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How to make a living off the land

How your land can produce a living for you and your family

 You can make a living off the land. Though your management, create an agriculture business that produces more, earns more, while saving the planet in the process, and the market will reward you for it.  Consumers and manufacturers are calling for products that they can relate to, that offer them a chance to participate in creating a healthier landscape and economy. What more could you ask for? it is time to respond to their demand, and include them in your story.  I look at the great whole-systems thinkers and producers in our country now, people like: Will Harris, Gabe Brown, Allan Savory and Mark Shepard.  One thing that all of people have in common is that they did not see what was there, but rather they saw what could be.  I will be working with Mark Shepard again March 3 to 5, 2017, for a combined workshop in Santa Rosa, California.  If you are interested in gaining the skills necessary to transform your landscape to reflect your ideal landscape you should join us.

Mark Shepard, New Forest Farm, Jefferson Center for Holistic Management, Holistic Management

Join Mark Shepard, pictured here, and Spencer Smith to learn the tools of the trade. Increase your land’s potential.

 

The science of making a living off the land

The science is there regarding the impact of improvements to soil carbon, profitability, water quality, water holding capacity, and biodiversity. For a look at dozens of scientific articles, visit The Savory Institute webpage of abstracts from published research on the effectiveness of Holistic Management in many settings across the world.

One of my most favorite studies was completed in the 1990’s by scientists from Ohio State University. They studied changes in: biodiversity, profitability, carrying capacity, and rancher’s quality of life.  This report titled “Biodiversity as an organizing principle in agroecosystem management: Case studies of holistic resource management practitioners in the USA,”  research conducted by Deborah H. Stinner, et al.  In this study the researchers looked at farmers and ranchers from all over the United States that had completed Holistic Management training and implemented the planning and monitoring procedures that they learned.

Dr. Stinner found that:

  • All but one interviewee reported observing increases in biodiversity since they began using HRM.
  • With respect to changes in profit, 80% reported increases from their land since HRM began influencing their decisions. Of these, 40% provided actual percentage increases which ranged from 60% to 1400% and
  • averaged 386% (median 238%).

On average: 386 percent increase in profit was realized from using Holistic Management

A  Michigan State University study published last month, in  Future of Food: Journal on Food, Agriculture and SocietyDr. Jason Rowntree, et al. compiled life cycle analysis of grass-finished cattle in the northern Midwest.  During his research, it was documented that highly-managed grazing systems have a net carbon sequestering effect on the environment.  Here is a quote from the results portion of the study:

Using a combination of on-farm collected data, literature values, and IPCC Tier 1 methodology, we generated an LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) that indicates highly-managed grass-finished beef systems in the Upper Midwestern United States can mitigate GHG (Green House Gas) emissions through SCS (Soil Carbon Sequestration) while contributing to food provisioning at stocking rates as high as 2.5 AU ha-1. From this data, we conclude that well-managed grazing and grass-finishing  systems in environmentally appropriate settings can positively contribute to reducing the carbon footprint of beef cattle, while lowering overall atmospheric CO2 concentrations.

 How do I start?

The Savory Institute has the single greatest product on the market. This is why the Jefferson Center is an accredited Savory Global Network hub. We believe in Holistic Management and the network approach to healing communities and land. We are supported by the Savory Institute to innovate and create the most advanced and current Holistic Management educational resources, while building market opportunities for producers.  The Savory Global Network of entrepreneurs has the specific intent of helping farmers, ranchers and communities regenerate the grasslands of the world. By improving the environment, rural communities and economies, we improve conditions for all people.  

If you see more potential in your landscape than you are currently achieving it is time to engage a network that will support and help you.  Reach out to the Savory Institute or to the Savory Hub closest to you, get help with your questions and help others with their questions.  Join us at the Jefferson Center for a workshop or Holistic Management course,  sign up for online classes that will teach you how the land has evolved and how your management decisions can make it better. Articulate your ideal landscape and create a holistic context by which you will develop it.

living off the land using Holistic Management, Jefferson Center for Holistic Management

Get one-on-one attention from Savory Institute accredited professionals and continued support from the local Savory Network hub, as you implement your management plans.

 

Upcoming events

We are always hosting regenerative Agriculture events. Check out our 2017 line up of events!  If you are interested in learning more about how your landscape functions or to discuss specific challenges with management, feel free to give me a call at 775-221-6793 or shoot me an email at Spencer at jeffersonhub dot com.