It is no wonder the Open Gate: Ross Farm sold out so quickly. Dynamic siblings Betsy, Kathryn and Joe David Ross have earned a reputation for deep knowledge gained through 7 decades of passionate curiosity and for sharing that knowledge freely while they rub off a little of that passion.
Peggy Cole welcomed the group on behalf of HMI and asked how many were familiar with Holistic Management. About 50 hands went up—The large majority of the 70 attendees. Many were here to see old friends in addition to learning more from the Rosses.
Holistic Management Certified Educator Peggy Sechrist was on hand to talk about the many ways the day’s teachings can help with mitigating drought – before, during and after the droughts that are a past and future fact in our climate.
Betsy took half the group of 70 into the field with their shovels. Along they way she stopped to pick various weeds and explain they are there for a purpose – to help the soil make its elements more available to plants. Johnson grass adds calcium; silver-leaf nightshade adds phosphorus, etc. The group visited a pasture the cattle had just left to have a look at the grass, the litter and the soil with a lesson from JR Builta on the rotation and recovery of their pastures and from Betsy on what to look for under the surface and on the roots.
Meanwhile Joe David had the other half of the group judging cattle for grass finishing. He pulled two at a time into the pen with the group. He suggested we look for two positive and two negative traits in each animal, weighting the pros and cons.
Joe David talked about the importance of BRAC—a word that has not yet been taken from us. The letters stand for:
Balance – taking care of the land, the animals, the people and the finances
Responsibility/Respect to and from each other and the land/animals,
Action! You have to lose your own money and make mistakes to learn – not just read and study a method
Character/Communication – ethics and honest interaction
When the bell rang – or sometime after the bell rang – The Rosses swapped groups and continued teaching. All enjoyed sitting in the shade with an excellent box lunch. Julie Morrison took those interested in the beef cuts into the room with the freezers so she could explain why the various Betsy Ross Grass-Fed Beef cuts are used.
The afternoon session divided the group in half again. Betsy gave a slide supported talk on HMI concepts and how they fit into soil health considerations. Joe David had the other group under the big shade trees explaining with photos the finer points of selecting cattle. Once again they swapped groups and repeated their talks. Both groups came together for a final Q&A session with discussion on a number of topics.
Collectively the attendees managed over 96,000 acres and raised primarily cattle, sheep, and crops. Here’s what a few of the folks had to say about the day..
Excellent. So much pertinent information well presented with 100% commitment & enthusiasm.
Great! Great values for the cost.
Great inspiration, priceless knowledge passed on!
Presenters have wealth of information.
Well done! Lots of knowledge in a comfortable atmosphere. These are real people with real experiences.
|Would you recommend this event to others?||100%|
|Did you expand your learning network of people and resources||100%|
|Do you intend to change any management practices/apply ideas you learned in this event?||91%|
|Do you intend to pursue biological monitoring on your land as a result of today's event?||85%|
|Are you more confident in your ability to improve land health?||100%|
|Increased knowledge of Ecosystem Processes observations and assessments||85%|
|Increased knowledge of critical monitoring criteria to build biological wealth and mitigate drought||82%|
This event is made possible by a generous contribution from The Dixon Water Foundation.