30 participants managing 14,030 acres participated in HMI’s Improving Land Productivity Series in Tucumcari, New Mexico. This 6-day series was taught by Holistic Management Certified Educator Kirk Gadzia, and holistic rancher Tom Sidwell provided on the ground application and information about how he is managing holistically at the JX Ranch outside of Tucumcari for 35 years. Tom has done a great job documenting his grazing planning and the results he’s achieved including the return of cool-season grasses coming back like western wheat grass.
The series covered holistic goal setting, on-ranch decision making, biological monitoring, grazing planning and land planning. Participants had the opportunity to learn from each other as well as work individually on their plans, as well as more experiential learning out in the field with plant identification and forage assessment and inventorying.
This class was a diverse group of ranchers including members of the Mescalero and Navajo Nations, as well as ranchers who had Bureau of Land Management grazing leases. The operations ran from cow/calf to goats and chickens with a wide range of scale of operation as well as years of experience ranching. Particularly exciting was the inclusion of some younger producers fresh out of high school.
Thanks to the Thornburg Foundation for their generous support of this event. Thanks also to our sponsors the Southwest Quay Soil and Water Conservation District and Rocky Mountain Farmers Union Co-op Development Center. Lastly thanks to the Sidwells and JX Ranch Natural Beef for their support of this event.
Here’s what some of our participants had to say about what they valued most about the program:
- The benefit of more cattle, less time grazing, smaller pastures.
- Soil health range condition as it pertains to the whole picture
- Cattle management and use of animal days of grazing
- Test decision model, goal setting
- Coverage of ground
- Decision matrix
- What good stewards the Sidwells are!
- Very satisfied! Good mix of pasture info & cattle management
- Learning how important roots are.
- Learning how to have a grazing plan instead of a fly by the seat of your pants plan.
- I intend to really do planned grazing, solidify holistic goal and go forward!
- Great class. Loved all the interaction.
- I learned to prioritize working capital
- The big eye opener to me is how much can be accomplished with proper planning.
- I learned a lot from all of the training! Very informative and can’t wait to apply these practices!
|Outcomes||% of participants|
|Your ability to identify needed systems and protocols to create a successful farm||82%|
|Increased ability in creating a whole farm/ranch goal||86%|
|More confident in your ability to make complex decisions on your farm as a result of today’s class||100%|
|Increased ability to monitor your farm’s/ranch’s ecosystem health||91%|
|Intend to change management practices as a result of the program||95%|
|Intend to complete biological monitoring as a result of the program||95%|
|The value of grazing planning||95%|
|Increased knowledge in assessing recovery periods||95%|
|Increased knowledge of how to assess quantity of forage in a pasture||81%|
|Increased knowledge of how to improve land health with livestock||90%|
|Increased knowledge of how to determine the number of animals your pasture can support||90%|
|Increased confidence in ability as a grazier||100%|
|Do you intend to complete or modify a written grazing plan as a result of today’s session?||100%|
|Increased knowledge of how to prioritize land/infrastructure development/investments||95%|
|Increased knowledge of design strategies that can build resilient, diversified farms||100%|
|Do you intend to complete or modify a written land plan as a result of today’s session?||100%|