On a rainy Saturday morning in Northern California, in a crowded room full of cowboy hats, embroidered denim jackets, and the occasional handle-bar mustache, team member Chris Kerston was the keynote speaker at the 5th annual Beef Improvement Symposium hosted by UC Davis school of Veterinary Medicine. Each year, the university hosts a day dedicated to bringing working producers from the northstate a wide range of informational topics to help them stay abreast of new innovations and ways to increase efficiency.
Most years include topics about improving animal health, exploring direct marketing and social media, and genetic selection. This year didn’t disappoint with topics ranging from genomics, profit-centered business management, a fascinating talk about how to prevent disasters – mostly when traveling with livestock, and a workshop on effectively diagnosing unexplained mortalities in the herd.
Holistic Management had been requested as a topic to be featured at this year’s event. Chris was there to explain a bit about how planned grazing works and clarify what it is and what it isn’t. Many individuals admitted that they thought they were familiar with the general concepts of Allan Savory’s work but before the lecture they hadn’t really understood what holistic management was about or realized that it was so much more than rotational grazing or “mob stocking.” There were many engaging questions which followed into the lunch hour as many ranchers wanted to know where they could get training or consulting. We put them in touch with their local Hub, which in this case is the Jefferson Center for Holistic Management. Also quite a few students were interested in internships and in connecting with our broader global network to look for such opportunities.
It was a fantastic day filled with a hopeful spirit and the warm camaraderie of family ranchers striving to make a living while preserving the lifestyle they so enjoy and enhancing the working landscapes on which we all depend.