On October 21, 2023, Holistic Management International, Dixon Water Foundation, and Leo Ranch hosted the Ranching for Resilience Workshop in Decatur, Texas. The event brought together 24 individuals from diverse backgrounds to explore the intersection of sustainable ranching practices and environmental conservation. Of those, 20 were rancher/landowners and 15 were limited resource and/or small acreage landowners. Together, the group impacts 9,581 acres. Throughout the day, participants engaged in discussions and field tours, contributing their unique perspectives and knowledge to the tapestry of understanding.
The workshop began with Hilary Knight, Vice President of Operations at Dixon Water Foundation tracing the organization’s history, highlighting their past efforts and how they have shaped sustainable practices in ranching.
HMI Certified Educator Linda Pechin-Long then shared information on grazing techniques that aim to improve range health. Her expertise provided a detailed insight into methodologies that focus on sustaining and improving the health of grazing lands for animal performance and profitability.
After lunch, Wayne Knight, Executive Director of HMI led a field tour where he efficiently managed discussions on monitoring the health of the range, emphasizing the importance of informed observation and data-driven decisions to ensure sustainable land management practices. Linda Pechin-Long also demonstrated a quick and efficient method to measure forage, known as STAC, which sparked interest as a practical tool to assess forage levels, a key element in optimizing grazing strategies.
During the field tour, attendees had the opportunity to witness the noticeable disparities between set-stocked and holistically managed pastures. The stark contrasts they observed highlighted the significant positive impact of Holistic Management practices on the land, providing tangible evidence of how thoughtful stewardship can revitalize and sustain ecosystems.
Average participants’ self-reported knowledge gain increased by 73% on the topics discussed during the workshop.
Thanks to the National Grazing Land Coalition, whose funding made the workshop possible, and to the Dixon Water Foundation for their expertise and resources that amplified the workshop’s impact.