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healthy land. sustainable future. NOVEMBER / DECEMBER 2009



Healing the Land for 25 Years—


The 3R Ranch by Ann Adams


eeves and Betsy Brown have been holistically managing the 3R Ranch in Beulah, Colorado since 1985 when they took their first Holistic Management course from Kirk Gadzia and Allan Savory. Their passion for the ranching life and for improving land health is evident in everything they do. The results they have achieved are a reflection of that passion.

Land Planning Implementation The 3R Ranch is approximately 10,360 acres (4,144 ha). Of that, there is 5,110 acres (2,044 ha) in grazable forest, 4,530 acres (1,812 ha) in rangeland, and 720 acres (288 ha) of irrigated pasture and hayland. The elevation ranges from 7,800 to 5,700 feet (2,364 to 1,727 m). The timing in 1981 was perfect for the Browns to buy the 3R. “I had always wanted to live in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains; it took 14 years of stock farming in Central Texas and a really generous financial offer on our 1,100 acres (440 ha) before Reeves was willing to move with me to the Rockies,” says Betsy. “I looked from the Canadian to the Mexican border with all our wish list in mind. After two months of looking at ranches, the realtor and I passed by this ranch which the realtor said was ridiculous to show me as we could not afford it. As we drove through the 3R Ranch, I told the realtor that this was ‘it,’ all the criteria that we wanted in a ranch. So we offered the Hunt Brothers from Dallas half their asking price in cash and they took our offer. They had just had their big silver failure and were in real financial trouble. “We bought the ranch in September 1981. We wanted good


land that would grow good grasses and adequate irrigation water to raise hay for the cattle, and good water for cattle and a decently long growing season. “Our first HRM (Holistic Management) class was the two-week class that Kirk Gadzia and Allan Savory co-taught in Albuquerque in August 1985. Reeves and I both went to the class together which was absolutely needed since we are both totally involved in working and managing the ranch.” After their training, the Browns began to put into practice the ideas they had learned as they began to develop infrastructure, slowly. “After the class in 1985 we were so overwhelmed with all the possibilities that we asked Kirk to come to the ranch and help us line out a starting point and follow up steps which he did in the fall of 1985,” says Betsy. “With our first holisticgoal in hand we started the grazing plan, did a little electric fencing, and began our planned grazing the following spring with all the cows in one herd. “We kept dividing the pastures into 100-acre increments as time and money for fencing would allow until now where we have 68 divisions. The ranch went from 16 acres (6.4 ha) to run one cow to 7.6 acres (3 ha) per cow. When we bought the ranch, the manager was running about 600 cows for the summer season. We now have 650 cows and 150 replacement heifers for the whole year.” The Browns doubled their stocking rate by averaging two to five day grazing periods, keeping a minimum of a 90-day recovery period, and feeding their hay out on the rangelands in the winter when snow covers the ground. In CONTINUED ON PAGE 2

Nebraska is a hotbed of Holistic Management with a Certified Educator training program bringing new energy, experience, and knowledge into the network. Turn to page 16 to learn more about that training program.

FEATURE STORIES Soil Carbon Sequestration Champions—The Marin Carbon Project CHRISTOPHER PECK . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4

Data Mine: Different Viewpoints of Multi-Paddock Grazing Managers and Researchers RICHARD TEAGUE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 6

Dealing with Peer Pressure— Starting to Manage Holistically BRUCE WARD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8

Soil can Store Methane


LAND and LIVESTOCK Growing Grass with Goats KELLY BONEY . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10

Invest in Biological Capital— Looking Beyond the Drought DON CAMPBELL . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12

Planned Grazing & Herding for Rangeland Health MATT BARNES . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12

T-Posts and Thistles RALPH TATE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13

Grazing Planning— There Has To Be An Easier Way RALPH TATE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14

Forage Evaluation Tool—The Fritzler’s Ring TERRY GOMPERT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15

Nebraska Grazing & Training Event TERRY GOMPERT . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16

NEWS and NETWORK Development Corner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Grapevine . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18 Certified Educators . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Marketplace . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20

healthy land. sustainable future.

Holistic Management International works to reverse the degradation of private and communal land used for agriculture and conservation, restore its health and productivity, and help create sustainable and viable livelihoods for the people who depend on it. STAFF Peter Holter, Chief Executive Officer Tracy Favre, Senior Director/ Contract Services Jutta von Gontard, Senior Director / Philanthropy Kelly King, Chief Financial Officer Ann Adams, Managing Editor, IN PRACTICE and Director of Educational Products and Outreach Maryann West, Manager of Administration and Executive Support Donna Torrez, Customer Service Manager Mary Girsch-Bock, Educational Products & Outreach Assistant Valerie Gonzales, Administrative Assistant

BOARD OF DIRECTORS Ben Bartlett, Chair Ron Chapman, Past Chair Roby Wallace, Vice-Chair Gail Hammack, Secretary Christopher Peck, Treasurer Sallie Calhoun Mark Gardner John Hackley Jim McMullan Ian Mitchell Innes Jim Parker Dennis Wobeser Jesus Almeida Valdez

Jody Butterfield

ADVISORY COUNCIL Robert Anderson, Corrales, NM Michael Bowman,Wray, CO Sam Brown, Austin, TX Lee Dueringer, Scottsdale, AZ Gretel Ehrlich, Gaviota, CA Dr. Cynthia O. Harris, Albuquerque, NM Leo O. Harris, Albuquerque, NM Edward Jackson, San Carlos, CA Clint Josey, Dallas, TX Doug McDaniel, Lostine, OR Guillermo Osuna, Coahuila, Mexico Soren Peters, Santa Fe, NM Jim Shelton, Vinita, OK York Schueller, Ventura, CA Africa Centre for Holistic Management Tel: (263) (11) 404 979 Huggins Matanga, Director The David West Station for Holistic Management Tel: 325/392-2292 • Cel: 325/226-3042 Joe & Peggy Maddox, Ranch Managers HOLISTIC MANAGEMENT IN PRACTICE (ISSN: 1098-8157) is published six times a year by Holistic Management International, 1010 Tijeras NW, Albuquerque, NM 87102, 505/842-5252, fax: 505/843-7900; email:; website: Copyright © 2009



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the process they changed the landscape. As Betsy notes, “Our land changed, especially with the planned intensive grazing. When we bought this ranch in 1981, it was basically a grama grass country, with approximately 30-40% bare ground. Now the medium tall grasses such as wheat grass have moved in and increased our total pounds of harvestable vegetation hugely. We’ve also seen smooth brome, side oats grama, and even some bluestem come in. Bare ground has diminished vastly down to 10% with lots of clover and alfalfa in the pastures.” The Browns also developed their irrigation system. Hay is cut then baled into big bales in mid to late June with an average yield of three tons per acre (7.5 tons/ha). Hayland species are smooth brome (70%), orchard grass and alfalfa, with a protein rate of 12-14% because they cut at an early bloom. They have developed a center pivot sprinkler system that runs on gravity pressure to reduce energy costs. They laid about 1.5 miles (2.5 km) of pipeline from a stream and put a pivot filter at the beginning of the pipeline. The 220-foot (67m) drop creates enough gravity pressure for the pivot and the only energy cost is the electric motor that creates the hydraulic pressure to move the pivot.

Challenges and Opportunities

FOUNDERS Allan Savory

The 3R Ranch

In 2002 Colorado was in a drought. Without moisture, the ground was simply not putting forth grass. To protect the crowns of the grass plants, the Browns moved the cows to a feedlot in Pueblo County and then to Oklahoma for 2-1/2 years. Betsy says, “I really credit the learning through Holistic Management with Plan-Control-MonitorReplan with getting quick action going to see the need and act on the need to move.” Reeves adds, “We were able to remain in the black during that time, although our profit margin was reduced. We wanted to maintain the herd genetics we had built over the years without sacrificing the land.” The replanning they did helped them keep the herd intact and protect the land. People around them tried to tough it out and everything suffered. The land and animals looked terrible and when those around them finally sold their cattle, the prices were poor. Keeping those genetics was critical as the Browns had moved their cow herd from a multicolored and multi-breed group to a far more productive group of cattle as they bought into U.S. Premium Beef (a closed coop that owns packing houses and is the fourth largest packer in the U.S.) and marketed their cattle through that channel. “With the kind help of the feedlot owner,

November / December 2009

The 3R Ranch is now home to the Browns and the Broadwells (two families making a living from this ranch). Back row from left to right: Heather Broadwell and Betsy Brown. Front row from left to right: Stephen Broadwell, Reeves Brown, and Sadie Broadwell. a veterinarian, and a bull producer in Kansas, we have taken the "mutt" herd of cows to a vastly improved herd that consistently earn us premiums (approximately $40-70/head) on the grid that we sell on at the packing house,” says Betsy. When grain prices were high and the cost per pound of gain was in the upper $.80’s, they were able to keep a reasonable profit margin with the premiums earned on the grid. Stephen Broadwell, with whom the Browns manage the 3R, has all the cows on the Cow Sense computer program and they cull cows and select replacement heifers with this information.

The People Part As anyone who as practiced Holistic Management knows, the human resource management can be the toughest part of this management transition. It was no different for the Browns. “I think the biggest challenges that we faced were personal growth and husband/wife growth that were opened up as a Pandora Box from our holisticgoal and the training through what was then the Center for Holistic Resource Management (now HMI),” says Betsy. “We continued to take all the courses offered, and there was massive pain and gain from these learnings. Basically Reeves saw himself as the man in charge—his right—and I wanted respect and to have input that was accepted. I would not want to go through the process again, it was long and hard. The equality has happened, but I have to put my number 10 boots down often yet.” When asked how this transition was for Reeves, he noted, “Satisfying and painful. That process allowed Betsy’s latent abilities to flourish. We pull in the harness together now and the ranch is better off because of that.”


n 1986 after the Browns had completed their first Holistic Management training, they began fencing and amalgamating cows into one herd and grazing for short periods with adequate recovery periods. The Well Pasture on the 3R Ranch had been an old field. In the 1950s it was planted to crested wheat grass and that pasture spent the next 35 years blowing to the east. There was no top soil left in 1986, just dead-centered wheat grass plants on pedestals with bushel basket size crusted bare ground between the plants of wheat grass. There were no weeds in the bare ground. Betsy notes, “We had to be brave and put the cows in this pasture and cause as much cattle impact as reasonable. The cows were not very happy, but . . . we needed their help to bring this pasture back to life.” The following photos show this progress over a ten-year period.

When the Browns first started managing holistically in 1985, the land was predominantly capped bare ground with no top soil, dominated by crested wheat grass on eroded pedestals with dead centers.

1995, the crested wheat seedlings continue to increase.

With a holisticgoal and working together as a team, the Browns were able to enjoy the beauty of their ranch, improving the vegetation, improving their cattle herd, and as their debt load was laid aside, being able to spend time and money improving the ranch—fences, irrigation, buildings, and erosion control. They also were able to look at other opportunities on their ranch. About half of their land is timbered, so for the last 15 years they have had two men timbering this rough, heavilytimbered land. The Browns like having these men living on the mountainous part of the ranch for security, and for their work in thinning the timber. The dollars to the ranch from the sale of the timber are helpful to the budget, but it is the improvement to the health of the forest that is the motivator. Harvesting the timber slowly allows for a small, steady income and a continuous job for these two men and the logging truck driver. It may not be as profitable as the cow herd, but the Browns appreciate the sustainable nature it which it is being harvested. These men also do guided hunts for bear, elk, and deer. Having the money to hire good people to work with them on the ranch, people who are skilled and who they genuinely

By 2001, bare ground has greatly diminished and there are no dead centers. Alfalfa and clovers are in the forage mix now.

enjoy sharing the work and play, is an important component of the Browns’ quality of life. The Browns hired Stephen and Heather Broadwell to manage the ranch with them as the Browns focused on improving the people part of their holisticgoal and addressing the issue of getting and keeping reliable help. They could have probably handled all the ranch duties, but they wanted to give others the opportunity to enjoy this lifestyle and possibly pass the ranch on to them. The Broadwells had been living on the East Coast where agriculture and farm land is disappearing at a fast rate, so they began to search for ranching opportunities in southern Colorado. After meeting Reeves and Betsy and seeing how they strove to improve all aspects of agriculture, they decided that the 3R Ranch is where they wanted to call home. They took their first Holistic Management training in February 2008. The Broadwells have found that being involved in all aspects of the ranch and working as a team to achieve group goals, as well as being able to work together as a family, as a very rewarding experience. “Getting up every morning and looking outside at the physical beauty of the foothills of the Rockies and then going outside to see the day,

Five years later, the land was beginning to show progress with Western Wheat seedlings coming in between the crested wheat grass on pedestals.

