HMI completed our second online course as part of our Whole Farm Planning Program for Agricultural Educators funded by The Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (WSARE) Professional Development Program. The course began in March 2014 with 29 participants from 11 different states. This course provides key land planning principles and practices to help participants facilitate conversations with producers about land planning decisions they are considering. This simple approach to land planning helps agricultural educators and producers explore key infrastructure/land improvement projects in the context of a whole farm/ranch goal. Participants developed management consideration lists, land plan options and explored tool options and the return on investment of the different land planning options.
After surveying the participants, a high number of folks experienced knowledge and behavior changes as noted below.
HMI thanks WSARE for their funding of this program.
Holistic Land Planning Evaluation Results
|Knowledge/Confidence Increase||% Increase|
|How to prioritize land/infrastructure development/investments||82%|
|How to assess management considerations to guide your land planning||67%|
|Design strategies that can build resilient, diversified farms||65%|
|How to incorporate social/legal/contractual considerations into your land planning||63%|
|Behavior Change:||% of Participants|
|Ability to prioritize land or infrastructure improvements on your farm||88%|
|Ability to incorporate farm natural resources issues into your land planning||88%|
|Do you intend to complete or modify a written land plan as a result of today’s session?||88%|
|Ability to incorporate social/legal considerations into your land planning||75%|
|Do you intend to change any management practices as a result of this session?||75%|
|Overall Satisfaction of the course||100%|
“Although I’ve worked with many of the techniques and concepts covered in the class, I found it very useful to review the concepts and hear how others approach the planning (especially land planning) process. I had several aha moments. I particularly liked learning more about using the testing questions in conjunction with the land planning to determine the best next step.”
“It was valuable to learn ROI-the ability to calculate it and practice working with it on the example worksheets. Prioritization and implementation strategies to use once the land plan is created like finding the weakest link and identifying priority investments.”
“I’m able to learn how to read the land better in terms of utilization of resources and what to consider in the overall design plan of the farm or property.”
“I learned that you should aim for creative solutions, use input from those whom are not familiar with your land-that you should try and not borrow money, but reinvest the profit you make from your operation/enterprise.”
“I really appreciated the hands on practice sheets such as the ROI fencing and developing a property. It was great to go back to the basics and focus on simple parts of the larger land planning decisions. I also really enjoyed how HMI included prioritization and implementation into the Land Planning Curriculum.”
“I hope to encourage the landowners I work with to incorporate these ideas. I already find myself incorporating them into our conversations and planning sessions.”
“I’ve changed my entire plan from a more conventional, straight rows, approach to a more permaculture integrated into my overall design.”
“…the content of the Whole Farm Planning course is comprehensive and widely applicable to farm and ranch, even small ag settings. I never thought I’d enjoy “school” again, but it has opened up a whole realm of possibilities for working with our producers to improve and sustain working landscapes.”
For thirteen years Patty has been a watershed coordinator and then a conservation programs manager for the Mendocino County Resource Conservation District (RCD). She serves as a technical peer reviewer for the North Coast Resource Partnership, as well as participant in the Wood for Salmon Workgroup. Patty’s at the RCD includes developing landowner relationships and restoration projects—as well as informing public policy and streamlining the permit process for landscape-level conservation efforts. She is involved in planning for the RCD’s ownership and management of the largest mitigation project ever conducted in northern California by the California Department of Transportation. Two years ago Patty attended a Holistic Management course and was intrigued with the possibilities of applying the principles to a wider audience, and its potential for building stronger families, communities, and ecosystems.