In 2017 HMI developed a comprehensive survey on Holistic Management training and developed an outreach campaign to engage the international Holistic Management community. The survey was open for respondents to complete for over two months. When the survey closed 447 people had responded. This is the largest qualitative online survey of Holistic Management practitioners to date and we are pleased to share the results of the 2017 Holistic Management Practitioner Survey.
Key findings from this research include that a large percentage of these respondents did implement some practices from what they learned (95%), got results (92%), and are still practicing Holistic Management (92%). However, there is significant difference in the results achieved and how quickly practitioners see results depending on the amount of training. The survey results suggested that at least 3 days of training is critical to increase efficacy of practice for improved results within the first year of practice. Those receiving 3+ days of training are 200-327% more likely to experience significant results within the first year of implementation. Such a difference in results suggests that increased investment in length of training is critical for sustained desired behavior change and attendant results.
Location of Respondents
The respondents resided in 32 countries with the top countries responding being U.S., Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.
When questioned who had been the instructor for training, 64% responded that it was done by Holistic Management educators. 25% had learned through self-study (Holistic Management educational materials) and 7% learned from a non-profit educator.
An astounding 95% of those trained implemented what they learned. When asked if they had experienced some type of positive result from that implementation, 92% of the respondents said they had experienced results. Furthermore, 92% of the respondents also said they are still practicing Holistic Management.
Date of Training
When questioned as to when they had completed their first training, the majority of respondents had been trained in the last seven years (303 respondents).
|Year of Initial Training||Respondents|
|1980s or earlier||19|
|2010 – 2015||203|
|2016 or later||100|
The largest percentage of respondents were trained in Holistic Grazing Planning, Holistic Goal Setting/Decision-Making, Holistic Financial Planning, and Holistic Land Planning.
|Topics Trained In||% of respondents|
|Holistic Grazing Planning||81%|
|Holistic Goal setting/Decision Testing||78%|
|Holistic Financial Planning||63%|
|Holistic Land Planning||61%|
|Holistic Biological Monitoring/Ecosystem Process Health||57%|
|Holistic Marketing/Business Planning||45%|
|Time Management/Leadership & Communication||34%|
Length of Training and Implementation
76% of respondents had 3 or more days of training or were mentored or self-studied. When compared to the 24% of the respondents who had 2 or less days of training, there is clear evidence that the level of results and timing of implementation was significantly different between these two groups. These results indicate that extended training is well worth the additional investment of time and money if working to engage in new farm and ranch management practices.
For example, within the 3+day group 81% implemented a holistic goal and 73% implemented holistic decision-making in the first year. However, within the 2-day group, only 72% implemented a holistic goal and 55% implemented holistic decision-making within the first year. That implementation then had serious ramifications on whether those groups achieved results and the timing of those results.
96% of respondents in the 3+ day group have implemented practices they learned while 91% in the 2-day group have implemented practices. Those within the 3+day group who achieved significant (26% or more) improvement in various results included: Improved decision-making at 54%, Improved quality of life at 47%, Improved forage and biodiversity at 42% and Improved net profit at 28%. In contrast, those within the 2-day group who achieved 26% or more of improvement in various results included: Improved decision-making at 11%, improved quality of life at 10%, and improved forage and biodiversity at 9%, and Improved net profit at 5%.
Moreover, the timing of those results was significantly different between those two groups. Those within the 3+day group achieved significant results within one-year post training including: Improved decision-making at 54%, better communication and relationships at 47%, quality of life at 46%, decreased bare ground at 34%, increase soil cover at 33%, improved net profit at 24%. In contrast, those within the 2-day group achieved these percentage increases during that same time period: Improved decision-making at 12%, better communication and relationships at 11%, quality of life at 11%, decreased bare ground at 9%, increase soil cover at 10%, and improved net profit at 8%.
The most obvious reason for this significant difference is the extended time allows for coverage of more topics and repetition of key components of the Holistic Management® framework such as making decisions toward the holistic goal regardless of which planning process you are currently engaged in. While shorter courses may be good introductions, they must be followed up with other courses to reinforce learning and provide more opportunity for learning ways to change behavior. Given that the 3+day group was getting results 200-327% more than the 2-day group, the additional investment in days and time are critical for sustained behavior changes that lead to long-term results. (See additional tables in full report).
HMI would like to thank all our collaborators who shared this survey with their networks and all the Holistic Management practitioners who took the time to complete the survey and share their results. We’d also like to thank all our donors whose generosity has allowed us to offer scholarships to farmers and ranchers who want to learn more about regenerative agriculture. Through their generous donations, we were able to offer over $20,000 worth of scholarships for Holistic Management training in 2016. As the survey results show, these investments have paid dividends in the form of more effective farmers and ranchers improving more land and soil health, providing more ecosystem benefits and growing more nutrient dense food.
Please take a few minutes to read about HMI’s Scholarship Fund, or learn a bit about some of our scholarship recipients. And if you find yourself with a few extra dollars at the end of the month, please consider a donation to our scholarship fund. If you’re a farmer or rancher looking to take a class and would like to apply for a scholarship, the application can be found here.
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