This photo was taken in September 2009 after having been grazed one month earlier. It had been a very dry month since the grazing.

tending to the cattle, I truly love working with the cattle,” says Betsy. “They are great joys to me. Through Holistic Management we learned of and went to several Bud Williams cattle handling seminars and that experience changed us hugely. Handling the cattle calmly and with respect for the animals has been of untold joy for me. I enjoy just sitting in the midst of the cows and lying in the grass watching the cows eat and seeing what plants they are selecting, especially when they have just moved to a fresh pasture. And I anticipate taking the Broadwells’ two-year-old Sadie outside to go with me and play. It’s great having another generation on the ranch.” The Browns are active in numerous organizations, including The Colorado Cattlemen’s Association, Colorado Branch HRM, Pueblo County Stockman’s Association, and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. Their environment has changed from one of rural neighbors in an agricultural community to one of being in a community of 40-acre landowners. They have had to learn to live with this and to share the benefits of their open space, the ranch, so that these new people respect them and their CONTINUED ON PAGE 5

Number 128



Soil Carbon Sequestration Champions— The Marin Carbon Project by Christopher Peck


recently spent a lovely Saturday with John Wick and Peggy Rathmann at their Nicasio, CA ranch, home of the Marin Carbon Project. Their story is a big story, a story of transformation, a love story, an exciting science-based world-changing adventure, and an excellent example of applied Holistic Management. It is also a story of how they came to live with 1,500 bags of soil in their living room.

I wrote an article with Allan Savory on soil carbon sequestration in IN PRACTICE #115 (September 2007) where I calculated that we could pull all of the world’s legacy carbon (what has built up in the atmosphere since 1850 and causes global warming) out of the atmosphere and store it in the soil, by improving our land management techniques. Christine Jones, founder of the Australian company Carbon For Life makes the point well: “The fabulous thing about sequestering carbon in grasslands is that you can keep on doing it forever—you can keep building soil on soil on soil … and there’s no limit to how much soil you can build . . . and, we would only have to improve the stored carbon percentage by one percent on the 415 million hectares (1,025,487,333 acres) of agricultural soil in Australia and we could sequester all of the planet’s legacy load of carbon. It’s quite a stunning figure.” John and Peggy share this global vision, and with their passion it looks like they might try to store it all on their little slice of heaven!

Cows Are Good? John and Peggy didn’t set out to save the world with cows and carbon. They bought a big barn to serve as art studio for Peggy’s work, and the ranch came with it. Peggy is an award-winning children’s book author and illustrator, and if you have kids or grandkids or nieces or nephews, it’s highly likely you’ve read her work. I know I have personally read Good Night Gorilla at least 50 times. John’s a carpenter and has been a project manager for high-end home remodels, skills that continue to serve him. As good environmentalists they moved in and promptly got rid of the animals, as they “knew” that cows were bad for the land. But quickly, within four years, they could see the encroachment of coyote bush on the hillside across from the porch of their house, and their paradigms started to shift. Jeff Creque, PhD, an Agroecology and Rangeland Management Consultant, observed that the land needs animals, and this got them started. 4


A major next step was getting Holistic Management training, and Abe Collins, of Carbon Farmers of America, was called in. He led them through defining their whole and holisticgoal, helped them deepen their realization about how essential animals are to land health, and urged them to use research to guide their practice. Out of this was born the Marin Carbon Project (MCP), an ambitious plan with the vision to “establish land owners and managers as soil carbon sequestration champions by providing economical and ecological solutions to global climate change.” The MCP was born and received funding from several sources, and though it has existed for only a couple years, already has results on the ground.

Do It Big John Wick’s goal is no less than a global revolution, and he knows how to assemble people to do it. He now has representatives of government, academic, agriculture, and environmental organizations participating actively in the MCP, including: Marin Agricultural Land Trust, Marin Organic, Marin Resource Conservation District, University of California, Berkeley, University of California Cooperative Extension, and USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service. John is working closely with several scientists on their research projects at the ranch, research that will determine the most effective means of sequestering large quantities of carbon in soil, quickly. They are doing trials of planned grazing, keyline development with the Yeoman’s plow, compost applications, and overlaps of these and other strategies to see if standalone or combined techniques store the most organic matter. John has also innovated in the technology department, such as scrounging an old army truck and outfitting it with two water tanks for an inexpensive and easy-to-manage mobile watering unit. They purchased a Yeoman’s plow to help open up soil compaction and help perennial plant

November / December 2009

roots access infiltrated water and nutrients. They’re using the Tumble Wheel movable electric fence that simplifies strip grazing. And they’re using the best of ultra-high density planned grazing, long recovery periods, and obsessive monitoring. John is out in the field pulling soil samples before and after animals utilize a paddock, with more detailed analysis to follow on a specified plan. It’s a rare rancher (or farmer or business person for that matter) who can persevere on testing, monitoring, testing, monitoring. There’s no question that planned grazing works; I’ve experienced it first hand, and I imagine you have too. But how many of us have rigorously tested which combinations of grazing, land shaping, amendments, grazing duration and intensity, and more provide the biggest bang for the buck? What might we discover if we continued to test, research and develop? Part of the goal of the Marin Carbon Project is to help demonstrate to Marin County, the state of California, and the whole world really, what is possible in terms of storing carbon in the soil, and demonstrating with solid science as well as grass on the ground, so to speak.

Big Takeaways John stresses four big takeaways: 1) create enclosures, 2) get a researcher involved, 3) test your soil, and 4) bring in volunteers. Enclosures are small areas of pasture, approximately 5m x 5m, (three per treatment area) that are fenced off from the usual treatment and grazing areas so researchers can see what has happened over time in the area that hasn’t been grazed or received compost or had the Yeomans plow or whatever other treatment you’re applying. Hopefully in ten years, if you follow the advice being offered in these pages, you’ll have a hard time finding your enclosures; they’ll be hidden behind all the tall grass! Holistic Management as a movement is realizing the importance of research Get a scientist to help you determine what ought to be

This is what a whole looks like: academics, neighboring ranchers, interns, and grass.

Unknown Possibilities

In 18 months after managing holistically perennial grasses are proliferating. tried, measured and tested. Frank Aragonna of AgroInnovations, who’s worked with HMI on the West Ranch, has many interesting ideas in this regard. Bring in volunteers, but be strategic about it. Too many people too soon create a management burden, but many folks are dying for a connection to the land, for an opportunity to be a part of something that is making a positive difference in the world. Give them that opportunity, and it can create benefits for you too.

The 3R Ranch

When John first started ranching, he was afraid of the animals. He didn’t know them, he hadn’t worked with them, and he didn’t know what to expect. But after working closely together for a year and half, he has “fallen in love,” an emotion I believe is quite common, though perhaps rarely spoken, amongst those who work with animals. John began by sinking enormous steel posts and stringing multiple electric lines to contain the “onslaught” of cattle. Now he barely needs a single hot tape to keep them in. The animals respond to verbal commands and his demeanor more than anything. What if he was intimate enough with the animals that his handling and voice commands could keep them in place? What if he could combine many more herds together and each rancher in the area only worked a month a year, with no fencing, and ever increasing benefit to the land? What if we’ll have to burn coal to keep the Earth warm enough as we lock down all this carbon in the soil? As the land improves and we can smell it breathing in and out, the true meaning of inspiration becomes clear, and our dreams seem less like dreams and more like possibilities we are about to realize. Contact the Marin Carbon Project at

Soil Sampling


egular soil sampling is a crucial element of solid research, but how do you do it quickly and easily? John uses a long auger from Ben Meadows (; he uses the 31/4-inch (12.25-cm) model. The simple Gopher unit goes for approximately $300, around the same price as a point-andshoot camera, another essential item for land managers. The long arm of the auger lets him sample from a range of depths: 10cm, 10-30cm, 30-50cm, and 50cm to a full meter. He bags and tags the samples, dries them and then stores them in his house. He archives samples for use in the future if testing improves or other factors become important in the carbon sequestration game. John’s working with professional soil scientists for soil testing. If that option’s not available, you could have samples tested with Neal Kinsey (see the back of this publication) or from a local testing operation. The University of Massachusetts at Amherst offers soil tests that provide a comprehensive rundown of what your soil contains, only $13 for the version that includes organic matter.

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ranch and see them as good neighbors who have a viewshed that they appreciate and a way of life that they find worth protecting and learning about. When asked how Holistic Management has affected their lives, Betsy says, “Reeves and I have always been very conservative with our money and planned carefully for our income and expenses and savings, but the financial planning forms and now computer bookkeeping have made this process smoother. Even though we no longer have debt, we are equally diligent with posting and monitoring our financial status and sharing that information with the people who work with us. “Because of this monitoring and planning, the ranch can remain profitable in the future. One cannot imagine the changes that will have to be made, but by always being watchful and not stuck in a pattern, the ranch can adapt and move forward wisely. I love learning and applying that new knowledge to the operation of the ranch and our lives. “Holistic Management helped me look at the whole, especially the people part. It’s made us more mellow and appreciate the good people around us. We want them to be a part of the ranch,” she says. “People skills were not my forte, and Don Green’s work on the people stuff [for the Center for Holistic Management] was extremely helpful to me. “To someone who is contemplating ranching today, I would tell them to be really sure that they want to work as hard as it takes to ranch and to tend the land well. Then I would tell them to first get themselves to one of Kirk Gadzia's Holistic Management classes!” In fact, the Browns will be hosting

The 3R Ranch Headquarters. Kirk’s February 2010 Holistic Management course (see page 22). “Holistic Management has allowed us to integrate so many production factors and utilize and improve resources in a way I never thought I could do,” says Reeves. “It’s been the center of all our expectations. It has been monumental. Certainly the land would not have healed the way it has without it.” Betsy & Reeves Brown live in Beulah, Colorado. They can be reached at: (719) 485-3485. Number 128



Different Viewpoints of Multi-Paddock Grazing Managers and Researchers by Richard Teague


aving personally witnessed the benefits of planned, multi-paddock grazing management for many decades in numerous countries and continents and read about many more, it is difficult to understand how many researchers working on this subject suggest that it is not superior to continuous grazing at conservative stocking rates. My work as a research scientist since I graduated in South Africa in 1972 has focused on trying to develop more sustainable use of rangeland. This has allowed me to follow in some detail the research that has been done on multipaddock grazing management in Zimbabwe, South Africa and the U.S.

I have also had the opportunity to travel widely in the world to present at international conferences and have gone out of my way to meet and visit ranchers in various countries in Australasia, southern Africa, and South and North America who practice multi-paddock grazing so I could learn more about the subject from them. This has given me a broad knowledge base from both rancher and research scientist perspectives. In this article, I outline the differences I have observed between researchers and multi-paddock managers. I try to explain how such divergent views have arisen and make some comments that may help facilitate researchers and managers working together for mutual benefit in the future.

