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.
In 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.
This 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.
HMI 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.
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|Determine plant health & recovery||92%|
|Improve Wildlife/pollinator habitat||92%|
|The value of enterprise analysis||85%|
|Improve Ranch Profitability||77%|
|Effective Marketing Strategies||77%|
|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 event||91%|
|Intend to change any management practices/apply ideas you learned at this event||82%|
|Expand your network today be meeting new people or learning about resources available to you?||100%|
|Overall Satisfaction (Rated good to excellent)||100%|