by Kathy Harris
In early February, 15 ranchers gathered at JE Canyon Ranch in southeastern Colorado for a three day class on Holistic Management. The class was facilitated by HMI Certified Educator Kirk Gadzia, who has over 25 years’ experience teaching the concepts of natural resource management worldwide. The class was comprised of ag agency professionals, a veterinarian, and area ranchers. Together, they manage about 1.85 million acres and influence another 3.1 million acres.
In addition to going through the steps to create a Grazing Plan and learning the basics of Holistic Financial Planning, the group went through a real-life decision testing example using JE Canyon’s holistic goal and spent time out on the ranch to practice forage assessment.
Thanks to sponsorship by The Nature Conservancy, participants had the opportunity to stay on this beautiful and unique 50,000 acre ranch and learn Holistic Management.
Results from the training evaluation showed:
|Overall Satisfaction with Workshop||100%|
|Intent to change management practices or apply ideas learned||82%|
|Increased understanding of the benefits of practicing Holistic Management||100%|
|Improved ability to define and manage financial, environmental, and social resources||83%|
Along with specific requests for support going forward with Grazing Planning and Holistic Management in general, participants noted that they intend to implement the following management practices:
- Goal Setting
- Grazing Planning
- Monitoring the grass
- Planning/record keeping/recording goals
- More cross fencing
- Organized goal setting
- Pre-grazing planning
- Engaging more with the ranching community
And students reported the following as the most useful things learned in the training:
- How to plan for long term sustainability
- The importance of taking time to plan and monitor
- Range management
- Financial planning
- Plant recovery and rest time
- Grazing planning
- Communication with team
- Identifying the Weakest Link and Root Causes
- Goal setting and decision making
- Grazing planning using the ADA system
- Looking at un-grazed and grazed pastures to estimate ADA and then monitor ADA on the grazed land
We are grateful for The Nature Conservancy‘s generous sponsorship of this event. Future plans include continued collaborative training events and a possible Management Club to support application of what the students learned.
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