Different Worlds When one examines the worlds of the ranchers and grazing management researchers it is apparent that there is little to connect them, even though they are dealing with the same subject. Ranchers need to know answers to practical questions such as: how good is this management option, where is it successful, and what does it take to make it work as well as possible? Successful ranchers manage strategically to achieve the best long-term profitability and ecosystem health. They use basic knowledge of plant physiology and ecology within an adaptive, goal-oriented management strategy to implement planned grazing management. Ranchers must also manage in environments with all the inherent variability of unique landscapes and the vagaries of the weather and market place. So they view grazing schedules and stocking rates as variables to be applied in an adaptive management context to meet a variety of management objectives under constantly changing circumstances. Ranchers evaluate 6


grazing management within the context of total system performance in relation to their own unique goals. In stark contrast, researchers are required to publish as much as possible in journals. They rely on grant funding that usually lasts for only two to three years, and not only do they work on small areas of land, but they deliberately use small treatment plots or paddocks to reduce variability. Consequently they can appear successful without working on details that are relevant to ranchers. Researchers have different goals to ranch managers, and getting the best results from multi-paddock grazing in terms of desired animal or vegetation goals is usually not one of them. They evaluate success of treatments by comparing plant and animal production rather than the effect on ecosystem health and function, the real arbiters of productivity and profitability. Research protocols almost invariably apply grazing variables as fixed “treatments” to avoid confounding “grazing management” with other variables. Stocking rates, grazing schedules and resting/recovery schedules are examples of "treatments" that have been kept constant. Consequently, they do not plan or apply their multi-paddock grazing management in response to changing circumstances or to achieve desirable ecosystem goals.

What It Takes to Succeed It is instructive to examine why successful multi-paddock managers have succeeded. Those who are successful want to use planned grazing, and continue to develop better skills by receiving training and coaching on grazing and related management. In contrast, I have met very few research scientists who have made an effort to develop and apply multi-paddock grazing planning and management skills. Their

November / December 2009

emphasis is almost invariably to apply grazing management as a fixed treatment. This is disastrous in a variable climate and one of the main reasons they have not obtained good results with multi-paddock grazing, when ranchers practicing adaptive management have done so. I like to use a golfing analogy to illustrate the importance of this. To develop competence as a golfer requires training and coaching, practice, and continually working on improvement. Those with some talent for the game can reach single figure handicaps; some even achieve scratch handicaps while more average operators can at least get handicaps in the low double digits. Those who have tried to master golf without training and practice quickly understand that even those with potential can achieve horrible results. It is exactly the same in multi-paddock grazing. Management commitment, training and ability are paramount. How many research scientists have applied even basic good multipaddock grazing management skills to achieve the best soil, plant, and livestock results?

Past Multi-Paddock Research Research has not taken into account plant and animal processes at appropriate spatial and temporal scales, resulting in incorrect interpretations for rangeland management on commercial ranches. The uneven distribution of livestock in continuously grazed large paddocks leads to localized pasture degradation. This is not accommodated in the design of most research studies using small paddock sizes to compare continuous grazing to multi-paddock grazing. Research at a small scale diminishes the degree of selective use and impact that animals have over the landscape. This oversight also assumes spatial homogeneity of forage availability and utilization, which is refuted by a large body of published research at larger scales. Grazing ungulates have an entirely different impact on large landscapes over long periods of time when continuously grazed than that implied in the small temporal and spatial scale studies. At the larger scale of commercial ranches, continuous grazing causes localized patch and

area degradation that escalates with time and with increasing grazing unit size. Although they are not evident at the time-scale of most research projects, these effects are nevertheless instrumental in causing localized degradation that gets worse over years with continuous grazing. At the ranch scale, the damaging effects of area and patch selection on conservation and production goals are minimized by limiting the number or severity of defoliations through short graze periods and providing adequate growing season recovery after grazing. Multi-paddock grazing provides the framework for doing so.

Alternative Paradigms Although most disciplines operate on the tenets of a single major paradigm, considering and comparing more than one paradigm is the best way to generate more complete knowledge. Different paradigms are grounded in fundamentally different assumptions and produce markedly different ways of approaching and building a theoretical base. Accounting for different paradigmatic assumptions within a broader systems approach provides a more comprehensive understanding of the processes of nature, and their constantly changing manifestations. The value of this approach to science-based management is that it keeps open the possibility of new ways of thinking. When researching rangeland grazing management, researchers need to expand their methods of inquiry to include evidence from different sources, including ranch-based information, and constantly check existing hypotheses for any inconsistencies between them and the evidence from other sources. When the discipline of rangeland management began in the early 1900s, the original hypothesis and paradigm for grazing management was based on observations that degradation of the range resource was due solely to excessive livestock numbers. In this paradigm the solution was to reduce numbers to achieve the rule of thumb of “take-half and leave-half” with continuous, year-long grazing. The paradigm of providing regular deferment to improve rangeland was developed later, following the experience of pioneer rancher conservationists and scientists, who had achieved significant range improvement using growing season deferment to allow recovery periods. Early researchers confirmed the success of using growing season deferment, often in conjunction with rotational grazing. In the early 1970s a third paradigm was developed, based on the earlier work and writings

of Andre Voisin and John Acocks involving the use of multi-paddocks per herd at high densities for very short periods at higher stocking rates than traditionally considered sustainable. Subsequently ranchers worldwide have achieved very successful animal productivity and improvement of their vegetation and quality of life using these methods with adaptive management. Even in the face of much evidence, many in the rangeland discipline have rejected these two alternate paradigms. In the case of grazing management, numerous instances from research studies and evidence from scores of ranchers around the world, as Jim Howell has outlined in his recent book, For the Love of Land: Global Case Studies of Grazing in Nature’s Image, provide solid reasons to modify the hypothesis expressed in 2008 by David Briske and coauthors that: there is no reason to favor multi-paddock rotational grazing over continuous grazing and conservative stocking. I believe that the evidence available to us now indicates the following hypothesis is a more accurate alternative: at a ranch management scale, planned multipaddock grazing, when managed to give best vegetation and animal performance, has the potential to produce superior conservation and restoration of resources and ranch profitability.

Researchers and Practitioners Working Together Some Holistic Management practitioners question why any attempt should be made to cooperate with research scientists. HMI and Holistic Management practitioners have made excellent progress in spite of researchers, most of whom do not understand the Holistic Management process at all. I believe there are two good reasons to work with researchers. Firstly, only a very small percentage of ranchers know about the benefits of the Holistic Management® decision process or practice it. Land management would almost certainly improve if more people were convinced of the benefits of the Holistic Management process. This will require verification by independent research before more people would be amenable to adopting the Holistic Management® Framework. Currently, those who may consider it have little scientific evidence to support what HMI preaches and are discouraged from doing so by flawed scientific interpretations and influential people who oppose it. Secondly, while the adaptive management framework of Holistic Management is a workable model, even leading managers would benefit from more information than currently exists. Although planning and execution of management are at the individual ranch level, support and service at

catchment or regional scales would be invaluable. Monitoring is one of the keys to achieving desired results, but is not as widely or comprehensively conducted as it needs to be. A structured, strategic monitoring program at a regional scale could address managers’ requirements directly and provide data to test hypotheses within an experimental framework. Such monitoring would expand our knowledge of the responses to different management decisions and practices at the individual ranch level, where land management decisions are made.

Conclusions We have yet to research adaptive management as a strategy for achieving best multi-paddock grazing outcomes for ecosystem function and resilience, animal performance, wildlife habitat and profit. Research needs to be conducted on the effect of scale on impact over the landscape, over adequate time frames, and in different environments in a manner that answers the critical concerns to ranchers: (1) how good can planned multi-paddock grazing be; (2) where does it work and not work; and (3) how to manage multi-paddock grazing to give best possible results? Research scientists have neither the facilities nor knowledge and management skills to do this without partnering with successful multi-paddock managers. They need to collaborate with leading managers to: (1) verify successes that have been achieved using planned multi-paddock grazing, (2) quantify impacts that can be influenced by management, (3) understand the limits of different management choices in different environments, and (4) improve our knowledge about what management adjustments need to be made in response to changing conditions or unanticipated outcomes. Rangeland social-ecosystems comprise numerous complex interactions that are difficult to anticipate, predict, or control. It is imperative to develop decision frameworks to help people live sustainably within these dynamic ecosystems rather than try to control inherent uncertainties. Future grazing management research must be holistic, straightforward, adaptive and interactive. As Fred Provenza noted, the challenge is to blend science with the local knowledge of people trying to earn livelihoods on landscapes ever unique in time and space. Richard Teague is a professor in the Department of Ecosystem Science and Management at Texas A&M. He can be reached at Texas AgriLife Research, P.O. Box 1658, Vernon, TX 76385 Number 128



Dealing with Peer Pressure— Starting to Manage Holistically by Bruce Ward


ver a good number of years now, many thousands of people on a number of continents have attended training in Holistic Management, presented by a wide range of educators. So, assuming that the core material is sound and that the educators are capable of doing their job, what has stopped an even bigger uptake than has yet been achieved by those trained people and their peers? I can best talk about the situation in Australia and New Zealand, but I expect my comments are true in every other location in the world.

Social challenge is almost certainly the number one inhibitor to change. I mainly work with farm families. They are, by definition, living in their communities, which are “a social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government, and often have a common cultural and historical heritage.” This same definition carries on to say that a community is, “a social, religious, occupational, or other group sharing common characteristics or interests and perceived or perceiving itself as distinct in some respect from the larger society within which it exists.” World-wide, that sounds to me like a description of “the farming community.”

Successional Planning Farm families are distinct in a very important way: world-wide there is a heritage of families passing down the ownership of the underlying land and, simultaneously, the management of the business carried out on that land. In almost every other industry the two are separated. It is comparatively much rarer in other industries for the young to work in the family business. Whilst these dual land and business transitions are widespread in agriculture, they are far too frequently poorly executed. This is often the precursor to the social problem that follows. And none of it is new. For successive generations now, in too few families have the older generation properly worked on how to “get out of the road” of the younger generation. So Father (it is usually him) hangs in, very often because he actually has nothing better to do. Frequently, poor profitability meant the farm occupied every waking hour under his watch. As a result he developed no other interests, and no meaningful project to move on to when the time was right. But here is the irony of it all: In trying to do the right thing the older generation have usually invested substantial time, effort and money into their young as they are schooled, and then sent off to good colleges and universities to gain the 8


best knowledge that agribusiness driven knowledge that money can buy. They return home and put their knowledge to work. Often, their idea is to work like mad, and to get Mum and Dad settled in a new life. For the last 40 or 50 years or so, typically this has seen fences come down, and tractors and boom-sprayers get bigger. New bulls and rams arrive with sexier pedigrees, and with breeding numbers to match. Crossbreeding programs are put in place to extract the maximum ‘per-head’ performance.

The Lost Generation I call these 21 to 29 year-olds, “the lost generation.” Until it hurts enough, they remain impervious to the simple biological truth that in the long run, the model may not be sustainable. At about age 30 they realize that their land is not improving, debt is threatening, and too often, family relationships are fraying. And, Dad is still there. That’s usually when people like me get to meet people like them. These 30 year-olds usually don’t tell anyone they are planning to attend a course, especially one that uses the word “holistic” in its name. In particular, they don’t tell their mates, even though they are pretty sure that some of them are also experiencing similar problems. During the first few days they discover what might be their real problem. They discover the word “biodiversity,” and learn about another, bigger, word called “decision-making.” They begin to work out why things aren’t working as planned, and what changes are required. Sub-consciously they are ready for the changes. They tell themselves that they can do it. And I also tell them they can do it. They leave the course “ten-foot tall and bullet-proof.” But I am not the one who has to go home and tell Dad about all this new stuff. Dad is smart enough and old enough to know that the kid is coming home with stories of even more change, and haven’t we already had enough of that? And we should never forget that the only experience that Dad has is high input agriculture, because

November / December 2009

it has become “conventional agriculture” during his lifetime. Right now, at some level, every member of the family is pretty scared. What they did years ago didn’t work, and now the most recent stuff is not really working as planned. They are running out of room to move. And by the way, Dad still has his hand on the checkbook.

