Lisa Clouston & Greg Wood
Both Lisa and Greg Clouston were raised on farms. Lisa was born and raised on a small old fashioned farm, and her husband Greg was born on the farm they currently live on. They were struggling to make a living on their farm which included both cattle and cropping businesses. Fuel and fertilizer costs were skyrocketing and Greg had begun to experience health problems in large part due to the stress of trying to make a living on the farm. Lisa and Greg were seriously considering leaving the farm when Lisa heard about Holistic Management from her sister and took a series of classes four years ago from Holistic Management Certified Educator, Don Campbell.
“The training we received completely changed how we looked at farming on our land. I can’t believe the impact it had on us. We went from packing it in to being optimistic.”
Within four months of implementing Holistic Management, Lisa and Greg began to see results by way of dramatic grass growth. When they analyzed their business, they realized that it made more sense to sell their tractor, reduce their mixed cropping operation and focus more on cattle. As a result, they were able to cut their fuel costs by two-thirds while cutting machinery maintenance costs as well.
Lisa states that the social benefits of Holistic Management have been wonderful. They have regular family meetings to review their progress and she is part of a robust community that meets on a monthly basis. She states, ” The Holistic Management framework is the most important aspect of Holistic Management. It’s what brought about so much change for us.”
“We now have lots of fun.”
“The neighbors thought were crazy”, says Lisa. “Once we had so much grass we had to stand on the hood of my truck to see the cows that were 10 feet away!” Like many farmers and ranchers across North America, Lisa’s area is experiencing the effects of a drought. But she and Greg’s farm is in much better shape than their neighbors. “Some of our neighbors only have one inch of grass and we have literally three feet.”
“I can’t speak loud and often enough about the benefits of Holistic Management. It turns around depletion in the soil and helps reduce our carbon foot print”
As a result, Spring Creek Farm stands in stark comparison to much of the surrounding farmland that hasn’t been managed holistically. Lisa says, “The houses stand empty because the family farmers have left and the land is being managed by large agricultural operations. On a windy day, you can see the soil blowing by because the land is undernourished and over grazed. There simply isn’t enough grass, roots and compost to hold it in place.”
“Holistic Management united everything we do and gave us a framework to see into the future which has allowed us to have more cattle, pigs, sheep and chickens. We’ve also found a way to start cropping again. We’re polycropping flax, barley, oats, wheat as well as clover,” says Lisa. In fact, business is doing so well that Lisa and Greg can’t currently raise enough cattle and food to keep up with the demand. “We would have gone out of business without the training we received. We just couldn’t see a way out by using conventional farming methods.”
Lisa and Greg have not only saved the farm for themselves, but they are also preserving it for their four children. Three of their kids are studying agriculture in college and plan to farm in the future. “Our kids can return to it and live profitably,” says Lisa. “This is the only thing that makes sense if you want sustainable farming.”
“I’m so impressed with the whole HMI organization.”