HMI partnered with Oklahoma Farmers and Ranchers Association to put on a 2-day Holistic Planned Grazing course near Hulbert, Oklahoma on August 22-23rd. The class included a pasture walk on Spring Forest Farm managed by Julie Gahn. The course was taught by HMI Certified Educator Peggy Sechrist. A diverse group of approximately 24 participants learned how and why to form a holistic goal, how ecosystem processes function and provide biological wealth, and specifically the tools of animal grazing and animal impact before diving into the grazing planning process.
The group was fortunate to have in attendance, Dr. Ann Wells, DVM and Dr. Ron Morrow, recently retired from NRCS as state grazing lands specialist. As working partners, Ann and Ron have been teaching a holistic approach to livestock grazing and management for many years. Their knowledge of the local forage species and growing conditions was invaluable to the group’s learning in an environment where the average annual rainfall is 48 inches.
As a result of this training and participant interest, the Oklahoma Farmers and Ranchers Association expressed an interest in sponsoring more Holistic Management training in the near future. This training was made possible by funding from the USDA/NIFA Beginning Farmer/Rancher Development Program and the Kerr Center for Sustainable Agriculture.
Based on surveys participants were influenced the following ways by this event.
What the Participants Had to Say
“Learning the benefits of the soil food web and how to maximize the recovery period was very valuable.”
“I learned how to assess the health of a pasture and listen to my land.”
“The problems and challenges of every farm are distinct. Plans and observations are idiosyncratic. It’s important to be flexible but still make a plan.”
|Do you intend to develop or modify a grazing plan as a result of today’s event?||93%|
|Do you intend to change management practices as a result of this training||86%|
|Overall satisfaction with course (good or better)||93%|
|Increased Knowledge Experienced|
|The value of grazing planning||93%|
|How to assess recovery periods||100%|
|How to assess quantity of forage in a pasture||87%|
|How to improve land health with livestock||87%|
|How to determine the number of animals your pasture can support||93%|
|How to determine grazing periods||100%|
|Increased Confidence Experienced|
|Determining the number of animals your land can support for grazing||93%|
|Assessing recovery periods||87%|
|Determining how long animals will stay in each paddock (residency rates/grazing periods)||87%|
|Ability as a grazier||80%|
|Assessing quantity of forage in a pasture||80%|
|Calculating the number of paddocks for your system||80%|
|Ability to analyze ecosystem health||67%|