The last in a series of 3 workshops on Mitigating Drought Using the Power of Holistic Management took place at Bear Creek Ranch, November14 and 15, 2013.
Once again Peggy Sechrist delivered the HM techniques and Walt Davis delivered a lifetime of wisdom and tricks of the trade. The combination was a comprehensive look at how to plan your infrastructure based on the knowledge drought will come.
The 38 participants gathered in the small apartment on day 1 to avoid the cold and see the powerpoint presentations on how and why to create a land plan. One key point is to “control stock density and thereby control the physiological age of the forage to animals in order to match forage composition to animal needs.” Another is to “control stock density to improve the health of the total resource base.” Ways to increase stock density were explored with emphasis on fencing layout and design and watering designs and techniques.
These stock density considerations were thoroughly illustrated and explained by Walt Davis, along with several other points that combine to emphasize once again that the key indicators of healthy land are 1) covered soil with high organic matter and 2) diversity of species above and below the soil surface.
Peggy Sechrist took the class step by step through the process of HM land planning: understanding your goal as a roadmap to your vision of the future for your land, researching all the possibilities with the help of others, creative planning, refining to the one best plan and implementing that, monitoring regularly to be sure progress leads in the right direction.
Students had been advised to bring their goals and property maps. They divided into teams to help each other brainstorm great ways to design their infrastructure. Walt, Peggy and some of our Certified Educator trainees visited with the various groups to answer questions and offer encouragement as the plans came together.
A few more sessions with Walt and Peggy offered more tips and tricks than most brains had room for. The group went out on the ranch with Dixon Ranches General Manager, Robby Tuggle and Bear Creek Ranch Manager, Danny Parker. Robby had explained the layout of Bear Creek Ranch using maps before we left headquarters. He took us to pens that work perfectly in a variety of situations with both cattle and sheep. The calves had just been weaned and were napping in the sun across electric strands from their contented mamas. Very impressive.
HMI sends a big THANK YOU to Bear Creek Ranch and the Dixon Water Foundation for making this series extremely successful. Evaluation results will be posted here later, but I can say rave reviews were the norm.