On a beautiful New Mexico day, with ominous rain clouds in the distance and a nice breeze, 57 ranchers attended McAuliffe Ranch Day, in Raton, New Mexico.
The morning presentations took place at the NRA Whittington Center, where McAuliffe Ranch owners Pam and Dan Harkness talked about how their late brother Tim was a pioneer of Holistic Management in the area.
Holistic Management Certified Educator Kirk Gadzia then provided participants with an overview of Holistic Management, along with how management and timing of grazing affects grasses, grass growth, recovery periods, and why grazing planning is important.
Next, Duke Phillips, CEO of Ranchlands, a ranching business that that runs cattle and buffalo on native ranges, spoke about his passion for educating young people, and giving them the opportunity to really learn hands-on.
Following Duke was Tom Lasater, manager of Lasater Grasslands Beef, which sources cattle from ranches ranging from Montana to New Mexico. Tom spoke to participants about marketing grassfed beef and the value of organic certification, and also donated five packages of grassfed beef that were raffled off to early registrants.
Kirk then gave more information on grazing planning and answered questions, including a discussion about how to factor wildlife into grazing planning.
The afternoon was spent on the land, with attendees participating in a monitoring exercise, including observations about small patches of pasture with dead grass that are remnants of the last drought. Participants also learned about forage assessment. Kirk explained how to work ‘backwards’ to determine how much forage had been taken by knowing the number of cows, size of the paddock, and how long they had grazed. Several volunteers then stepped out the size of the area that had fed one cow for one day. Attendees later went down to the riparian area to see the effects of grazing, which showed a lot of plant growth on the banks whose roots were working to hold soil in place.
The day ended with a return to the McAuliffe Ranch headquarters, where cookies and watermelon were served on the patio, along with an opportunity for discussion and networking.
Here’s what some of the participants had to say about the event:
“Very well done for those with little or no knowledge and those with knowledge of Holistic Management practices.”
“Excellent event. I enjoyed and learned from the entire day.”
Here are some of the results from the event:
Program Impact & Improved Knowledge
|% of Participants|
|Would recommend event to others||100%|
|Intend to learn more about Holistic Planned Grazing||100%|
|Overall program satisfaction||94%|
|Intend to complete biological monitoring on land||93%|
A special thanks to The McCune Foundation and The Thornburg Foundation for providing funding for this program.
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