Cloistered Community Here we are, with two generations facing the same problem. Each is deeply ingrained in the same form of agriculture. Each knows that some of their peers are succeeding, at least financially in the short term, but the young, recent graduate of a Holistic Management course now suspects that their success is coming at significant ecological cost. Each has seen people move down the “organic” route and fail as well, and so are pretty wary of that direction. In short, each is very scared at the risk of moving away from what they know. Besides that, even though they have now seen and heard other people tell them that their situation is now better than it was, it is hard to pinpoint exactly what things they have changed. Nobody says, “we just changed this one thing and it all got better!” If we take a helicopter view, it is clear what is happening. Imagine a group of farmers all talking at the barbeque. Outside their garden fence, and the garden fences of all their friends, there is almost certainly a biologically unsound landscape, yet that type of landscape is the only one they can all recall ever seeing. It stands to reason then that if everyone is using essentially the same management approach and experiencing the same difficulties, they will almost certainly deduce that the problem cannot be just their management—there must be something else, such as the weather. They rationalize that their problems are just too common and widespread for them to be sheeted home to their own individual management. In summary, it is not easy in what is effectively a cloistered community of farmers to accept that one’s own management approach has been wrong, and has contributed to the situation, especially when “everyone is doing it this way.” Worse still, it is far, far more difficult to tell your dad that he, too, was wrong. In my view, largely for these social reasons people tend to avoid the

big decisions. I once heard that “most people would rather risk failing conventionally than risk succeeding unconventionally,” and I think that is probably true.

Incentives and Security The question then is, “What things can be done for people that would help make this social pressure easier to break through? I think the answer lies in two words: incentive and security. I am deeply immersed in the “soil carbon” discussion that fortunately seems to be gaining momentum around the world. I am keen to see the necessary scientific work carried out on properties where management really has changed, so that sufficient evidence comes to light to confirm the obvious, which is that increasing vegetative production must mean more carbon captured and stored in the soil. The incentive that would work well is to have the world place a financial value upon that stored carbon within a trading scheme. Then, for direct financial reasons, young managers will begin to assess and change the ecological impact of their actions. By doing this they can also more easily bring their fathers with them. No longer will the discussion be about who did what wrong, but how about they can all do good things and be paid well for it. Managing holistically will then tick all the boxes, socially, ecologically, and financially. In Australia the Holistic Management® program has recently been approved by the New South Wales State Government’s Technical And Further Education (TAFE) organization. In other places you might know them as Polytechnics or Vocational or Community Colleges. The approval process, which brings with it national benefits, was driven by Ian Chapman, a Holistic Management® Certified Educator in training. Over nearly two years he wrote and presented the extensive paperwork required for the recognition. Fundamentally, this recognition changes the way we can now present courses, and I am excited by the opportunities it presents. World-wide, for programs like Holistic Management, where the presenters are, like me, mostly free enterprise businesses rather than educational institutions, in order to keep the cost of knowledge transfer financially attractive, we have usually run courses for groups of unrelated businesses. People pay a fee, and then turn up a number of times across a few months, each time for two or three days. In great haste we deliver the necessary information to them. But there is so much to learn that I think it becomes a one-way street. We deliver too much, too fast, and the recipients are swamped! Not a great

place for these poor people to be—because now they are even more scared then when they arrived. The new TAFE model does two things. It allows us to deliver government funded education at a much slower pace—a pace more matched to the real learning capacity of people. We take

far too fast for them to correctly learn. The result, when they get home is a confused and overwhelmed mind. Under these conditions, the safest place to be is to be doing nothing. So, in reality, nothing changes for most people. Worst of all, it has taken me a long time to realize that under these circumstances, a great many people also feel bad about calling me up to ask for help when they most need it. They feel they must be “bad” because they didn’t “get it,” and are ashamed to call. So, deep down, world-wide I suspect that the low uptake by trained people remains a two pronged social problem. It is a problem that has two related solutions: we must provide better conditions for learning, and the NSW TAFE model (which is capable of being adopted in almost any country), looks like a great start. Secondly, we must create a proper, results based, holistically sound incentive for change. Placing a value on the building block of all life, carbon, might just do the trick on that score. This is a potential financial enterprise that was not available to either father or son before. Even better, it is measurably and directly related to the management decisions of the whole management team to encourage them to move forward toward greater land health.

Most people would rather risk failing conventionally than risk succeeding unconventionally.

many months to deliver the same information over a great many more, much smaller “bites.” Secondly, the course is structured in such a way that participants have to demonstrate that they actually can do every aspect of managing holistically. Typically, in the past we have delivered, say, grazing planning in a couple of days. We would begin by doing a group exercise. Then each family would prepare a plan or plans for themselves. We see a completed plan at the end, but in reality, we are never making a formal assessment as to whether they really do “get” it. In practice, generally things are all happening

Bruce Ward is a Certified Educator based in Sydney, Australia. He can be reached at +61 9929 5568 or

Soil Can Store Methane


n an article for Australia Broadcasting Corporation on July 8, 2009, Keva Gocher notes that Sydney University research demonstrates that greenhouse gas methane can be absorbed by soil. This research on native grasslands near the Snowy Mountains has found healthy soil bacteria absorb more methane per day than a cow produces in an entire year. "We have a good news story and the farming community needs good news stories," says Professor Mark Adams, agricultural sustainability researcher and Dean of Agriculture at Sydney University. "Typical methane production by beef cattle is round about 60 kilograms of methane per year, and some of the high country soils are taking more than that out of the atmosphere every day, so one hectare is taking out, or oxidizing more methane than a cow produces in a year. This is a part of the Australian landscape where we can say that grazing is a methane neutral or even methane positive land use. (The native grassland) are organically rich, well drained, well structured soils and we have a lot of great bacteria living in those soils that are doing the work for us." Unfortunately, Professor Adams believes that low-intensity grazing and sensible fire management are the keys to success and sustainability for both the environment and farming. For the complete article go to: s2649416.htm.

Number 128



& Growing Grass with Goats by Kelly Boney


t seems we are becoming more and more a society of quick fixes and forgetting that quick doesn’t always work. In the spring of 2005 I was asked to look at an oil field reclamation site. The 1.2-acre (.5-ha) site was once home to big oil holding tanks in southern Roosevelt County in east-central New Mexico. The land had been kept bare using chemicals for years, gravel had been hauled in to make the pads for the tanks and roads for the large trucks coming in and out. Collectively the heaviness of the tanks and trucks had heavily compacted the soil. Exxon had leased the land from the New Mexico State Land Office and together they were working to return the site to native vegetation and to remove a fence that surrounded the site to allow cattle back onto the site. In compliance with their contract Exxon had hired an environmental company to move the tanks, remove all foreign materials and re-seed the site. Everything had gone well except for the grass coming up. Drought was blamed for the lack of grass coming up so they re-seeded again. The grass didn’t come up again! Neither did it the third time! The tractor and grass drill had been set properly, a correct mix of native grasses, forbs, and annuals had been seeded, it did rain; so why didn’t it work?

Organic Matter to the Rescue As you can see in the picture above, nothing was growing. A few snakeweeds, a couple of beargrass (yucca) and one rather unhealthy looking shinnery oak plant. The large rocks are remains left from the gravel put on the site. The soil surrounding the site is very sandy, as one can see a sand hill in the right far corner. Don’t let the electrical poles fool you; each line ends at some sort of oil field site. This is an extremely remote area. When I was first taken to the site my first thought was “why” would a self 10

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respecting grass plant establish itself there? The site lacked organic matter; it was clearly 95-98% bare ground and for all practical purposes the site looked dead. To get to the site one must travel about 20 miles over dirt road and wind in and out of Roosevelt and Chavez counties several times. So to just give up on the site and let the rancher’s cattle ignore it would have been easy. But to the credit of the State Land Office, they didn’t hide their heads in the sand; they looked for ways to reclaim this seemingly dead site. Eric Nelson, with the New Mexico State Land Office had seen firsthand what our herd of goats had been able to do on a riparian restoration job we had worked on; so he asked me along to get my opinion of the site and what could be done. Our conversation centered around the lack of organic matter, bare ground and what animal impact could do to rectify the situation. The answer seemed to be broadcast seed, spread hay on top of the seed and then herd goats over the top of the mixture to put the seeds and hay in contact with the soil. Knowing the history of the site, it seemed natural to use legumes to help restore soil health. This led me to decide to use alfalfa hay instead of easier to spread wheat hay or wheat straw. To keep costs down I found rained on, and several year old hay. Even in this state I figured the hay still had some nitrogen that would be made available to the soil. The farmer I bought the hay from did not have enough to complete the job; so I bought some older wheat hay to finish out our needs for the oil field site. So on one of the hottest days in June the work began. A mixture of native grasses and forbs were broadcast by hand, and we began the tedious task of spreading hay over the top of the seeds. The alfalfa was certainly the hardest

to spread; it was clumped together making it difficult to separate; while the wheat hay was extremely easy to spread. We covered the entire area with at least one inch (25 mm) of organic matter. Then came a trailer load of goats! 60 to be exact. While the project could have used a semi-truckload of goats, it was not economically feasible; so we loaded stock trailer and used Border Collies to herd them over the project for a day. Things went well with the goats; they enjoyed the hay and could keep moving around which they really liked. However, as the New Mexico sun beat down on the site, the goats quickly learned the temperature was much cooler in the shinnery oak just outside the fence. The bare soil on the site heated up quickly. I’m sure there was at least a 20-30 degree temperature difference between the bare ground and the ground outside the area. Our feet were plenty warm walking around the site. Within hours we had visitors! Dung beetles were making good use of the newly deposited goat pellets. Not just a lonely little beetle either; several happily rolling little balls. We found at least two separate locations of the little beetles working. It was amazing to see them so quickly on that hot, barren soil. After a couple of long hot, exhausting days our work was completed. All the site needed now was rain and time.

holding more water and cooling the ground for the microbes and insects breaking down the organic matter. You will also notice tracks in the sand at the bottom of the picture; they are bird tracks. The birds loved their new found home.

Late summer 2005

The site in the summer of 2007

Late summer 2005

With A Little Rain The restoration work was done in June 2005 and the above photo was taken in late summer 2005! The large bare spots in the middle were where we used wheat hay and the hay had blown off. We didn’t get much rain as we were still in the middle of drought, but as you can see the land was ready for it. One additional consideration for the seed mix we used on the oil field site was to provide food for the wildlife and birds of the region. This site is in the heart of Lesser Prairie Chicken habitat. The Lesser Prairie Chicken is listed as a species of concern. This little bird’s claim to fame is its early spring dance and booming sounds. With the Prairie Chicken in mind, sunflowers, legumes and cool season plants were added to the mix. The chicks hatch before most of the warm-season grasses are coming out of dormancy so the cool-season grasses are a must to provide adequate forage for their survival. They also need tall grasses to nest in. There was a surprising find! I had used alfalfa for its nutrition; it proved beneficial in another way also. The bottom of the top left picture had wheat hay spread on it. We did get grass growing there; however the hay has blown away leaving a difficult environment for the seedlings. The top of the picture has alfalfa still on the ground providing ground cover; catching more water,

There is still alfalfa providing ground cover. Notice the different types of grass. In essence most contracts call for having the site look like the surrounding countryside. In this aspect we goofed. The old site looks nothing like the rangeland outside the fence. Without a doubt the area inside the fence has hundreds of times more pounds of grass than the same size area outside. A simple change in management over the past several years in the oil field site has made a tremendous difference. This was once an ugly scar on the land; it now stands as a beacon showing how well the land will respond given a chance. It also serves as a reminder that land restoration is not a onetime only shot. The site is in need of another dose of animal impact; the grass is showing signs of overrest, old growth is remaining standing on the plant while it needs to be put in contact with the soil so it can decay. To prevent it a shift toward woody species the grass needs to be grazed and allowed to recover, then grazed again, the way nature intended. Kelly Boney is a Certified Educator and lives in San Jon, New Mexico. She can be reached at: 575/760-7636 or Number 128

Land & Livestock


Invest in Biological Capital—

Looking Beyond the Drought by Don Campbell


o matter who you are or how severely you are being challenged by the drought (or other adverse conditions) you can be confident that things will change. Conversely, if you are experiencing a good year you can also be sure that at some point that will change. The weather is erratic and unpredictable. That is a fact that we can be sure of. It seems to me that as time passes it just becomes more so. I remember one of the first times I met Allan Savory. One of his comments was that the weather patterns would become less predictable and more erratic until we started to deal with climate change and desertification. It is interesting to note that Highway 16 near Yellowhead, Saskatchewan has been closed twice in the last couple on years. One was due to a washout, and the second was due to flooding. That highway has been it the same location for 50

or 60 years. To my knowledge this kind of event has never happened before. The official thinking is heavy rain, but I am sure there has been just as much rain in previous years. Does anyone ever think of an ineffective water cycle? Will things get better or worse in the future? We can’t control the weather; it is clearly in our circle of concern. Fortunately, we can do many things in our circle of influence to mitigate the effects the weather has on us. For example, the best time to prepare for a drought is in the good years! It is so easy to miss this. Most of us when blessed with abundant growth immediately think: “Wow, what will I do with all this grass?” The answer is usually make more hay or feed more cattle. Seldom do we consider investing the extra growth in biological capital. But, if you don’t invest in biological capital in a good year when will you do it?

