In 2019, HMI teamed up again with the Quivira Coalition and their New Agrarian Program (NAP) to bring Holistic Management training to their apprentices as part of HMI’s New Agrarian Online Training (NAOT) Program. In the NAOT Program we have partnered with a select number of organizations who provide residential production training and Holistic Management so young agrarians can learn basic farming and ranching skills to prepare them for a farm or ranch manager position or start their own farm or ranch businesses.
A total of 34 people participated in the online learning portion of the program as we were able to provide scholarships to other apprentices and interns from other programs besides the Quivira Coalition’s New Agrarian Program. 15 people successfully completed the Introduction to Holistic Management course, with 6 graduating from the Land Planning/Biological Monitoring Course, 7 from the Financial Planning Course, and 8 from the Marketing and Business Planning Course. The 2019 New Agrarian Program started off with a hands-on, one-day introduction to Holistic Management® Whole Farm/Ranch Planning course taught by Dr. Ann Adams in Albuquerque, NM. This workshop included developing draft holistic goals and practicing testing on-farm/ranch decisions and time outside on the land learning how to read ecosystem health and understand the impact tools make on the landscape. The remaining modules were taught by various HMI Certified Educators through interactive online webinars.
The Land Planning and Biological Monitoring Modules was taught by Phil Metzger. It focused on the key holistic land planning design principles and practices that allow participants to more effectively manage all their resources. This simple approach to land planning helped the apprentices explore key infrastructure/land improvement projects in the context of their whole farm/ranch goal to better analyze design possibilities for improved return on investment. Participants developed management consideration lists, land plan options, explored tool options and the return on investment of the different land planning options using the Holistic Management decision making framework and considering how such options will affect land productivity.
The Financial Planning Module, also taught by Phil Metzgar, focused on key financial principles that helped participants create a budget for themselves as well as for their future businesses. This simple approach to financial planning assisted participants to understand the big picture view as well as make critical production decisions based on a clear sense of cost of production for different enterprises. Participants were able to develop a financial plan and identify ways to implement and monitor that plan. The participants learned the key economic analysis tools for improved financial decisions for both annual budgets and long-term investment.
In the Marketing and Business Planning Module, Cindy Dvergsten led the apprentices through the basics of developing a marketing and business plan. The apprentices were given the opportunity to explore different business models and marketing options so they can more effectively create marketing and business plan outlines for their future operations. Participants were taught how to determine the right price for their products and how to use the financial information they gained in the Holistic Financial Planning Module to prioritize key investments in their future businesses.
|Key Outcomes of Program
|Overall satisfaction with the course
|Your ability to improve the ecosystem health of your farm/ ranch
|Your ability to incorporate natural resource management
into your operation
|Do you feel more confident in how to create a marketing
|Do you feel more confident in how to create a business plan?
|Do you feel more confident in how to create a land plan?
|Improved ability to monitor your farm/ranch financial plan
|Improved decision making ability
|Do you intend to change management practices as a result of this training
|Improved business planning skills
What will you do with what you learned from this program to make you more successful?
|I’m considering cutting out some ventures that I had previously thought would be profitable, and including others that I think would be more so. I will include the management team in decision making and continually use our holistic goal and the triple bottom line as a guide.
|I am hoping to find a position on an operation that practices Holistic Management in order to really be able to put many of these concepts to work in a real world setting.
|This program has changed my perspective from the intense agriculture mindset that I received during university and I will continue to educate myself on holistic management to ensure my land and my business become more than just a hobby, but a healthy lifestyle for my family, my animals and my land.
|I will use the holistic context and come back to the key questions when making decisions
|I will think holistically and reference a lot of the worksheets and manual as I start my own farm.
|I will utilize the holistic goal I created to help plan and form my farm business so that I can create the quality of life I am looking for.
What did you like best about the online training program?
|Being enabled to see things more from an holistic perspective. I feel like I’m standing on a more solid foundation, because I can see the whole and have all my bases covered; whereas before I had a more “scattered feeling” about our venture.
|I appreciated the real examples of assignments from places like San Juan Ranch. That helped make the work more understandable and relevant. I also think that the call in session is great and am glad that the recorded version is put up afterward as I actually wasn’t able to call in to most of them due to work.
|The opportunity to go at my own pace – Some weeks were busier and I was able to concentrate on life, and catch up in alternate weeks. I also liked the potential that Slack provided. Unfortunately, I didn’t end up “clicking” with someone, but the opportunity was there!
|Some of the additional video materials – those I enjoyed most
|I liked the intro course the best. Creating a holistic goal and using that to make decisions and create a plan.
|Learning about biological monitoring and learning how to create a holistic goal were most helpful for me
What was your greatest learning experience in this online training program?
|Its hard to pick one. The land planning and biological monitoring module helped reinforce and solidify my permaculture training. Also the testing questions are going to be helpful in my future decisions. The financial planning opened up my mind to a whole lot of issues I had never considered. It was very valuable.
|I think that my greatest experience may have been learning to consider just managing myself/career through marketing rather than trying to use other folks partial numbers in a hypothetical context.
|I really liked getting out “into the field” and monitoring plant species. This truly hands-on exercise got me out, moving around my land and researching what plants were growing there! I usually always tell myself I’ll do it, but never find the time.
|Maybe the biological monitoring – that was for me the most interesting with the most learning from the reading materials
|Just the exposure to knew thoughts and ways of doing was a constant reminder to be creative and innovative
|Learning about how to biologically monitor land