By Byron Shelton
Savory Institute was honored to be asked to present on Holistic Management during the Field Day prior to the Adams Ranch 37th Annual Sale. Adams Ranch, headquartered west of Ft. Pierce, Florida is a multi-generational ranch proud of its heritage, environmental tradition, and Braford cattle. See www.adamsranch.com for further information on the ranch.
Bud Adams, the patriarch of the family, expressed his sincere appreciation for all that Allan Savory and Savory Institute are doing worldwide to help people understand the importance of the role of livestock in maintaining the health of our water, soils, wildlife, and plants.
Bud’s three sons Mike, Lee, and Rob along with Bud’s grandchildren John, Zach, Stewart, and LeeAnn are all involved in the ranch operation. Mike Adams, current President of the operation, attended some holistic management training in the 1980’s.
Savory Institute’s Senior Program Director, Byron Shelton, addressed 100+ attendees at the field day for 45 minutes or so. He explained that in a short time he couldn’t cover all the details of Holistic Management nor could they be expected to learn them. However, he was going to give them an overview of all of Holistic Management while trying to give them some depth in a few areas. New thought would be presented and some paradigms might be challenged. However, if they left with some new ideas and a level of interest and excitement to learn more, he and they would have accomplished much.
The foundations of Holistic Management were covered including the three environmental Key Insights of Holistic Management – brittleness, predator/prey relationships, and timing of animal, plant, and soil relationships. These insights grounded the audience in the importance of the role of properly managed livestock replacing the role of wildlife and their predators in maintaining and improving resources.
How to read the land through the four Ecosystem Processes of the water cycle, mineral cycle, community dynamics, and energy flow was discussed. Knowing the probable results on the ecosystem processes of the various tools that can be used on the land including technology, fire, rest, or living organisms (small or large) based on the degree of brittleness was also touched upon.
The fourth Key Insight of Holistic management, Holism, how nature can’t be managed as parts but needs to be managed as functioning wholes and patterns, was presented. Decision-making using the Holistic Management framework was highlighted including seven questions that have stood the test of time in farming and ranching operations. These context questions or filters help the people managing farms and ranches become more successful by simultaneously encouraging decisions that are economically and environmentally sound and within the desired context of the people involved. The planning procedures to assist in managing the whole farm or ranch operation were presented including Holistic Financial Planning, Holistic Land Planning, Holistic Planned Grazing, and Holistic Ecological Monitoring.
Savory Institute thanks Adams Ranch for their interest and support of Holistic Management. Many individual discussions were had throughout the day with attendees.