On February 5-7, 2019 twenty land managers from the Southwest convened at JE Canyon Ranch for an on-the-land training on Holistic Management practices and profitable ranching and livestock management. Attendees were ranchers coming from Trinchera Ranch, Tercio Ranch, JE Canyon Ranch and a neighboring ranch. There was a pair who own and manage three Grassburger restaurants in Durango and Albuquerque as well as a few Nature Conservancy staff. Some longtime practitioners came out from Kansas to keep up to date on new practices as well. Professional Certified Educator, Kirk Gadzia—with over 30 years of experience teaching the concepts of natural resource management worldwide—led the group.
Topics covered included:
- Creating and refining your holistic goal
- Understanding your ecosystem and how to better manage it
- Understanding the tools available to you
- Grazing planning for more profitable livestock production
- How to better manage all your resources: financial, livestock/land/wildlife, and people
- How to make better decisions with increased confidence in your ranching business-savvy
The weather was a brutal 6 degrees F so most of the training was held indoors. Kirk led the group through a number of exercises including creating a management inventory and a whole farm goal. He was assisted by Natalie Allio, who runs Badger Creek Ranch and participates in the New Agrarian Program as a mentor. The group learned about holistic decision testing and practiced on some real life examples. They practiced forage assessment and then experimented with Animal Days per Acre (ADA) calculations to figure out how many animals one acre can sustain based on the amount of forage available.
Over meals and during breaks the group engaged in varied conversations about ranching, grass fed beef, county and state regulations, wildlife, brush, weather, fire, plant growth, cattle breeding and cattle breeds. It was nice to have a course where almost all the participants were staying at the venue so there was a lot of networking opportunities and friendship forming. Joy Wooten cooked wonderful meals for everyone.
On the last morning of the training the group braved the cold and spent the morning outside at an overlook where they could see the canyon and discuss the general land conditions. Since there was snow the planned grass ID presentation and hands on monitoring exercises were limited but the participants reported that they were happy to be out on the land nonetheless.
|Participants reporting increased knowledge in their ability to define and manage their financial, environmental, and social resources:||82%|
|Participants reporting increased knowledge in their ability to integrate social, economic, and environmental factors into their decisions:||88%|
|Participants reporting increased knowledge in their ability to make complex on-farm/ranch decisions:||88%|
|Participants reporting increased knowledge in how different tools effect ecosystem processes on their farm/ranch:||82%|
|Participants that intend to change management practices as a result of this course:||79%|
|Overall satisfaction of the course:||100%|
Special thanks to our sponsor for making this event possible: