Just in time to wrap up 2015 and look ahead to 2016, we held a holistic financial planning workshop in Indian Valley at the Defanti Ranch. Thank you to our gracious hosts: David, Mia, Hannah, Eric and Camille Van Fleet! They provided a warm space for us to work on those short, chilly November days and kept us well fed with ranch-raised apples, eggs and honey. The workshop was attended by a wonderful family from Siskiyou County, who we instantly felt we’d known our whole lives. Weston Meyers from the Meyers Family Ranch in Greenville attended thanks to the Buel Mouser Memorial Scholarship. Thank you to the Mouser and Pew families for your continued support of holistic management and our rural communities.  JP Tanner, an instructor with Feather River College in Quincy, California was a great addition to the group. Alexis and Weston were kind enough to share their main takeaways and experiences of the workshop. Below are their testimoinals after completing the holistic financial planning course taught by Spencer Smith, a holistic management professional educator, using accredited Savory Institute training materials.
We offer two holistic financial planning courses in 2016, check out the complete calendar for details.

Holistic Financial Planning Course Testimonials

Alexis Plank, Scott River Ranch, Etna, California:

In a family of six, the Holistic Financial Planning course gave us a common language, a platform from which to make decisions and take action. Let’s call it the polite version of a rude awakening. We were asked to find our individual bases of knowledge, and recognize where there was assumed overlap verses actual. We were given the tools to execute appropriate job compartmentalization as opposed to the divisions we had been attempting and failing at. It is right there in the title, holistic, and that is what we found: a way to look at our business from a holistic perspective, to examine the intricacies of how our finances are being allocated, used, and abused. In an industry of martyrs, it was a relief to come across a model for running a ranch as a business, a model designed to protect the bottom line, pay the farmer, and ensure the sustained productivity of the land.

At Scott River Ranch we raise grass fed organic beef, and while we know there is a market out there we have struggled to tap into it. Sitting down as a family and examining what it is that we actually have at our disposal through this ranch however, was hugely eye opening. We are more than cattle. We have beautiful land for camping, barns for events, we have four sisters loaded with…personality. One of my favorite quotes from Spencer Smith that weekend was “there might be a hundred ways to move beef from A to B, but one of them is best.” I feel like this epitomizes what we were challenged to do through this seminar: recognize that a solution will never be perfectly formed on the first go around. You have to come up with those one hundred possibilities first and then narrow it down to what can really work.

The design of this seminar is to dig deeper than a simple family meeting could allow. We gathered with other ranchers and land managers, in an intimate enough setting to take time on subjects where time was needed. The schedule for our three days felt more a recommendation than a concrete fixture, allowing us to stay with a problem until we felt it sufficiently examined. Additionally, having the other groups present helped our separate ventures explore ideas that maybe we were missing by being too close to an issue. We could make and take suggestions from unaffected parties, and find connectivity in a community that tends to isolate itself. We were well fed (a huge priority/necessity) and well heard. A huge thanks to Spencer, Abbey, and of course, the obvious star of the show Miss Maezy. From our family to yours, good luck getting rid of us.[pullquote align=center]

In an industry of martyrs, it was a relief to come across a model for running a ranch as a business, a model designed to protect the bottom line, pay the farmer, and ensure the sustained productivity of the land. – Alexis Plank


Weston Meyers, Meyers Family Ranch, Greenville, California:  I was surprised at how in depth and hands-on the work shop was. There was no aspect of budgeting that was left out. I was also impressed how they showed how you should map out your finances to then you can cut expenses and add to your profit.  They also discussed new business ventures to expand your business. I wish I knew how in-depth the course was so I could’ve brought more information to get more of the full experience. I also wish we could have covered projected yield worksheets a little bit more. You could really see weakness in your operation in that worksheet. Thank you to the Buel Mouser Memorial Scholarship for the opportunity to attend this course.

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