The need to get the next generation into farming and ranching is an issue on many people’s mind as the average age of farmers and ranchers hover around 58. Doniga Markegard will speak on this topic at the 2016 HMI Gathering. Doniga comes to ranching with a background in wildlife tracking and permaculture. Along with her husband and four children, Doniga owns and operates Markegard Family Grass-Fed, raising grass-fed beef, lamb, pastured pork, chicken and dairy supplying the community with local, nutrient dense foods. The family ranch leases coastal grasslands in San Mateo and Sonoma Counties spanning over 8,000 acres.
Mentoring the Next Generation of Ranchers
Keeping the ranching legacy alive into the next generation and many generations into the future is at the forefront for the Markegard Family. Their four children are integral to the ranch, each having their own set of responsibilities from working farmers markets to running an egg business. The Markegards’ ranch hand has also been mentored to start her own business and enterprises along side the larger cattle operation. As we look towards ways to bring young people into farming and ranching or keep families in the business mentoring is key. A big driver in all of this is passion. Our work brings us happiness through the life we see being created in the form of a new calf being born, the life in the soil and the new discoveries each day that our children encounter in nature. If people start with passion and that sustains through the hard work then the values of caring for the land and the people will be sustained into the future.
Working with Land Trusts
Doniga will also be speaking on how to work with land trusts. Over the past 15 years Doniga has been working with Land Trusts in California first as a wildlife tracker then as a rancher. She leases from two of the largest and most successful land trusts in the State. Along with her husband she uses Holistic Planned Grazing on the leased land to meet both the goals of the ranching operation and the conservation goals of the landowners. By partnering with the local Natural Resource Conservation Service and Resource Conservation District Doniga has been able to utilize conservation grants to improve infrastructure to aid in management. Often the possibility of successful regenerative agriculture lies in the hands of the landowners. Learn more about how you can work with land trusts at the 2016 HMI Gathering.
Cultivating Community: Land, Food, Health will offer thought-provoking presentations and breakout sessions on various consumer and producer interests. Local food security, land health, strengthening our communities and nourishing our bodies all included! We have something for everyone, so come learn from the experts!
Many of our acclaimed speakers are celebrated throughout the world. Our special keynote speaker, “America’s Most Famous Farmer” himself, Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms, will be sure to inspire us all.
We’ll also enjoy beautiful landscapes, farm-fresh food and be on the land with the animals. This is no ordinary conference.
Won’t you join us?