I challenge everyone (myself included) to firmly resolve that the next time we are blest with abundant growth we will invest a portion of that growth as biological capital. This is one positive way we could all benefit from the drought. I think we are all aware that it is possible to double our effective rainfall. It’s a management choice that we all have the skills and knowledge to make. I know these decisions are not easy to make, but I believe that they are possible if we focus on our holisticgoal. Most of us have something about making the land better or improving the water cycle in our holisticgoal. The way to do this is to use planned grazing to maximize our capture of solar energy (real wealth). The second step is to do a good financial plan so that we don’t need to harvest everything that we produce. This will allow us to invest in biological capital which will result in a more effective water cycle. We all know these things work. We need to resolve to apply our knowledge and skills to make things better. We can create the future we desire.

Planned Grazing and Herding for Rangeland Health


articipants in a recent Colorado workshop learned the basic concepts of planned grazing and herding at the award-winning Blue Valley Ranch. The workshop was organized by Matt Barnes who gave a presentation on “Prescribed Grazing for Rangeland Health.” The presentation focused on how even with “proper” or conservative stocking, poorly managed grazing leads to distribution problems, where heavily grazed and unused patches are found side-by-side within a pasture. Barnes noted that commonly cited reasons for not adopting planned grazing are that, as usually implemented, it requires more fencing (permanent fence is often cost-prohibitive); and it requires a lot more handling and moving of livestock, which—with conventional handling techniques—tends to require more labor and management, stressing both animals and people. Herding makes planned grazing technically practical and economically viable, by allowing a few individuals to move a large herd of livestock over long distances and rough terrain, and place them—without fencing. This means that stock can be moved off of sensitive areas, breaking the cycle of repeated grazing and improving distribution, as well as facilitating animal

Guy Glosson explaining low-stress livestock handling techniques


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November / December 2009

impact and other vegetation treatments. Certified Educator Guy Glosson, manager of the award-winning Mesquite Grove Ranch near Snyder, Texas, was invited to teach the low-stress livestock handling techniques that he learned by working with stockmanship guru Bud Williams. Guy taught participants to inspire the animals to want to go where they wanted the animals to go, and then let them go—or stay—there. Guy began by demonstrating the low-stress initial approach to the herd, and then walked the herd up and down a fence line. Participants found that low-stress livestock handling is not a kinder, gentler version of conventional handling, but a new method that requires the herder to be in a different position relative to the herd. To learn to work the lead animals from the side, participants had to let go of their previous experience of pushing the herd from behind. Dan Nosal of the Colorado Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative (GLCI) acclaimed the workshop as the most out-of-the-box of all the workshops funded by the Colorado GLCI. Dave Bradford, of the Gunnison National Forest, and John Kossler, representing the West Elk Livestock Association, rounded out the workshop with their presentation on a large-scale application of planned grazing, “Livestock Herding in the West Elk Mountains.” The permittees on this pooled allotment have gotten an extra thirty days of grazing on the National Forest since they adopted herding and started using it to apply animal impact in Gambel oak thickets, said Bradford. All of his allotments now use some form of multiple-pasture grazing management. Matt Barnes, Multi-County Rangeland Management Specialist with the USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service in Kremmling, Colorado, can be reached at: Guy Glosson, Certified Educator, and manager of Mesquite Grove Ranch near Snyder, Texas, can be reached at:

T-Posts and Thistles

Thistle Patch With T-Post Before Grazing, July 6, 2009

by Ralph Tate


n June of this year, after the cattle had been on pasture for about six weeks, I was wrestling with two concerns; animal scratching and thistle management. The animal scratching had me concerned because the objects the cattle were using to scratch on were the water tanks, and they were doing a pretty good job of sloshing water all over, making a mud pit around the tank. My mentor, Holistic Management® Certified Educator Paul Swanson, suggested I consider getting some sort of scratching device that they could use instead of the tank. The only scratching devices I was aware of were cumbersome and did not lend themselves to daily paddock moves. So, after thinking about it for a while, I placed t-posts at several locations within the grazing paddock, giving them an opportunity to scratch. They loved it! They used the t-posts to scratch their heads and necks so that even just after a day, they had worked them around so much I could just lift them out of the ground.

Thistle Patch With T-Post After Grazing, July 9, 2009

Scratching My Itch The second part of the story is the placement of the posts. Why not put the t-posts in the middle of some areas that needed extra animal impact, such as thistle thickets? That way, as the cows focused on scratching their itch, they were also scratching one of mine! About this same time I also gave the herd more time in paddocks with thistles so that they came to “discover” how much they really liked thistles— they just didn’t know it! This became exciting to see. Every day we were tackling paddocks where there were plenty of thistles. When the next day came, even though there were still thistle plants standing, they were much shorter, many leaves had been stripped off, and there were very few heads still attached! I recall Charles Walters making a comment in his book (Weeds, Control Without Poison), that one of the best ways to control thistles is to just pluck the heads off. Leaving the plant intact causes the roots to weaken trying to maintain such a large plant. So I had 48 “helpers” doing just that. In taking a holistic view of thistles and other flowering forbs, I learned from one of the local wildlife managers that forbs are essential to the survival of birds because it is the flowers of the forbs that attract the insects that provide the necessary protein level that young birds need to survive. So, I need to be observant in my managing of forbs, in general, and thistles, specifically, as to how I am impacting the pheasant and quail populations I am trying to encourage. Someone also suggested that one of the reasons why cows like thistle heads is because they are high in sugar. So I tested the sugar level of a thistle head, and found it registered over 22%! No wonder they like eating them— they’re gum drops! Here are a few pictures I took in one of the paddocks to illustrate the impact the cattle were having on the thistles. The top picture was taken in early July. The t-post was positioned in this location specifically because of the thistles. I expected the cattle to focus on their scratching needs more than on the thistles and had hopes that significant trampling would occur as a result. The cattle grazed this area for a couple of days. After they had moved to the next area, I came back and took a picture of the impact. The after picture, July 9, 2009, illustrates that although there was not much trampling of thistles, the cattle apparently liked the taste of the leaves and heads and stripped almost all of the thistles. They did a pretty decent job on the warm season grasses as well.

Thistle Patch With T-Post After Recovery, Sept. 13, 2009

The picture taken on 9/13/09 shows the results after about two months of recovery around the t-post. Although the thistle stems are evident, they did not recover from the stripping experience, just as Charles Walters had described. In the meantime, the warm-season grasses continued to flourish. Although the method was not the method I had expected (trampling), the result was the same (more grass, fewer thistles). As an aside, I found during the course of summer that I could place a tpost into such a thick stand of thistles that the cows did not use it much at all. Overall, the impact on the thistles that seemed to be occurring primarily was that while the cattle were in the area scratching themselves, they were eating the plants that were immediately available. Would I recommend trying t-posts? Absolutely! Seeing how extensively the cattle used the t-posts made me realize that their not being able to scratch had induced a significant level of stress. How significant was demonstrated by how extensively they used the t-posts. Relieving that stress helped make them more content and able to focus on what cows do best—eat grass! Ralph Tate is a Certified Educator trainee from Papillion, Nebraska. He can be reached at Number 128

Land & Livestock


Grazing Planning—

There Has To Be An Easier Way by Ralph Tate


n June of 2008, as part of my HMI Certified Educator training program, Certified Educator Terry Gompert had scheduled the Holistic Management® Grazing Planning class as part of a four-day immersion experience at Chad Peterson’s ranch in the sandhills of Nebraska. At that class, we were introduced to the Holistic Management® Grazing Plan and Control Chart as well as the 17-Step holistic grazing planning process, and we faithfully filled out the worksheet and performed all the calculations. By the end of that class, I was convinced of two things. The first was that the plan was well thought-out and carefully constructed. I had confidence that someone who faithfully filled out the Grazing Planning Chart would have an excellent understanding of where they stood with regard to their livestock and the amount of forage they had through the course of their grazing period. Secondly, I was convinced that the majority of graziers who were introduced to the plan would never try it. It took too much time, it required too many calculations, it was too tedious, and there were too many opportunities for errors. I just could not envision a rancher, after spending a 12-hour day outside fixing fence, tending cattle, and chasing strays coming in at night and working through several hours of calculations to see if a concept that was still probably foreign to him might actually work—it wasn’t going to happen! I have been an engineer for a very long time, so as I thought about all the calculations, it occurred to me that the grazing plan could be made into an electronic form, so that all the calculations that were required would be done by the computer and the time filling in the form would be significantly reduced. If these things were to happen, I believed that graziers would be more interested in trying the plan. So, over the course of the winter, I developed such a plan. The primary worksheet has the same appearance as the Holistic Management® Grazing Plan Chart, so it can be printed at a later date, if desired, and all of the calculations are performed on a separate worksheet that follows the same steps as in the Holistic Management Handbook. I had a few objectives that I thought were critical in setting up the E-grazing plan. The first was that it should have a familiar look and feel. I accomplished that by using the same template as the Grazing Plan Chart. Likewise, I followed the same 17-step approach for the Calculation worksheet, so it follows the same calculations as are illustrated in the Holistic Management Handbook. Secondly, I wanted to ensure that users would enter a piece of data only once. So, for example, if you determine that the Animal Days per Acre/Hectare (ADA/ADH) for “Paddock A” are 80, there is one and only one place to enter that data. Everywhere else that uses “Paddock A” ADA/ADH data gets it from that one entry location. Once the data is entered, it is automatically used everywhere else in the worksheet that it is required. This eliminates the possibility that someone would unintentionally enter two conflicting pieces of data in two different places in the worksheet. On the Grazing Plan Chart, there are some boxes, such as Month, Year, Season, and Paddocks that are “grayed out.” This is because this information is entered in the Calculation worksheet. Since the data is entered in the Calculation worksheet, it is then replicated everywhere else it is needed, to include the Grazing Plan worksheet. The reason I colored the boxes gray was to remind people that the data for that particular cell is located somewhere else and data entry is not required there. 14

Land & Livestock

November / December 2009

Snapshot of Grazing Plan Calculation Worksheet So, if we take a look at a screenshot of the calculation worksheet below, we see the steps of the Holistic Management Handbook identified along the left column, with a brief explanation of the purpose of the step. Some of the cells are colored yellow. These cells are the cells to enter data. As data is entered into each of the yellow-colored cells, all of the calculations that use that information are performed elsewhere and displayed. Taking another look at the calculation worksheet, step 9 is when paddock productivity is calculated. Paddock Name and Paddock Size are colored gray (since that was data that had been entered in the cells shown in the Calculation Worksheet. However, this is where Paddock Quality data is entered, so the cells for Paddock Quality are colored yellow. After the Paddock Quality data is entered, the Animal Days (ADs) are automatically calculated and displayed.

