HMI’s Whole Farm/Ranch Business Planning Training course wrapped up in March of 2016. Classes took place in Montrose, Colorado. The training classes were taught by Holistic Management Certified Educator Cindy Dvergsten.
According to Cindy, the class was diversified, with both beginning farmers and 5th generation ranchers attending. Operations were diversified as well, with cow-calf operations, a goat dairy, a quail farm, and a dude ranch just some of the enterprises run by class participants.
The first class covered the basics of Holistic Management, including Defining the Whole, Creating the Holistic Goal, Testing Decisions, Ecosystem Processes, Management Tools, Time Management and Leadership and Communication.
In the second session, the Marketing and Business Planning module was presented.
The final session was Financial Planning, with students using a number of worksheets to gain clarity about the contribution of each of their enterprises to the whole and to create a complete financial plan for their own operation.
Here are some participant comments:
“Every day I appreciate this course even more. I really benefited from learning about budgeting and making financial decisions that honor my values.”
“I spent an evening with my 7 and 9 year old sons talking about cows and hay. This is the first time I ever included them in discussions about what is important to them and their perspective of the ranch. We were having so much fun that we went past their bedtime and my wife made us quit.”
“My God, what have I been doing all these years? I was just winging it with the marketing. Now I have a business modelthat will focus on what really works for us and we can let go of marketing that does not provide results.”
“This course has helped me put all to pieces together. I realize now that I have more than one market in my business model (as a ranch manager) in that my landlord needs to be considered as a customer”.
“Setting the holistic goal and learning how to work with my family will make a big difference in helping me figure out how to keep our ranch in the family.”
“Learning about the tools of management and making my tool box inventory is helping me focus on putting time and money into the right places.”
“I appreciate the in-depth knowledge and experiences you have to share with us about land management, agricultural businesses and holistic management.”
Here are some of the results:
Session 1 – Introduction to Holistic Management – Results
Assessing how time is spent on your farm
Increased ability to use the whole farm goal to guide communication on your farm
Increased ability to develop a written whole farm/ranch goal
More confidence in delineating farm resources for management
Increased ability to define your management team for effective management
More confidence in communicating with decision makers
Session 2- Marketing and Business Planning – Results
Your ability to develop a business model for your farm/ranch
Intention to complete or modify a marketing and business plan as a result of today’s session
Understanding of how your whole farm goal and financial plan help you develop a marketing plan that fits your farm
How to effectively promote your products/services
How to use your financial plan to profitably price your products/services
How to define your target market
Session 3 – Financial Planning – Results
Improved skills in developing a whole farm financial plan
Increased ability to assess the cash flow of your plan
Intention to complete or modify a financial plan for your farm
Considered the course to be good or excellent
Increased ability to increase your farm’s rough net worth (balance sheet)
Increased ability to prioritize and cut expenses on your farm
Increased ability to get the profit you need from your farm
HMI would like to thank Valley Food Partnership for their support of this program, as well as Mountain Roots Food Project. Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, National Young Farmers Coalition, and Indian Ridge Farm and Bakery for their assistance in outreach and promotion of this training.