On February 16, 2023, during the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association (OEFFA) Conference outside Columbus, Ohio, HMI’s Executive Director, Wayne Knight, led a workshop entitled “Holistic Planned Grazing: Balancing Work, Business, and Ecosystem Improvement for Optimal Results.” The workshop attracted 39 participants.
The goal of the workshop was to emphasize the importance of a values-based goal to guide management in an inherently complex farming environment. Traditional schooling and business training tend to focus on problem-solving and breaking down and isolating concepts and components of our lives. To manage money, we focus on financial management. To measure successes, we evaluate profit in monetary terms; to measure family happiness we may measure and managing time. We tend to approach each aspect in isolation. However, Holistic Management’s unique strength lies in its appreciation of complexity and the interconnectedness of the world in which we produce food, live our lives, raise our families, and balance our books.
During the workshop, attendees completed assignments to identify values and emotions that motivate changed management and guide decisions. They also worked on real-world scenarios and decisions that compared different actions using a decision-making process to help clarify which actions, or if inaction, would be the best solution to the “problem” confronting a farmer.
After lunch, the workshop focused more on low-cost, low-risk animal production methodology and management, with Holistic Planned Grazing as the primary tool to match animal performance, risk of forage variability, and profitability.
80% of participants rated the program as good or excellent, and 100% said they would recommend the workshop to others. Thanks to OEFFA for hosting a wonderful conference, and thanks to the Nippert Foundation for support of this workshop.