Regenerative Agricultural Practices that Restore & Revitalize Arid Lands
Saturday October 12, 2019 — 9:00AM – 4:00PM — $30 (includes lunch!)
Rio Fernando Park – Taos, New Mexico
What to Expect:
- Learn how Holistic Management enables producers to clearly identify & meet their goals, make better decisions and enjoy the benefits of regenerative agriculture
- Meet long time Holistic Management practitioner George Whitten of the San Juan Ranch, a certified organic, grass-fed beef ranch, and hear how he has used regenerative practices to revive the health of his soil
- Hear from park land manager Ben Wright and learn about his experiments in soil health to restore parts of the Rio Fernando Park property
- Take part in hands-on exercises to learn about the health of the soil
- Tour Rio Fernando Park and learn about cover cropping & biological monitoring
- Hear from local organizations making a positive impact in the community through farming/ranching
- Learn why soil health is so critical to productivity
- Discuss management techniques for wildlife habitat (prairie dogs, beavers, birds)
- See different methods of erosion control & water retention
- Enjoy a delicious lunch featuring local ingredients
Agenda coming soon!
George Whitten, Owner/Operator, San Juan Ranch
George Whitten and his wife, Julie Sullivan, manage and operate the San Juan Ranch and Blue Range Ranches near Saguache, Co. Since 1985, George has worked as a ranch consultant. His numerous consulting contracts as a range management and grazing specialist, are based on his Holistic approach to rangeland and soil health on irrigated land. He actively works with several Farmers and Ranchers in Colorado and New Mexico to reintroduce grazing animals to farmland to improve soil biology and overall profitability for both enterprises.
George is the founding member and forage manager for the Sweet Grass Coop. He has worked with Coleman Natural Beef as a supplier of Certified Organic Beef through OCIA ( Organic Crop Improvement Association ) before current USDA standards were adopted. George served the San Luis Valley farming and ranching for 18 years, as a board member and President of the Rio Grande Water Conservation District. He retired from the board in 2014 to devoted more time to his ranching passion.
He has given numerous presentations about land management practices that are holistic in nature and benefit people, land and animals. George’s operation as served as the host ranch and mentor for Quivira Coalition, New Agrarian Program from 2003 to present. This program embraces young farmers and ranchers, by giving them both insight and experience in operating a working ranch.
George has received numerous awards over the years for innovative grazing and land practices, these include: 2013 October Edition of Society for Range Management article, Strategic Management for Complex Systems; 2006 Clarence Burch Award, Quivira Coalition, Santa Fe NM; 2003 Leopold Award Finalist; Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust, Sand County Foundation
His philosophy and ethic has been the subject of numerous articles about the work he has done. These include a feature on the family ranch in the book The Last Ranch: A Colorado Community and the Coming Desert, Pantheon, New York, 1996. His work has also been featured in newspapers and other media, including: Santa Fe New Mexican, Los Angeles Times, Headwaters, High Country News, Intelligent Life (publication of The Economist). Most recently he was featured in November 2014 edition of National Geographic, article entitled, Carnivores Dilemma, part of a series of articles on food production and sustainability. He was also named the 1990 Conservationist of the year, Center Soil Conservation District.
Ben Wright, Education and Land Projects Coordinator, Rio Fernando Park, Taos Land Trust
Ben has lived worked in New Mexico since 1996, transforming towards his current position as Education and Land Projects Coordinator for Rio Fernando Park. As an ISA certified arborist with experience in community tree care and community landscape stewardship, he has found a home with the Taos Land Trust in the agricultural and ecological restoration projects of the Rio Fernando Park lands.
Shawn Howard, Owner/Operator, Lazy M 7 Ranch & Elevation Coffee, Taos NM
Shawn started hi regenerative path 4 years ago when he happened upon the Allan Savory ted talk about desertification and the use of livestock as a tool to restore grasslands. That turned on a light bulb for him and he has immersed himself into learning through books, youtube videos and observing his own land . He has 250 acres in Angel Fire, NM that was severely degraded pasture, and he has been working to regenerate this land using intensive mob grazing and cover crops. He thinks having not been raised on a farm or ranch has allowed him to not have any preconceived notions, but an open mind to new(old) ways of thinking.
Don Peters, Executive Director, Not Forgotten Outreach
Roberta Salazar, Executive Director, Rivers & Birds
Passion for her cultural roots and natural heritage in New Mexico, combined with a professional understanding of nature, inspired Roberta to found Rivers & Birds after a 17-year career as a wildlife biologist for the federal government.
“Celebrating Earth with others through outdoor experiences in nature, we honor life in a way that is joyful, meaningful, and connects to the spirit of all life. Teaching the interconnection of living systems is key to sustainability.”
Advanced registration is $30 per person (includes lunch). Online registration closes October 9, 2019. Walk in registration is $35 per person, if available.
Student & Military DISCOUNTS available! Email Stephanie for more information!
Register soon, as we have limited space available. Sorry, registration fees are non-refundable.
If you are unable to register online, please fill out the HMI Event Registration Form and mail along with your check or money order to:HMI Registration Dept.
5941 Jefferson St. NE, Ste B
Albuquerque, NM 87109
This is a rain or shine event. Please bring appropriate clothing, footwear and a water bottle. For biosecurity reasons please do not bring any dogs.
About the Park:
410 La Posta Rd
Taos, NM 87571
The Rio Fernando Park is a 20-acre parcel owned by the Taos Land Trust in Taos, New Mexico. Located one mile from the center of downtown, the property contains 7 acres of wetlands and wetland riparian areas that hug the Rio Fernando de Taos. The property is located in the Town of Taos, between the Rio Fernando and La Posta Road southwest of downtown. It is bounded on the north and east by La Posta Road, on the south by residential properties and on the west by Fred Baca Park and Camino del Medio Rd. This wetland connects to a broader wetland, spilling out into the adjacent Fred Baca public park and downstream to the Rio Pueblo that feeds the Rio Grande.
The remainder of the property has approximately 13 acres of urban forest and land once used for agriculture and ranching. The property was owned for hundreds of years by the Romo family and was left without any management for over 25 years.
The result is a dominance of invasive tree species and noxious weeds, the degradation of the acequia (the Spanish system of open ditch water conveyance introduced 500 years ago), and overgrowth that has made much of the riparian area around the river and wetland ecologically challenged and difficult to access.
Special thank you to our funder for making this day possible:
Thank you to our host and collaborators:
Sponsor This Series:
Our Open Gate series offers organizations, agencies and businesses a great opportunity to network with farmers, ranchers and consumers interested in sustainable agricultural ideas, products and services. We offer a variety of affordable Sponsorship Opportunities to connect you with our community. Please email Stephanie von Ancken at [email protected] for more information.