When Lyle Perman and his family originally took over Rock Hills Ranch, Lyle was focused on raising cattle and crops, not restoring grasslands. But an introduction to Holistic Management changed everything. “When you’re going broke, you start to look at different ways of doing things,” says Lyle. Unpredictable weather conditions and economic hardships were making the ‘business as usual’ routine that Lyle typically followed nonfunctional. So Lyle began doing some reading, attending meetings in the area and began to gradually introduce Holistic Management on his ranch.
Over the years, the Permans have continued to make changes on the ranch; implementing a planned grazing system, adding cross fences and using cover crops to increase water absorption. Once focused on crops, Lyle began transitioning the land back to native grasses. This is particularly important, as thePerman family goal is to not just sustain the land as it is, but to regenerate it back to what it used to be – highly productive native grassland. “It’s easy to go for short term financial gain,” says Lyle. “Holistic Management has caused us to look at the long-term impact of what we’re doing.”
Apparently, others agree with the Perman’s approach. In 2014, the Permans, and Rock Hills Ranch were the recipients of the 2014 Leopold Conservation Award, which honors South Dakota landowner achievements in both stewardship and management of natural resources. Rock Hills Ranch was also a 2014 Environmental Stewardship Award Program winner, which is presented annually by the National Cattlemen Beef Association to ranches that work to protect America’s natural resources.
The Permans and Rock Hills Ranch are proof that Holistic Management can benefit small and large operations.
Be sure to visit our Success Stories to read the rest of the Perman’s story.
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