After two full days of inspiring presentations and invigorating discussions at the Regenerate Conference, 60 conference attendees gathered for HMI’s post conference workshop on Regenerative Grazing. Participants came from locations ranging from New York to California, Canada to Texas, and as far away as Australia. They were led by a diverse team of experienced HMI Certified Educators to delve into their personal challenges with applying holistic planned grazing on the properties they manage (totaling about 83,000 acres).
Starting off, Jonathan and Kaylyn Cobb of Green Fields Farm shared their experiences with Holistic Management in Central Texas. They have been able to return to the multi-generational farm by converting from the industrial row cropping model to perennial pastures and planned grazing. They shared the exciting soil health regeneration they are seeing on their land, and the promise of refining their enterprise mix to meet financial, ecological, and quality of life goals.
In the afternoon, Louis Martin of Round River Resource Management shared his holistic goal, setting up the infrastructure to apply planned mob grazing, and the excellent results he’s see due to his management on the Brett Gray Ranch.
These examples provided the background for more specific discussions about participants’ individual situations. Numerous sessions of small group work led by the Certified Educators allowed for in-depth discussions. For beginners, there were small group sessions to address getting started in Holistic Management. The small group sessions were punctuated by panel discussions involving the entire group.
Overall, participants reported:
100% satisfaction with event
100% satisfaction with the facilitator(s)
83% intent to change management practices
A summary of participant comments:
What participants liked best:
The panel was top notch
Hearing from real practitioners makes all the difference
Access to people with lots of experience and tools; access to so many experienced CEs
Diversity of topics and farms
Open dialogue among experts
Great instructors, energy, passion, dedication, and shared person
Getting y personal ranch questions answered – it’s much more helpful than theoretical info
Ability to discuss with experts the specific issues on our ranch
Participants’ greatest learning experience:
How to get started
How to build infrastructure
Learning about potentials above and beyond our financial means (land trusts)
How to define what I want out of my operation
How to plan backwards to reach my ultimate goal
Water infrastructure ideas for cold areas
Need to pay more attention to planning, my holistic goal
Recovery periods, testing soil biology
How participants intend to change management practices:
Develop big future goals to work towards
Managing lambing ewes differently
Move to single herd and move faster; better grazing planning
Responsible irrigation infrastructure before planning grazing
Higher density and movement of animals; longer recovery times
Monitor plants I want/need to help decide management practices
Better forms of communication and better ways to keep track of progress
Monitoring grass; doubling some of my recovery periods
Many thanks to the Thornburg Foundation for sponsoring this workshop.
A special thanks to the Cobbs of Green Fields Farm and Louis Martin of Round River Resource Management for providing the case studies for the day.
Much gratitude to our esteemed panel of Certified Educators for sharing their wealth of knowledge and experience: Ben Bartlett, Cindy Dvergsten, Kirk Gadzia, Guy Glosson, Wayne Knight, Roland Kroos, and Brian Luce.
Also a note of thanks to Panorama Organic Grass-fed Meats and Kathy Harris for donating food items for the lunch.