Our friends from Canada just held their annual conference. Here’s from up north….
About 150 people attended our annual conference at Manitou Beach near Watrous, Sask. The conference started at 8 am Sunday morning. The first session focused on reviewing the mission statement of Holistic Management Canada. This session was led by David Irvine. We had expected about 20 or 30 people to attend this session. We were pleasantly surprised when we started with over 40 people & ended the session with over 70 people. David did a masterful job of leading the session. A wide diversity of people were present. Some were brand new to Holistic Management while others had a 30 year association with it. There was a lot of excellent input. The end result was that 2 committees were set up. One will review our mission statement. The second one will plan how we can move ahead more effectively. The end result of this session is that H M Canada will have a clearer direction. We will be more focused & effective.
Our evening session was a keynote address by David Irvine. David gave us 2 tasks for a successful life. These are individuation (growing up) & connection (having relationships). David spoke of having an integrated life which is having a balance between individuation & connection.
David then described an integrated family business. He gave us 4 main points:
- People have their own goals & are supported by each other to achieve those goals.
- Caring – without the attempt to save people from their unhappiness.
- Concern without worry.
- There is a deep respect for the individual journey – without compromising yourself.
David’s talk ended with the 4 seasons to life or a family business. These 4 are: dependence, growing up, partnership & letting go. David was well received & gave a very powerful message. This short summary does not do justice to David’s presentation. You needed to be there to get the message.
Following David’s talk there was time to socialize. An enjoyable time was had by all.
Monday morning began with another address from David. He talked about how to improve communication. He also touched on conflict resolution & how to deal with anger. David gave us a definition of maturity:
- The ability to do a job whether or not you are supervised.
- Finish a job once you start it.
- Carry money without spending it.
- Be able to bear an injustice without wanting to get even.
David ended his presentation by pointing out that we are all leaders. He then gave some traits of a leader: takes responsibility, contributes, builds up, talks about solutions, shows loyalty, mastery, rights wrongs, the courage to let go, discomfort is seen as an opportunity & gratitude.
David is an excellent speaker. Everyone was touched & learned valuable lessons for life.
Our next session was a producer panel. We had 3 families present: Allen & Arlette Seib, Sam & Janeen Covlin & Richard & Sue DeBruijn. Each couple spoke of their own business. The producer panel is always one of the highlights of our conference. It is real people sharing their journey. Arlette talked about their sheep operation. It was very interesting & informative. Arlette has a web site ranching-with-sheep.com Sam & Janeen shared their story of direct marketing grass-fed beef, pastured pork, pastured chicken, free-range turkey, free-range duck & goose, pastured free-range eggs & grass-fed raw pet food. They have their own abattoir. Their web site is coolspringsranching.ca Richard & Sue shared their story which included moving from Ponoka, Alta. to Stump Lake, Sask. The move included giving up 2 good off-farm jobs. At Stump Lake, the main enterprise is custom grazing.
Jodie Griffin was our first speaker after lunch. Jodie gave a very informative presentation on the Western Livestock Price Insurance Program. This is a new program that allows producers to purchase price insurance for a future date. Jodie’s talk was well received. It gave us all something to think about.
Blain Hjertaas followed Jodie. Blain gave an excellent presentation on Regenerative Agriculture. Regenerative agriculture is agriculture that builds. It builds soils by increasing organic matter which sequesters carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. As organic matter increases so does water retention minimizing runoff. As organic matter increases so does biological life which translates into more nutrient-dense food being produced. As organic matter increases so do yields making farmers more profitable. In short, everyone wins. Blain’s talk was very inspiring. Everyone realized we can make a difference. We can have a better future.
Our next speaker was Linda Edgecombe. Linda’s topic was “breaking busy.” Linda suggested that “busy” has become the new norm. This has wound us into the most unproductive, stressed out & basically unhappy demographic in the past 30 years. Linda gave us the tools to get back on track.
Monday ended with a lovely roast beef supper. The supper was followed by socializing & dancing. Everyone had a wonderful time.
Tuesday morning started with a talk from Greg Smith. Greg moved from South Africa to Canada a few years ago. Greg & his wife Lisa & their 2 children now ranch at Debden, Sask. Greg gave a heart-wrenching account of life in South Africa. We are pleased to have Greg in Canada. I think we all realized how blest we are to live in Canada.
Don Campbell followed Greg & gave a short presentation on the current financial opportunity in the cattle business. Don’s numbers were based on a herd of 200 cows. Income from 2013 to2014 increased by about $110,000 or 75%. This same percentage will hold whether you have 10 cows or 1000 cows. Opportunity is here. Don urged us all to seize the opportunity. He challenged us to invest 90% of our increased income so it becomes profit. This 90% was $100,000 in 2014. It could be $400,000 to $500,000 in the next few years. This is a sizeable amount of money. Don challenged us to invest this money wisely so that we will be able to look back in 30 years & say “yes, I remember the good times. I can see where I invested my money. I am still enjoying the benefits.” Don also had us brainstorm on ways to invest our money wisely. The results of that brainstorming are attached to this newsletter.
Our final speaker was Linda Edgecombe. Linda explored what it means to be a leader. She showed us how to become change resilient no matter what challenges we face. Linda helped us end on a high note.
Overall the conference was an outstanding success. Thanks to the organizing committee. Thanks to the attendees. Without you, there would be no conference. Thanks to those who contributed to our auction & to those who bid. The auction raised $5250. You are all invited to attend next year.