Forage Quality Calculations Of course, simply because I had developed a tool didn’t mean I knew how to use it, so this summer was the trial run, both for my attempting to implement Holistic Management principles into my grazing, as well as a test run of the tool. I am happy to report that progress was realized with both. As I continued to work with the E-Grazing Plan, I added new features to it, so I have included a worksheet to track rainfall, for example. Is this the tool that will make everyone want to graze holistically? Probably not. Will it make it easier to implement holistic grazing? I think so. Starting this month, HMI is offering the Holistic Management E-Grazing Plan for sale. Twenty-five dollars of every sale are used to foster Holistic Management in the state of Nebraska. It works on Macs and PC’s that run Excel. It calculates both in English/American and Metric. See the ad on page 22.

Forage Evaluation Tool—

The Fritzler’s Ring by Terry Gompert


ne of the basics to master in Holistic Management® Grazing Planning is how much forage will be available per acre and per cell in the current planning period. Ultimately the accuracy of this information will help best plan the correct stocking rate and moves. I have found the Fritzler’s Ring very helpful for teaching planning period available forage. I call it the Fritzler’s Ring because a grazier friend, Gary Fritzler of Plainview, Nebraska, showed me the simplicity of the ring and his calculations. The ring is a standard ring found on all 55 gallon barrels. It costs nothing. The ring is 22 1/3 inches (56.82 cm) in diameter. It, by chance, is the right size. Each one ounce of weight contained in the ring area is equivalent to 1,000 pounds (450 kg) of forage per acre. Of course, the forage moisture content needs to be factored in.

Step 1: Measure average height of pre-clipped and clipped grass in the 22 1/3 inch diameter ring (this is grazed height). Pull grass to desired grazed height.

Calculations: Step 1 . . 9 inches (23 cm) – 4 inches (10 cm) = 5 inches (13 cm) harvested Step 2 . . 8 ounces (224 grams) harvested Step 3 . . DM = 35% (by squeeze) Step 4 . . 8 x 1,000 x .35 = 2,800 pounds/acre (3,150 kg/ha) dry matter harvested Step 5 . . 2,800 pounds divided by 5 = 560 pounds/inch (641 kg/centimeter) of dry matter A Use or graze to Trample ratio needs to be established that reflects your holisticgoal and grazing plan. You will need to decide how much you can leave behind and what your stock density will be to help incorporate that forage into the soil to feed it. So, if a standard animal unit is generally considered to use 26 pounds of dry matter per day, then calculate the animal days per acre (ADA) available using forage available X percent use to trample ratio (utilization) divided by 26. Animal Days Per Acre (ADA) Available Calculation • Use: trample ratio - 60% (5 inches of 9 inches standing) • AD assumption = 26 pounds dry matter needed per day (2800 x .60) divided by 26 = 65 ADA’s Available

Step 2: Weigh the grass to 1/10th ounce weight. Step 3: Take weight X the determined dry matter. As with silage, twisting the sample will give you a clue to moisture. If moisture forms in hand after twisting, it is over 65% moisture. If the twist provides greater droplets when twisted, the higher the percent of moisture. Taking a sample and weighing wet and after dried with a microwave will give an accurate dry matter moisture test. Cool season legumes when very actively growing will tend to have 15 to 30% dry matter. A more mature, slower growing cool season grass may have 30 to 50% dry matter.

Step 4: Each ounce of dry matter grass equals 1,000 pounds (450 kg) of dry matter available per acre. Step 5: Dry matter per acre in inches equals dry matter per acre divided by

Percent Leaf in a collected sample is a good estimator of total digestible nutrients (TDN). The higher the TDN, the higher the digestibility and the higher the forage quality is. Separate the leaf from the rest of the plant matter harvested and determine percentage of leaf by weighing leaf volume. For example, if from the 8 ounces harvested, 2 ounces are leaves, then you have 25% leaf or 47.5 TDN.

grazed inches. CONTINUED ON PAGE 16

Number 128

Land & Livestock


Nebraska Grazing and Training Event


he Peterson Holistic Grazing Event in August at Chad Peterson’s Ranch near Newport, Nebraska included a mob grazing seminar, a pasture ranch tour and walk, and Holistic Management trainings in Grazing Planning, Biological Planning and Monitoring, and Holisticgoal Setting. Over 125 attendees came from 14 states and three countries to hear about Holistic Management. Certified Educator Terry Gompert facilitated the event. Ten of the eleven Holistic Management® Certified Educator Trainees, who are under the supervision of Terry, were present to help during the holistic grazing event. They are scheduled to graduate in September of 2010. Chad Peterson is one of the trainees who comes to the training program with exceptional grazing experience. He has eight years of experience with high stock density grazing. His herd size has varied from 300 to 900 head. Chad has pushed the limit of stock density grazing, up to two million pounds per acre. His preference, however, is 500,000 pounds per acre (more in highly productive areas). To accomplish these high stock densities, the cattle moves per day range from three to seven times. With cow/calf high

Fritzler’s Ring

continued from page fifteen

Percent Leaf 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60%

TDN Estimate 35 40 45 50 55 60 75

Another consideration is digestibility of plant. The higher the fiber the lower the digestibility. A simple general measuring of fiber is to pull on the leaf until it breaks. The harder you have to pull to break it, the greater the fiber and the lower the quality. Another simple tool to determine forage quality is a refractometer which measures Brix level, estimated sugar content, and mineral density. The higher the reading, the higher the forage quality. Brix Level 0 6 10 12

Est. Sugar Poor Fair Excellent Sustainable

The Fritzler’s Ring has been very helpful as a teaching tool. I use it to determine: • Dry Matter (DM) forage available/per acre, per inch, per cell. • Animal days per acre (ADA) available • Estimate DM, TDN, Fiber, and Energy Terry Gompert is an Extension Educator for Knox County Extension in Nebraska and is a Holistic Management® Certified Educator. He can be reached at: or 402/288-5611. 16

Land & Livestock

November / December 2009

Chad Peterson and Terry Gompert

Mae Rose Petrehn, a graduate student at Ames, Iowa, gave a monitoring demonstration at the Peterson ranch. Mae Rose has been monitoring at the ranch for the past two years. She is also one of the eleven Holistic Management® Certified Educator trainees. Other trainees include: Katie Rosing, Ralph Tate, Trey Shelton, Danielle Shelton, Erin Wilson, Chad Peterson, Torray Wilson, Kevin Harold, Joshua Dukart, and Tom German. Trainees are from Iowa, Colorado, North Dakota, Montana, and Nebraska. stock density grazing, the conception rate is higher, but the weaning weights are slightly lower. The land has gained too from the high stock density grazing. There is more diversity, better water infiltration and sponginess, and more tonnage resulting in increased profits. Chad mostly custom grazes other individuals’ cattle mainly in the open season. At tour time he had one Scottish Highlander herd that approached 800 total head (cows and calves). They were moved four times per day at about 300,000 pounds per acre. The Peterson Ranch has the longest, continuous buffalo grazing experience in Nebraska, dating back to the mid-’40s. Peterson says that the Scottish Highlanders are the closest cattle that resemble the good buffalo characteristics, yet are not hard on Sandhills’ pasture as the buffalo are. The Highlanders are easy keepers, winter hardy, good mothers, produce tender meat, and can be fattened on grass. Chad has been practicing Holistic Management for about five years and is fully convinced Holistic Management® decision making process is superior. HMI Board Chair Ben Bartlett attended and noted, “I am especially encouraged to see the Certified Educators in training with Terry because their age tells me that they are the future of Holistic Management and it indicates to me that Holistic Management has a bright future. This is not to disregard their skills, experience, or expertise, but 20 years in the life of soil is a blink of an eye and we need young (younger) people active in Holistic Management. Community dynamics has taught us that we need a diversity of people for the health of the Holistic Management organization just like we need a diversity of age and kinds of plants for health of the soil.” Terry Gompert is an Extension Educator with the University of Nebraska. He has Black Angus cows that are developed for grassfed genetics. You can contact Terry at

DEVELOPMENT CORNER 2034: A Land Odyssey All Aboard for HMI’s Next 25 Years!


ith apologies to Stanley Kubrick, HMI’s story might now be called 2034: A Land Odyssey. Throughout this year, we’ve celebrated the first twenty-five years of Holistic Management, but this point in time is also the launch date of HMI’s second twenty-five years. No one knows what 2034 will look like, but HMI, and you—all of us—are embarking on a new era fueled by fresh vision, expanding partnerships and initiatives that hold greater promise for reaching our shared goal of healing the land we all depend on. This summer, HMI Board and staff got together to start planning the next twenty-five years of this odyssey, focusing on the next three first. We all agreed that effectiveness, impact, scope, and scalability have to be at the heart of everything we do—be it corporate consulting contracts, educational outreach, or special projects funded by philanthropic gifts. Next year, 2010, offers a tantalizing glimpse of the future, and it . . . is . . . exciting. Some of the following initiatives are underway, some are in the planning stage and some are dreams yet to be realized. All, however, will in some way contribute to “improving the health, productivity, and profitability of land and spread the practice of Holistic Management.”

Women-Owned Farms At the top of our list is a three-year training program for beginning women farmers in the Northeast. This is particularly exciting because it has us collaborating with well-respected women’s associations, academic institutions, and several of our Certified Educators. The goal is to provide whole farm training to over 180 women farmers in Vermont, Maine, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, and New Hampshire, with the ultimate goal of making their farms economically, ecologically, and socially viable. This initiative gives Holistic Management yet another visible role in the movement towards locally grown food and establishing local food security. The $800,000 project is funded in large part by USDA. We only have to raise $50,000 each year as a match.

Collaborative Grazing We’re in the final stages of negotiating a grazing lease on 2,000 acres of public land in Central Texas that is under Corps of Engineers management. This will be a model of collaboration between a Holistic Management

practitioner, a government agency, and HMI. We’ll be improving the health of the land and share the profits of the cattle operation with the grazier. If this project is successful, there may be others like it coming our way. Talk about scalable!

Kids on the Land While school districts across America have embraced the need to introduce children to ecology, and to the importance of preserving our environment, "hands in the dirt" education hasn’t made it into many classrooms. We’re doing something about it. Kids on the Land, a hands-on and on-site educational program for grade school kids, has been a great success in the Ozona and Crockett School Districts of Texas. Under the guidance of Maryann West, Peggy Maddox and her volunteers are putting the finishing touches on the curriculum for K–6th grade so we can start replicating the program in other key states. We hope to be ready for introduction in California next year. Kids on the Land is a pilot program that is loaded with potential and ready for take-off!

Data, Documentation and Holistic Remediation Rigorous monitoring of all projects and impact evaluation has moved front and center for all initiatives we’re undertaking. With a seed grant from the Dixon Water Foundation, we’ve established a Data & Documentation division at HMI. That means we’re collecting relevant data from our own projects, including experiments going on at the West Ranch. We are networking and communicating with researchers all across the country, and we are publishing important findings in this journal (watch for the Data Mine column). All that to make sure that the claims we—and others—are making can be backed up by hard facts. The value of this documentation effort cannot be overstated. For example, we hope to prove that Holistic Management can enhance

remediation efforts on private and public lands that have been drilled for oil. Because effective remediation is extremely valuable to oil producers, we may be able to make this application of Holistic Management one of HMI’s standard product offerings.

More Support for Holistic Management Grassroots We’ll also be increasing our support to practitioners, Management Clubs and field days. A special small grants program will help underwrite some of the costs of field days, one of the most effective ways of getting others acquainted and involved with Holistic Management practices and the difference they can make for land and people.

