Holistic Land Planning Helps Design Drought Mitigation Strategies
What’s land planning got to do with drought? Plenty. Land planning is the land use plan for your operation. How you use and position water, roads, pens, fences, structures, etc. can mean the difference between an effective water cycle and workflow and wasted efforts/resources.
The third and final Mitigating Drought with Holistic Management 2-day workshop in HMI’s Whole Farm/Ranch Land Management program was held May 29 & 30, 2015 at the Kerr Wildlife Management Area in Hunt, Texas. Holistic Management Certified Educator Peggy Sechrist and consultant/rancher/author Walt Davis presented Holistic Land Planning to 19 eager students. Katherine Napper Ottmers, a permaculture instructor and Holistic Management Certified Educator trainee joined them for a guest presentation on the blending on these sister concepts.
When class members were asked what they expected from the class, they responded:
- “Efficient use of resources”
- “Sequence, priorities and schedule for my infrastructure build-out”
- “Work Flow”
- “Reduce erosion”
- “Security and emergency management, an escape hatch”
These and many other topics were covered during this workshop.
Peggy Sechrist began with an overview of Holistic Land Planning with emphasis on the relationships within the whole of the land/animals, finances and people under management. She laid out the steps: gather the information, creative planning with others, selecting the best plan, implementing your vision and finally monitoring and revising as needed.
Each of the participants brought a map of their land. After looking as a group at the types of issues that might be considered as we plan, the group broke into sets of 3 or 4 to create lists of issues in the categories of natural, social and management (including financial). There were other experiential sessions throughout the workshop.
Katherine Napper Ottmers presented a hummingbird flyover urging the students to look at their map as though they were a bird flying over looking for shelter, open water, wind/sun/shade/runoff/fire -flow patterns, etc. She presented an exercise of analyzing elements in the plan by listing behaviors and characteristics, inputs and outputs. Finally she explained planning land use with zones of frequent use near the house and the all important use of contours in managing how the water lingers or flows.
Walt Davis began with various considerations in planning paddock locations to best manage land health and animal performance. Tricks of the trade about drought, flood, fire, water, weaning, multi-species management, chutes and pens, portable feeders, water and minerals were handed out like candy to a most satisfied group.
Thanks to the Cynthia & George Mitchell Foundation for their generous support of this program.
Here is what participants had to say:
“Walt Davis is a wealth of experience and practical information that makes this course come alive. He is open, approachable, and always helpful. He is your greatest asset. He and his writings will be a permanent source of help for me as I move down this road toward my holistic goal. Overall, Peggy and Katherine have put together a highly professional training package that is rarely seen outside of industry and would normally cost $2000-3000 to attend. I cannot recommend this enough. They have been superb. Many thanks!”
“Sheep & goat/water point strategies were especially useful.”
“The best parts were Walt’s practical experience, Peggy’s connecting goal to land plan, Katherine’s activity in evaluating a component on input, output, behavior.”
“All my expectations were met. What I need now is to work on my plans, on implementation, observation and adjustment. Then I would consider going to some additional open gate sessions and perhaps the longer HMI session.”
“I intend to do high stock density on just part of the ranch. Complete a plan w/new perspective & knowledge learned. Previously, I was stuck in moving forward.”
“I intend to acquire and utilize herd animals to improve soil structure and forage.”
|Are you more confident in your ability to gather critical information for land planning as a result of this course?||100%|
|Are you more confident in your ability to complete a land plan as a result of this course?||93%|
|Increased knowledge of benefits of land planning as a strategy to mitigate drought impacts||93%|
|Do you intend to change any management practices/apply ideas you learned as a result of this event?||93%|
|Do you intend to complete or modify a land plan as a result of this session?||80%|
|Increased knowledge of how to increase animal performance through land planning||93%|
|Increased knowledge of how to develop water infrastructure to achieve goals while mitigating drought||93%|
|Increased knowledge of the value of building biological wealth during drought||93%|