On September 7th, 67 people attended the V6 Ranch Open Gate Event: Innovative Practices to Continue the Ranching Lifestyle, which took place in Parkfield, California.
The day started at the Parkfield Café, where Program Director and Holistic Management Certified Educator Kathy Harris introduced HMI and Holistic Management.
Next, V6 Ranch owner Jack Varian talked about his reputation as a “tree-hugging cowboy” and how a conservation easement was able to preserve the land for future generations. Jack also spoke about the ranch tourism business that his son John and wife Barbara started
Royce Larsen, University of California Cooperative Extension – Area Watershed and Natural Resource Advisor on the California Central Coast, spoke about innovative treatments for chemise and tumbleweeds, including dozer, fire (but leaves bare soil) flail shredder, and ball and chain. Next, Devii Rao, Livestock and Natural Resources Advisor with the University of California Cooperative Extension, talked about a recent tumbleweed study, and how they can be great forage for cattle.
Attendees then headed over to Durham Ranch to view the grassfed beef operation. Keston Giudici of L.A. Hearne Company shared some information on soil health monitoring with a penetrometer and use of a refractometer to measure Brix, along with the importance of soil health.
After a lunch of V6 grassfed beef burgers, John and Barbara Varian talked about their horse related events, and how much of the infrastructure (showers, corrals, meeting area) was built with free, recycled or discarded materials – again using innovation to cut costs.
Next, Kathy Harris discussed ecosystem processes. A tour of the V6 Ranch followed, with Jack sharing details about the land, including pointing out growth in a riparian area and a copse of oak trees that were regenerating. The day ended with a discussion about conservation easements led by Daniel Sinton.
Here are some of the results from the V6 Ranch Open Gate:
Program Impact & Improved Knowledge
|% of Participants|
|Would recommend event to others||100%|
|Overall program satisfaction||100%|
|Intend to manage landscape to improve soil health||93%|
|Intend to change management practices||90%|
|Intend to biologically monitor land||79%|
Participants said the following about the event:
“Very nicely done!”
“Very positive, creative, energetic group of people.”
“Fantastic, more than I expected.”
“Wonderful. Great learning experience with great food and passionate people.”
HMI would like to thank Sallie Calhoun/The Christiano Family Fund and the 11th Hour Project for funding this event. We would also like to thank our partners and collaborators; V6 Ranch, Work Family Guest Ranch, California Rangeland Trust, University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources, San Benito Working Landscapes Group, and NRCS – Salinas Service Center