High-Density Grazing on NM Rangelands
Sept 30, 2022 / 9:30 a.m-1:30 p.m. MDT
Join us on Sept 30, 2022 at Hearth, Wind & Sol Farm in the Estancia Valley southeast of Albuquerque to watch a high-density grazing experiment in action. Owner John Humphries will be experimenting with a 45,000-lbs/acre stock density. Learn about how he has designed and developed his water and fencing infrastructure to reduce erosion and efficiently move cattle through seven 1.5-acre paddocks each day, moving the herd by himself with low-stress livestock handling. Participate in experiential learning activities focused on how to quickly assess forage quantity and monitor land health so you can adapt your grazing and consider the economic ramifications of increasing carrying capacity on your farm or ranch.
About Hearth, Wind & Sol Farm
331 Riley Rd. Estancia, NM 87016 (3.6 miles south of Highway 55)
Hearth, Wind & Sol Farm lies in the heart of the Estancia Valley on 640 acres of New Mexico rangeland. After 20+ years in New England, owners John and Debbie Humphries moved to Albuquerque in 2020 to be closer to extended family. John’s great-grandparents homesteaded in the Estancia Valley in 1910, and his dad’s ranch south of Willard includes the original homestead. John and Debbie purchased their land in the summer of 2021 and moved out to the farm in April 2022.
Even before they had found the land to buy, John signed up for HMI’s “Next Step” program, completing five different courses over a 14-month period under the mentorship of HMI’s Certified Educators. Through that program, John and Debbie drafted a whole farm goal that helped guide their purchase decisions, and John developed the initial plans for this high-density grazing experiment using some of his dad’s cattle.
Since moving to the farm in the spring, John and Debbie have taken steps to implement their vision of a diverse operation. Although they’ve been avid gardeners for more than two decades, they’ve never tried to make a living from it. They are now selling fresh vegetables, herbs, eggs and Debbie’s home-baked bread at both the farmer’s market and the local grocery in Mountainair. A small flock of chickens is helping to prepare the ground for a larger permaculture garden, and future plans include a high-tunnel greenhouse, a small flock of sheep and possibly an onsite farm stand to take advantage of the relatively well-traveled Riley Road. In the meantime, Debbie’s full-time university faculty position pays the bills and supports John’s experiments!
$20, includes lunch. Register soon, as we have limited space available. Seating will be limited so please bring a portable chair if you have one. Ranch roads are rough so bring an appropriate vehicle or carpool. There will be at least a half-mile of walking to get where the cattle and fencing demonstrations will occur. Bring appropriate clothing and shoes. This is a rain or shine event. You will receive additional directions after registering.
Scholarship Deadline: September 26, 2022
Registration Deadline: September 27, 2022
Financial Assistance Available! (If you are in need of financial assistance please apply for a scholarship below. Cost should not be a barrier to attend.)
Registration Begins at 9:00
9:30-10:00 Introductions by Ann Adams & John Humphries, Story of High Density Experiment at Hearth, Wind & Sol Farm
10:00-10:30 Walk to cattle and discuss fencing and watch cattle move
10:30-11:00 Quick and easy forage assessment with the STAC method
11:00-12:00 In-field discussion of when are cattle ready to move (from a field analysis and animal condition behavior). How to determine amount of space and length of grazing. Reading land health pre- and post-graze.
12:00-12:15 Head to the house
12:15-1:15 Lunch and large group discussion of infrastructure costs and return on investments
1:15-1:30 Wrap Up
John Humphries and his wife Debbie established Hearth, Wind & Sol Farms in 2021 in New Mexico’s Estancia Valley, where his family has farmed and ranched for more than a century. With training in water resources engineering and economics, John’s early professional career was in international irrigation management. His subsequent twenty-five years of experience in nonprofit management, community organizing and advocacy encompassed local, state, regional and national campaigns on a variety of social, economic and environmental issues. From 2012 to 2020, he served as the founding Executive Director/Lead Organizer for the Connecticut Roundtable on Climate and Jobs (CRCJ), which builds alliances among diverse constituencies to combat climate change, create jobs and promote racial, economic and environmental justice. He represented CRCJ on the Governor’s Council on Climate Change. John and Debbie are active in the Quaker community and have two grown children and a dog named Magpie.
Ann has worked in the nonprofit world for almost 25 years, creating and directing national programs, collaborating with over 100 non-profit and government entities to create positive impact among producers and land stewards seeking to build & maintain sustainable farms, ranches and healthy land. Her fund development work has included raising over $1 million for national whole farm planning training for beginning farmer programming. Ann served as HMI’s Executive Director from 2015-2020 and is now Education Director. Ann has been a Holistic Management Certified Educator since 1998 and has practiced and taught Holistic Management® in multiple capacities for 25 years. She also has facilitated classes (onsite and distance learning), taught workshops and presented at conferences. She has written countless articles, helped develop agriculture-based software for financial and grazing planning and written a training handbook, At Home with Holistic Management: Creating a Life of Meaning. Ann also taught courses at Indiana University, Wittenberg University, and Antioch College. She earned her BSED from Ohio University and her PhD from Indiana University. She has a small goat and chicken homestead in the Manzano Mountains.
Please note, the format and/or requirements for event attendance may change in light of shifting CDC and state public health guidelines. HMI will make every effort to communicate these changes in a timely fashion.
By registering for this event, you hereby consent and agree that HMI has the right to take photographs, videotape, or digital recordings of you and to use these in any and all media, now or hereafter known, for HMI outreach and further consent that your name and identity may be revealed therein or by descriptive text or commentary.
Thank you to our Funder
I’m looking forward to going. Currently cleaning up a small acreage with my flock of Finnsheep.
John Harrity says
As a Connecticut climate activist, I worked closely with John Humphries on the CT Roundtable for Climate & Jobs for eight years. Rarely have I met anyone as thoughtful, resourceful, and compassionate as John H. His impact on the state’s climate policies, and his skill in bringing together advocacy groups, were unmatched.
I recommend to anyone within travel distance to consider attending, not only for the benefit of the information, but just to meet John.
He is a good man.