Film Screenings for New Audiences The eye-opening lessons of the PBS documentary “The First Millimeter: Healing the Earth” will still be relevant in 2034. That’s why we’re taking it on the road again in 2010, with five private screenings planned in key areas of the country. Want to play a fun and very important role in HMI’s fundraising efforts? Host a screening of the film! For information, please get in touch with Jutta von Gontard, our Senior Director of Philanthropy, at juttavg@ These are just some of the things for which we’ll need your counsel, input, and financial support in the near future. Meanwhile, our flagship programs like the Certified Educator Program continues at full speed, our contract services are increasing in scope and effectiveness, and Peggy and Joe Maddox are doing great work at the West Ranch. We will be reporting on all these initiatives in IN PRACTICE and elsewhere. For now, many thanks for all YOU do to spread the word about Holistic Management and healing the earth in your part of the country. All aboard for 2034! Number 128



T he news from holistic management international

Beginning Women Farmer Grant


n September Holistic Management International received a $639,301 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Cooperative Services Research, Education, and Service (USDA-CSREES) to train beginning women from the Northeast U.S. in whole farm planning. During this three-year program we will train 180 beginning women farmers. From that pool, we will also train nine Certified Educators to further support this training. HMI is partnering with a number of collaborators including: Maine Women in Agricultural Network (WAgN), University of New Hampshire, Cornell University Small Farms Program, The Small and Beginner Farmers of New Hampshire, Central New York Resource Conservation & Development, Massachusetts Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture, Vermont WAgN, Connecticut WAgN, and Northeast Organic Farming Association (NOFA) of Connecticut and Rhode Island. This grant begins in October 2009 and culminates in a conference in September 2012.

2009 Organic Farmers of the Year


olistic Management practitioners, Tom and Irene Frantzen were named the Midwestern Organic and Sustainable Education Service (MOSES) 2009 Organic Farmers of the Year. The Frantzens own 300 tillable acres. They raise crops, hogs, and beef cattle. Their farmland has been certified organic since 1998. Their beef and pork are marketed through Organic Prairie Meat Company. In 2001, the Frantzens launched a company that supplies organic hog, poultry, dairy feeds to farmers in the Midwest. The Frantzens have long been recognized as pioneers in sustainable agriculture. Tom frequently speaks and writes about sustainable agriculture and the Frantzen’s use of Holistic Management. Congratulations to the Frantzens!

New Certified Educator


elly Boney of San Jon, New Mexico completed her Certified Educator Training in August. She visited the HMI office for a graduation celebration. She is the first graduate of HMI’s Individualized Training Program. This 18


 people, programs & projects

program allows trainees the opportunity to select instructors and locations of training and complete more of the course work through distance learning. Currently there are 16 trainees in this program from Canada, Australia, Nebraska, Montana, North Dakota, Texas, Colorado, and Iowa. If you would like to learn more about this program, contact Ann Adams at Congratulations, Kelly!

On the Road


hief Executive Officer, Peter Holter, presented at the Oklahoma Grazing Lands Coalition Initiative in August . The theatrical release of “The First Millimeter: Healing the Planet” was also shown there. On September 12th, he traveled to Wimberley, Texas to speak at HMI Texas’ “Going with the Flow” Water Conference. Holter also presented at the Rodale Institute Film Festival in Kutztown, Pennsylvania in conjunction with “The First Millimeter” showing on October 28th. Ann Adams, Director of Educational Products & Outreach, presented at the Albuquerque Film Festival on August 7th. She also staffed the HMI booth at the Small Farm Conference in Springfield, Illinois in September. At Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana she presented a talk on Holistic Management to a senior biology seminar, “Conservation Issues in the Desert Southwest,” dealing with issues of overgrazing, fire, invasive species, and riparian areas. Jutta von Gontard, Senior Director of Philanthropy, represented HMI at the Slow Money Conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico in September.

Financial Planning Software


MI has recently released a new user-friendly financial planning software that uses a database format much like Quicken or Quickbooks. This software has many new features including net worth and asset tracking, check writing and invoice generation, easy backup and file sharing, and customizable reports. To learn more about this software program go to: store//page8.html.

November / December 2009

Training in Mexico


ertified Educator Arturo Mora Benitez began training a group of 40 technicians of various careers, mostly veterinarians, agronomist engineers, industrial engineers, and accountants in September in Guanajuato, Mexico. These workshops are being sponsored by the government of the State of Guanajuato through the Secretaría de Desarrollo Agropecuario (SDA), and the Federal Government through the Delegation of the Secretaría de Agricultura, Ganadería, Desarrollo Rural, Pesca y Alimentación (SAGARPA). The participants have experience in animal science, cow/calf operations, rural development, grass seeding, veterinarian practices, managing micro watersheds, grazing allotments, GIS, and natural protected area management. They are attending these workshops because of their concern about grazing land deterioration.

New HMI Wear


e have additional membership wear items available on our online store, including cotton twill and bamboo button down shirts. Our entire selection is offered, at: http://

In Memoriam


t is with great sadness that we report the loss of Certified Educator Aspen Edge who died September 10, 2009. Aspen and her husband, David, ran Semilla Besada near Granada, Spain as a holistically managed, Permaculture site. Aspen became a Certified Educator in 2004 and was an active educator with running Holistic Management trainings in Spain as well as contributing articles to IN PRACTICE. She will be greatly missed.


Certified Educators

Paul Swanson 5155 West 12th St., Hastings, NE 68901 402/463-8507

To our knowledge, Certified Educators are the best qualified individuals to help others learn to practice Holistic Management and to provide them with technical assistance when necessary. On a yearly basis, Certified Educators renew their agreement to be affiliated with HMI. This agreement requires their commitment to practice Holistic Management in their own lives, to seek out opportunities for staying current ◆ These educators provide with the latest developments in Holistic Management and to Holistic Management maintain a high standard of ethical conduct in their work. instruction on behalf of the For more information about or application forms for the HMI’s Certified Educator Training Programs, contact Ann Adams or visit our website at:


COLORADO Joel Benson P.O. Box 4924, Buena Vista, CO 81211 719/395-6119 • Cindy Dvergsten 17702 County Rd. 23, Dolores, CO 81323 970/882-4222 Daniela and Jim Howell P.O. Box 67, Cimarron, CO 81220-0067 970/249-0353 • Byron Shelton 33900 Surrey Lane, Buena Vista, CO 81211 719/395-8157 • Tom Walther P.O. Box 1158 Longmont, CO 80502-1158 510/499-7479 • GEORGIA Constance Neely 1421 Rockinwood Dr., Athens, GA 30606 706/540-2878 • IOWA ◆ Margaret Smith

Iowa State University, CES Sustainable Agriculture 972 110th St., Hampton, IA 50441-7578 515/294-0887 •

◆ Seth Wilner

24 Main Street, Newport, NH 03773 603/863-4497 (h) 603/863-9200 (w)

R. H. (Dick) Richardson University of Texas at Austin Section of Integrative Biology School of Biological Sciences Austin, TX 78712 • 512/471-4128

institutions they represent. associate educators * These provide educational services to their communities and peer groups.


Bill Burrows 12250 Colyear Springs Road Red Bluff, CA 96080 530/529-1535 • 530/200-2419 (c) Richard King 1675 Adobe Rd. Petaluma, CA 94954 707/769-1490 707/794-8692(w) * Kelly Mulville P.O Box 323, Valley Ford, CA 94972-0323 707/431-8060; 707/876-3592 ◆ Rob Rutherford CA Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo, CA 93407 805/756-1475


TEXAS Chandler McLay P.O. Box 1796, Glen Rose, TX 76043 303/888-8799 •

LOUISIANA Tina Pilione P.O. 923, Eunice, LA 70535 phone: 337/580-0068 MAINE

* Vivianne Holmes

239 E. Buckfield Rd. Buckfield, ME 04220-4209 207/336-2484 MICHIGAN

* Ben Bartlett N4632 ET Road, Traunik, MI 49891 906/439-5210 (h) • 906/439-5880 (w) * Larry Dyer 604 West 8th Ave. Sault Sainte Marie, MI 49783 906/248-3354 x4245 (w) 906/253-1504 (h) MONTANA Wayne Burleson 322 N. Stillwater Rd., Absarokee, MT 59001 406/328-6808 Roland Kroos 4926 Itana Circle Bozeman, MT 59715 406/522-3862 * Cliff Montagne P.O. Box 173120 Montana State University Department of Land Resources & Environmental Science Bozeman, MT 59717 406/994-5079 NEBRASKA Terry Gompert P.O. Box 45 Center, NE 68724-0045 402/288-5611 (w)

NEW MEXICO ◆ Ann Adams

Holistic Management International 1010 Tijeras NW, Albuquerque, NM 87102 505/842-5252 Kelly Boney 4865 Quay Road L, San Jon, NM 88434 575/760-7636 • Kirk Gadzia P.O. Box 1100, Bernalillo, NM 87004 505/867-4685, (f) 505/867-9952 NEW YORK Phil Metzger 99 N. Broad St., Norwich, NY 13815 607/334-3231 x4 (w) • 607/334-2407 (h) John Thurgood 15 Farone Dr., Apt. E26 Oneonta, NY 13820-1331 607/643-2804 NORTH DAKOTA Wayne Berry 1611 11th Ave. West Williston, ND 58801 701/572-9183 •

WASHINGTON Craig Madsen P.O. Box 107, Edwall, WA 99008 509/236-2451 • Sandra Matheson 228 E. Smith Rd., Bellingham, WA 98226 360/398-7866 • Doug Warnock 1880 SE Larch Ave., College Place, WA 99324 509/540-5771 • 509/856-7101 (c) WISCONSIN Andy Hager W. 3597 Pine Ave., Stetsonville, WI 54480-9559 715/678-2465 Larry Johnson W886 State Rd. 92, Brooklyn, WI 53521 608/455-1685 * Laura Paine Wisconsin DATCP N893 Kranz Rd., Columbus, WI 53925 608/224-5120 (w) • 920/623-4407 (h)

OREGON Jeff Goebel 52 NW Mcleay Blvd. • Portland, OR 97210 541/610-7084 • Andrea & Tony Malmberg P.O. Box 167, LaGrande, OR 97850 541/805-1124 • PENNSYLVANIA Jim Weaver 428 Copp Hollow Rd. Wellsboro, PA 16901-8976 570/724-7788 • TEXAS Christina Allday-Bondy 2703 Grennock Dr., Austin, TX 78745 512/441-2019 • Guy Glosson 6717 Hwy. 380, Snyder, TX 79549 806/237-2554 Peggy Maddox P.O. Box 694, Ozona, TX 76943-0694 325/392-2292

INTERNATIONAL AUSTRALIA Judi Earl 73 Harding E., Guyra, NSW 2365 61-2-6779-2286 Mark Gardner P.O. Box 1395, Dubbo, NSW 2830 61-2-6884-4401 Paul Griffiths P.O. Box 3045, North Turramura, NSW 2074, Sydney, NSW 61-2-9144-3975 • George Gundry Willeroo, Tarago, NSW 2580 61-2-4844-6223 • Graeme Hand 150 Caroona Lane, Branxholme, VIC 3302 61-3-5578-6272 (h) • 61-4-0996-4466 (c) Helen Lewis P.O. Box 1263, Warwick, QLD 4370 61-7-46617393 • 61-7-46670835

Number 128




AUSTRALIA Brian Marshall P.O. Box 300, Guyra NSW 2365 61-2-6779-1927 • fax: 61-2-6779-1947 Bruce Ward P.O. Box 103, Milsons Pt., NSW 1565 61-2-9929-5568 • fax: 61-2-9929-5569 Brian Wehlburg Kindee, NSW •61-02-6587-4353 Jason Virtue Mary River Park 1588 Bruce Hwy. South Gympie, QLD 4570 61-7-5483-5155


Holistic Management® Certified Educator Training Program

Don Campbell Box 817 Meadow Lake, SK S9X 1Y6 306/236-6088 Len Pigott Box 222, Dysart, SK, SOH 1HO 306/432-4583 Kelly Sidoryk P.O. Box 374, Lloydminster, AB S9V 0Y4 780/875-9806 (h) 780/875-4418 (c)

Richard Hatfield P.O. Box 10091-00100, Nairobi 254-0723-506-331 Christine C. Jost International Livestock Research Institute Box 30709, Nairobi 00100 254-20-422-3000; 254-736-715-417 (c) Belinda Low P.O. Box 15109, Langata, Nairobi 254-727-288-039

MEXICO Arturo Mora Benitez San Juan Bosco 169 Fracc., La Misión Celaya, Guanajuato 38016 52-461-615-7632 • Elco Blanco-Madrid Hacienda de la Luz 1803 Fracc. Haciendas del Valle II Chihuahua, Chih 31238 52/614-423-4413 (h) • 52/614-415-0176 (f) Ivan A. Aguirre Ibarra P.O. Box 304, Hermosillo, Sonora 83000 52-1-662-281-0990 (from U.S.) 51-1-662-281-0901

Want to make the world a better place? Interested in teaching others about Holistic Management?

