HMI completed our third online course as part of our Whole Farm/Ranch Planning Program for Agricultural Educators funded by The Western Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (WSARE) Professional Development Program. The Holistic Grazing Planning course began in April 2014 with 26 participants from 10 different states. This course provides key grazing planning principles and practices to help participants facilitate conversations with producers about grazing planning and implementation. This simple approach to grazing planning helps agricultural educators and producers hone in on critical grazing considerations, determine forage inventory, animal needs, and grazing and recovery periods. After gathering all of the information and putting together their calculations, participants created a written grazing plan.
After surveying the participants in the WSARE Grazing Planning course, a high number of participants experienced knowledge and behavior changes as noted below.
HMI thanks WSARE for their funding of this program.
|WSARE Land Planning Evaluation Results|
|Knowledge/Confidence Increase||% Increase|
|How to assess recovery periods||80%|
|How to assess quantity of forage in a pasture||80%|
|How to determine grazing periods||87%|
|How to determine the number of animals your pasture can support||93%|
|How to determine the number of paddocks||93%|
|Behavior Change||% of Participants|
|Increased confidence in assessing quantity of forage in a pasture||80%|
|Increased confidence in determining the number of animals your land can support for grazing||80%|
|Increased confidence in determining how long animals will stay in each paddock||80%|
|Do you intend to complete or modify a written grazing plan as a result of today’s session?||87%|
|Do you intend to change any management practices as a result of this session?||92%|
|Overall Satisfaction of the course||100%|
What the Participants Said:
“Getting your ‘system’ down on paper helps immensely in understanding a complex grazing plan.”
|“I am finding I am better able to communicate with my clients greater purpose in grazing management planning and further subdividing current management units in such a way that provides a space and place for curiosity from my client and allows for even broader conversations than prior to this class; I’ve been witnessing a change in some of my somewhat resistant clients. It seems I have made a change in the way I present myself or a concept that allows them to dig deeper into being more vulnerable around their management strategies and investigating, in conversation, changes that they would be willing to explore.”|
“I’m more comfortable with the numbers and the math via the spreadsheet and interpreting it with “on-the” ground management”
“I learned how to assess forage quality and quantity, animal performance and how to calculate paddock size and ADA.”
“I really enjoyed the resources and was able to share many of them with co-workers and clients.”
“I have nothing but praises for HMI’s Grazing Planning class that I just completed this past spring. If there was any fault, I wish the course was a little longer, because there was so much to absorb and learn. We were given the tools to improve our skills (and to help other ranchers and farmers) to more effectively manage grazing resources and increase the ability to make more informed decisions utilizing HMI’s whole farm/ranch goal-setting and ecosystem processes. With these tools and through observation and better understanding of these type of grazing practices, I am better equipped to advise my clients and students (as an agriculture educator) as to how to improve their grazing management skills and enable them to increase their productivity. I feel more knowledgeable about how to work with nature and to maintain environmental sustainability, while being able to focus also on how to effectively make decisions to maximize positive financial gains.
With this course, as with the other courses in the HMI Program, real-time application will be the next step, in order to synthesize these concepts that I have learned and put them into practice. I look forward to be working with farmers and ranchers in the area and introduce them to these exciting approaches in agriculture! “
Agriculture Business Management Advisor & Horticultural Therapist– Eugene, Oregon