Grazing Planning, and Biological Monitoring. he developed a software version of the grazing plan and enjoys helping stockmen learn how to use the tool.

Calley Hastings, Holistic Management Certified Educator

Calley grew up in rural Vermont on her family’s homestead. She spent time in college working on an environmental project in the Brazilian rainforest and later majored in Environmental Studies with a focus on Education and Sustainable Agriculture at The University of Vermont. In 2007, she started a goat dairy called Fat Toad Farm, with her family that produces farmstead goat’s milk caramel that is sold at specialty food stores nation-wide. In addition to her own farm, Calley has been involved in agricultural education for the past 10 years and now works as a farm consultant and as a Certified Educator for Holistic Management.

Phil Metzger, Holistic Management Certified Educator

Phil Metzger is a natural resources development consultant having recently retired from a 32-year career as a resource conservationist for the USDA – Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). He has extensive experience working with an array of public, private and non-profit partners in natural resources conservation and rural economic development. He instructs on various topics including: farm/personal/business/organization goal setting, customer service, resource delineation, improved decision making, financial/business/land/grazing planning, biological monitoring, and reading the land. He is a Certified Educator in Holistic Management, currently serving as an instructor for the Beginning Women Farmer program.


Classes require a minimum of 10 and are restricted to a maximum of 25 participants. Cancellations received before or within 7 days after the course begins will receive an 80% refund. No refunds will be given otherwise. This policy is required due to financial obligations incurred by HMI in planning these courses. We appreciate your understanding.

Wondering about the results our courses achieve and the impact they make on our students? Find out.

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