There is no place like home. Spencer Smith, a Savory Field Professional, spent most of April in Texas and Georgia with leaders from the Savory Global Network. He trained in the new Ecological Outcomes Verification process that is part of the Savory Land to Market program. This new program is a market-based program that rewards ranchers for regenerative practices. Spencer returned to White Oak Pastures to teach a Holistic Planned Grazing course. He returned to Surprise Valley with new ideas and practices regarding grass finishing beef, economic opportunities for rural communities in this regenerative agriculture movement and a fine appreciation for Southern cuisine. From Texas BBQ to fried green tomatoes in Georgia, he was fed well by his Southern hosts.

The Smith family is hosting a Ranch Field Day and BBQ on June 3 from 1 pm to 4 pm, followed by a ranch-style BBQ and live music from 5:30 pm to 8:00 pm. Attendees will gain an understanding of market opportunities with the Savory Land to Market program for ranchers, the positive impact of the regenerative agriculture movement on rural communities, the outcomes of Holistic Planned Grazing and how Holistic Management improves grass production. Kent Reeves, a Holistic Management rancher will discuss the Rancher-to-Rancher program. Other leaders in the local and regional Holistic Management and regenerative agriculture movement will share information and insights.


The event is for the whole family. While the grown ups are touring the pastures to observe the results of Holistic Planned Grazing, a nature walk and other activities will be offered to the younger ranchers in the crowd.

“Family is important. We want all ages to feel welcome on the ranch, and enjoy the day” Abbey Smith said.


Spencer Smith grew up on the Springs Ranch, graduated from Chico State with a degree in agribusiness and then spent nine years in Northern Nevada working with Stix Cattle Company before completing his Holistic Management accreditation with the Savory Institute. He formed the Jefferson Center with his wife, Abbey Smith, in 2014 and then moved with his family to Surprise Valley. The Jefferson Center is an accredited Savory Network learning center serving Northern California and Nevada.

Jefferson Center Field Day Schedule of Activities

“We are very transparent about our success and challenges on the ranch,” Spencer Smith said. The event is an opportunity to share and learn from each other.

After the ranch tour, guests will travel three miles down the road to the Fort Bidwell Community Center for cowboy poetry by renowned poet Kent Reeves (also a Holistic Management educator and friend of the Smiths).

A ranch-style tri-tip and beans dinner will be served to guests. Entertainment continues through the meal until 8:00 pm with live music by local artist, IRIS and others.



All who are interested in learning more about Holistic Management are welcome to attend, Abbey Smith said.

“However, the event does have a maximum capacity, so grab your ticket soon,” she added.

Tickets cost $45 for the ranch tour and dinner. Couples and family packages are available.

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Read all about traveling to Fort Bidwell here. There are several lodging options in our remote little valley, from a bed and breakfast style hotel, cabins and camping.

The historic Fort Bidwell Hotel, located just three miles from Springs Ranch, is open again for business. Featuring a restaurant, Chez Yeo, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner to guests, this recently remodeled hotel is an icon from the region’s heyday in the early 1900s.

There is also a privately-owned cabin available for rent for $50 per night. Please contact us to make reservations.  Other lodging options are available:


The Savory Institute is a global non-profit working to advance Holistic Management and reverse desertification throughout the world. The Jefferson Center is part of the Savory Institute’s network.  The Savory Institute was founded by Allan Savory and other Holistic Management practitioners. It is based in Boulder, Colorado.




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