52 people from 18 different counties gathered at Redeemer United Church in Zuehl, Texas (15 miles southeast of Seguin) to learn about healthy soil and healthy food. The majority of those attending were meat producers, although a few consumers attended the event as w
ell. Together, participants manage more than 2,280 acres!
Jim Rackley was a huge hit, providing participants with a passionate overview of how and why he does mob grazing on his land. Out on the land, Jim showed participants his cattle moving pens designed by the late, low-stress stockmanship guru, Bud Williams.
Later, Betsy Ross helped participants understand the role of many different plants in highly diverse pastures, revealing her passion for reading the land. Her brother, veterinarian Joe David Ross, pointed out any plants that, when eaten in quantity, could be dangerous for livestock.
Holistic Management certified educator Tracy Litle explained the Bullseye method of monitoring rangeland, by dividing participants into small groups, armed with targets and scoring sheets. Participants proceeded to evaluate an area of land to see how close to the ideal it was.
For lunch, Chef Tobias Soto was busy cooking up some of the Rackleys’ grass-fed beef, along with some vegetable dishes made from organic, freshly harvested vegetables from My Father’s Farm, donated by Doug Havemann.
After lunch and a panel discussion, participants headed out to Hickory Lake, located in La Vernia, TX. After a pasture walk led by Betsy Ross, the day concluded with Tracy providing participants with a brief description of the Holistic Management Decision-Testing process.
HMI would like to thank all of our collaborators who helped make the day a success, including: Hickory Lake Beef, Sustainable Growth Texas, Chef Cooperative, Farm & Ranch Freedom Alliance, The Weston A. Price Foundation, Mesquite Field Farm, Sustainable Food Center, Humo of San Antonio and Chef Toby, and the Sustainable Ag Network.
Here is what some of the participants had to say:
“These events give us opportunities to meet and discuss with other farmers and ranchers what they are doing.”
“Loved the pasture walks and cattle movement.”
“Very informative. Like the information, handouts, and like-minded people.”
“Good mix of quick classes and field observation.”
“Well organized and the speakers were extremely knowledgeable.”
“Great! The hands-on in the field was the best.”
“Definitely one of the best to attend over the years. Great combination of classroom with true pasture tours.”
|Outcome||% of respondents|
|Intend to biologically monitor your land health as a result of this event||100%|
|Expanded their network today by meeting new people or learning about resources available to them?||100%|
|Would recommend this event to others?||100%|
|Intend to change management practices/apply ideas learned at event||91%|
|Feel more confident in their ability to see indicators of soil health||85%|
|Feel more confident in their ability to manage grazing animals more effectively||81%|
|Understanding how to make better decisions toward a goal||70%|
|Understanding how producers use Holistic Management to improve operations||69%|