SOUTH AFRICA Wayne Knight P.O. Box 537 Mokopane 0600 Jozua Lambrechts P.O. Box 5070 Helderberg, Somerset West, Western Cape 7135 27-21-851-5669; 27-21-851-2430 (w)

November / December 2009

SOUTH AFRICA Ian Mitchell-Innes P.O. Box 52, Elandslaagte 2900 27-36-421-1747 Dick Richardson P.O. Box 1853, Vryburg 8600 tel/fx: 27-082-934-6139 UNITED KINGDOM Philip Bubb 32 Dart Close, St. Ives Cambridge, PE27 3JB 44-1480-496-2925 (h) 44-1223-814-662 (w) ZIMBABWE Sunny Moyo Africa Centre for Holistic Management P. Bag 5950, Victoria Falls;; 263-13-42199 (w) John Nyilika Private Bag 5950 Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe 263-0-13-42199

Western Canadian Holistic Management Conference


TO LEARN MORE, CONTACT: Ann Adams • • 505/842-5252


NEW ZEALAND John King P.O. Box 12011 Beckenham, Christchurch 8242 64-276-737-885

February 8-10,

HMI’s Certified Educator Training Program is an individualized two-year training program developed to produce excellent Holistic Management facilitators, coaches, and instructors. Tailored to meet your needs and interests.


NAMIBIA Usiel Kandjii P.O. Box 23319, Windhoek 264-61-205-2324 Colin Nott P.O. Box 11977, Windhoek 264/61-225085 (h) 264/81-2418778 Wiebke Volkmann P.O. Box 9285, Windhoek 264-61-225183 or 264-81-127-0081

SPEAKERS AND PRESENTERS INCLUDE: John Ikerd Terry Gompert Pam Iwanchysko Don Campbell Ann Adams Blain Hjertaas Tony & Fran McQuail Kelly Sidoryk Allison Guichon Brian Luce Ralph & Linda Corcoran


Save the Date! TOPICS INCLUDE: Finding Purpose in Peril, Building a New Economy, Profitable Farming, Cropping and Land Management, Financial Management,

. . . AND MORE! For more information, call 206/622-2006 or go to Online registration will begin December 1, 2009.


Optional Vineyard Tour!


EVALUATING SOIL FERTILITY FOR WINEGRAPES Embassy Suites Napa Valley February 15-17, 2010 Napa, Calif.


his workshop utilizes 100 actual soil tests taken for numerous wineries and vineyards from many wine-growing areas. Using the Albrecht Method, nutrient requirements are determined with a specific formula. Each formula is explained by subject covered in this workshop.




For consulting or educational services contact:

Kinsey Agricultural Services, Inc. 297 County Highway 357 Charleston, Missouri 63834

Ph: 573/683-3880, Fax: 573/683-6227 Email:

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insulator Non-Conductive. No insulato or required! (other 1” diameter x 6' tall -SR7215 (oth her sizes available)


Number 128






Resource Management Services, LLC Kirk L. Gadzia, Certified Educator PO Box 1100 Pasture Bernalillo, NM 87004 Scene 505-263-8677 Investigation We improve the way you manage your land, human and financial resources.

On-site Introductory HM Course

Durham Ranch*, Wright, WY

Dec. 9-12, 2009 Register for this dynamic-participatory course involving the Durham Ranch staff and Roland Kroos, HMI certified educator.

By World Famous Dr. Grandin Originator of Curved Ranch Corrals The wide curved Lane makes filling the crowding tub easy. Includes detailed drawings for loading ramp, V chute, round crowd pen, dip vat, gates and hinges. Plus cell center layouts and layouts compatible with electronic sorting systems. Articles on cattle behavior. 27 corral layouts. $55. Low Stress Cattle Handling Video $59. Send checks/money order to:

*Durham Ranch was featured in the Healing the Earth PBS Documentary.


(Limited to 15, register NOW!)

2918 Silver Plume Dr., Unit C-3 Fort Collins, CO 80526

Roland or Brenda Kroos Contact


(406) 522.3862 •

Start Using Holistic Management Today! Join Our Distance Learning Program Stay At Home – All You Need Is A Phone

Apply What You Learn As You Learn With Our Hands On Approach, Step by Step Workbook And Personalized Mentoring. Enjoy Flexible Scheduling. Choose to Work Independently or In Small Groups. Get Started Now.

Realize Immediate Benefits Find More Details On The Web at By Phone at 970-882-4222 or e-mail us at

Offered By Whole New Concepts, LLC

Holistic Management Comprehensive Training February 15-20, 2010 Pueblo Colorado Community College Pueblo, Colorado



Remember, profitable agriculture is not about harder work.... It is about making better decisions! For more information and registration, visit our new website:

HMI GRAZING PLANNING SOFTWARE • Save Time! Low • Does all the Introductofr y grazing planning Price o calculations for you $ • Easy SAU feature • Keep track of rainfall • Easy forage assessment tool • Works on Macs or PC’s that run Excel • Comes with User’s Manual


P.O. Box 218 Lewis CO 81327 USA

Cindy Dvergsten, a Holistic Management® Certified Educator, has 12 years experience in personal practice, training & facilitation of Holistic Management, and 25 years experience in resource management & agriculture. She offers customized solutions to family farms & ranches, communities and organizations worldwide.



November / December 2009


Call 505/842-5252 or order online at


New & Updated!



• Userfriendly Database interface (like Quicken or Quickbooks) • Independent Software (doesn’t require Excel Low and works on Macs with DOS interface) Introductory • Customizable reports that can be saved as PDF, Excel or Word Price of $149 • Write checks or invoices ($100 less than the • Track Net Worth and Assets easily current software) • Comes with User’s Manual • A planning, management, and accounting software all in one • Agricultural focus including a Livestock Production Worksheet • Track performance of stock classes or enterprises • Easy Gross Profit Analysis interface ($/acre or $/unit options) • Files can be saved and shared on multiple computers TO SEE A DEMO OF THE SOFTWARE GO TO: • Easy backup feature • Categorizes Expenses and track (investment versus maintenance). store//page8.html • Friendly and knowledgeable Call 505/842-5252 or order online technical support


HMI Wear Unique holiday gifts for everyone on your shopping list!

• HATS • JACKETS • VESTS • SHIRTS Visit our online store at TODAY! Phone orders call 505/842-5252

WANTED: More Grass

REWARD: Heavier Livestock and Greater Profit Kelly Boney, Certified Educator 4 8 6 5 Q U AY R O A D L SAN JON, NM 88434 575/760-7636 K B O N E Y @ P L AT E A U T E L . N E T

Number 128



healthy land. sustainable future.


a publication of Holistic Management International 1010 Tijeras NW Albuquerque, NM 87102 USA return service requested

please send address corrections before moving so that we do not incur unnecessary postal fees



_ A bimonthly journal for Holistic Management practitioners

Holistic Management® Financial Planning (single-user license) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $249 Please specify PC or Mac, Office ‘95 or ‘97, 2000, XP, or 2003 and version of Excel you are using

Subscribe for 1 year for only $35/U.S. ($40/International) 2 years ($65/U.S.; $70/International) 3 years ($95/U.S.; $105/International)

_ Gift Subscriptions (same prices as above). _ Special Edition: An Introduction to Holistic Management . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $5 _ Compact Disk Version . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$14 _ Bulk subscriptions available.

Pocket Cards Holistic Management® Framework & testing questions, March 2000 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$4

Planning and Monitoring Guides _ Policy/Project Analysis & Design

One year for $17 each/U.S., or $22 each/International ______ Please indicate number of one-year subscriptions

August 2008, 61 pages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$17

_ Back Issues: $5 each; bulk orders (5 or more issues) $3 each. List

_ Introduction to Holistic Management August 2007, 128 pages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$25

Please indicate issue numbers desired: ___,___,___,___,___,___,___,___,___,___ . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$25

_ CD of Back Issues: #71 - 89

_ Financial Planning August 2007, 58 pages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$17

_ Aide Memoire for Grazing Planning

Books & Multimedia

August 2007, 63 pages. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$17

_ Early Warning Biological Monitoring— Croplands

Holistic Management: A New Framework for Decision-Making,

_ Second Edition, by Allan Savory with Jody Butterfield . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $39 _ Hardcover . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $55 _ 15-set CD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $99 _ One month rental of CD . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $35 _ Spanish Version (soft). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $25 _ Holistic Management Handbook, by Butterfield, Bingham, Savory . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $29 _ At Home With Holistic Management, by Ann Adams . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $20 _ Holistic Management: A New Environmental Intelligence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $10 _ Improving Whole Farm Planning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $13 _ Video: Creating a Sustainable Civilization—

April 2000, 26 pages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$15

_ Early Warning Biological Monitoring—Rangelands and Grasslands August 2007, 59 pages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$17

_ Land Planning—For The Rancher or Farmer Running Livestock August 2007, 31 pages . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$15

Planning Forms (All forms are padded – 25 sheets per pad) _ Annual Income & Expense Plan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$17 _ Worksheet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$ 7 _ Livestock Production Worksheet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$17 _ Control Sheet . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$ 5 _ Grazing Plan & Control Chart . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .$17

An Introduction to Holistic Decision-Making, based on a lecture given by Allan Savory. (VHS/DVD/PAL) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $30 Stockmanship, by Steve Cote . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $35

_ _ The Grassfed Gourmet Cookbook, by Shannon Hayes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $25 _ The Oglin, by Dick Richardson & Rio de la Vista . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $25 _ Gardeners of Eden, by Dan Dagget . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $25 _ Video: Healing the Land Through Multi-Species Grazing (VHS/DVD) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . $30 TO ORDER

MAKE A TAX DEDUCTIBLE DONATION Amount $_____________ Please designate program you would like us to apply contribution toward _________________________________________

Shipping & Handling

Questions? 505/842-5252 or

Indicate quantity on line next to item, make sure your shipping address is correct, mail this page (or a copy) and your check or money order payable in U.S. funds from a U.S. bank or your credit card number and expiration date to: Holistic Management International, 1010 Tijeras Ave. NW, Albuquerque, NM 87102. You can also call in or fax credit card orders. Phone calls to: 505/842-5252; Fax: 505/843-7900. For online ordering, visit our secure website at: Printed on recycled paper

Shipping and handling costs to the right are for U.S. media mail only. Call 505/842-5252 for all other shipping rates.

up to $15: $16 to $35: $36 to $50: $51 to $70: $71 to $90: over $91:

add $ 5 add $ 6 add $ 8 add $ 9 add $10 add $12

#128 In Practice, NOV/DEC 2009